The Yummy List


All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

July 2008

May 2008: The Pieces of Eight Yummy List, Booty, St. Faustina, Big Heart Slides, Cannabis Rose   Mi

Mark Twain

“Now and then we had a hope,
that if we lived and were good,
God would permit us to be pirates.”
Mark Twain
There is nothing more romantic, more hopeful than the life of a pirate: tossing about on the sea, raiding the realm and savoring the best of the bounty. No one shall makes us wash, go to bed or put down the sword that we’ve drawn for effect. If we make it that far, if we’re very very good, if we believe in the prospects and possibilities, perhaps we can be pirates who howl at the moon, live beyond the moon and find what we’re chasing.

After all, if Mark Twain finds is aspirational, who are we to suggest it’s anything other than a noble pursuit?

Small Bundles of Sage

You’ve been there: walked into a hotel room or moment that just seizes your stomache up. You can’t figure why or even know what, but something just feels off… and you wish there was something you can do, but are never quite sure what because, well, you don’t quite know what’s wrong.

Small bundles of sage are the answer — easily tucked into a briefcase, infusing one’s purse with a pretty detail and suggestion of scent. While not always appropriate, the request to sage a funky area is rarely turned down (you’re not the only one sensing it, just probably the only one voicing it) and the shifting of the energy is almost immediate. Send whatever it is that’s restless back to where it came from for healing and suggest to any spirit that’s there it is time to heal. The miracle it works will be telling.

Jack & Lem: The Untold Story of am Extraordinary Friendship David Pitts

In a world where seemingly nothing new could be written about — or any fresh light shed — upon the mysteries and chivalries of Camelot, David Pitts delivers Jack & Lem, the story of John F. Kennedy and his friend from prep school throughout his too brief life Lem Billings. While lifelong friendships are nothing out of the ordinary, for Kennedy this a relationship that came with an exceptional reality: Billings was homosexual.

In a world where homophobia was so much the norm, it wasn’t even a part of the vocabulary, Billings’ friendship was one that the President turned to throughout his years of approaching adulthood, public service, politics and campaigning. A true voice that he could trust and count on, Billings remained a true companion for the President’s all too brief life and his impact was felt in great ways and small.

Rubber Utility Tub LL Bean

It goes anywhere. It dents nothing. It holds stuff in. It keeps it cold - or whatever else it needs to be. It comes in cheerful colors. It is easily lifted (unless you’ve filled it with rocks). An instant beach party, flower bed, footbath or refrigeration unit, this is instant gratification of a more practical bent.

Zelda Plays Ball

She is almost 16, mostly deaf, pretty blind. But she remains — ultimately — the exuberance of sheer cocker spanielness, and the ball that crossed her path triggered hardwired instincts. But how? And perhaps as importantly, why? Or rather why not?

And so, there in the midmorning quiet, a ball bounced then thrown towards a soccer goal — so even if she missed the ball, she couldn’t get into too much trouble. A proud little spaniel bringing the ballie back to her Mom, then doing it again. And again. And again. Back and forth for almost a quarter of an hour: tail wagging, body quivering, trotting with all the romp of a baby dog having the time of her life. Zelda plays ball - and shows us all how much joy forgotten pleasure can bring.

California Roll-Up TooJays Deli, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Think of it as anti-sushi… or a new kind of turkey sandwich. A spinache tortilla is spread with cream cheese, then salsa. It is layered with turkey, chopped romaine, a bit of cucumber - to rolled into a fresh little pinwheel and sliced into bitesized morsels. As a light, but filling, tastebud engaging lunch, this is a one-stop shopping proposition.

Mojo Medicine Bottle Slide Big Heart Slide Company

It is an exact replica of the Coricidin bottles that the legendary blues - and in turn rock and hipper country slide players - have used for more than half a century. Wit a finger sizing hole in the card it’s sold with, this glass slide is old school and right now. To reach back in time with a strong sense of authenticity, one need only embrace the little company from Santa Ana, California that understand recycling wine bottles into burning licks, bone, porcelin, aluminum and bronze are what the sound of notes bending into each other is all about. And if you’ve got the soul for the classic, this is the only spot you’re gonna need… though they will - if you ask nice & bring money - custom for you, too.

Sunport Deck Albuquerque Airport

Upstairs, above the fray of travel, you can sit in the quiet and watch the hills rise, the planes take off, the sky hang beige and hot or bristle with storms coming in. It is a refuge in the rush-rush, a place to exhale, check your email if you’re so inclined or marvel at the way man moves through nature with strength and a velocity beyond the flesh.

Energy Issue Mother Jones, June 2008

With a coverline that blazes, “If we don’t confront our energy crisis, we’re screwed,” crunchy monthly Mother Jones devotes an entire issues to the reality of power nationally and globally — and much of what they find is staggering contrast to what we’ve been led to believe. Never mind that “think tanks” and “research groups” are designed to support the needs of the funders, te little magazine that bills itself as “Smart Fearless Journalism” dives into myths, Canada’s oil orgy, solar power, the potential of (yikes, yet…) nuclear power and the notion that greed — the thing that got us in — may ultimately lead us out.

Extra bits and pieces include the fading of evangelical Christians, the reality — and availability — of HIV “morning after treatment” for those exposed and the carbon footprints of today’s baby. Not sexy, glamorous, but necessary, Mother Jones strips away special interests, talks straight, researches exhaustively and does everything but wear a bullseye for the polluters, gougers and other interested parties. To get a line on the recoil, start here. You’ll thank me.

The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady Charles Mingus

Slow, attenuated eroticism oozes from the slow-melt tracks, as brass instruments bend towards and away from each other, the piano and guitars lap at the shore, the tides of melody find their way at their own pace. This is the kind of record- - from 1963, showing genius truly is timeless — that can inspire reams of commentary and analysis, but the best way to experience Mingus’ truest long form musical exploration is to put it on and drift through the sheaves and shudders of what exists beyond words, beneath skin, beyond literal interpretation.

Thia is music to dream to… to exist to… to merge to in the most carnal way. For the groundbreaking bassist, this is the music that defies all rules, yet creates a soundscape that is surrender. To go inside, this is an incredible onramp if you can meditate within what’s played and what is implied, if you can let go, recede from the go-go and set your core free.

Cannabis Rose Perfume Fresh

With top notes of Bulgarian rose and pomegranite, it is the undertones that make this scent lethal. Cannabis, of course, but also white jasmine and dark chocolate with a base of smoky oolong tea leaves, white musk and patchouli. It is complex in a way that’s inviting, sensual without being common or overt, mysterious without inscrutability. To spray this on is to take beauty and intrigue - and reduce it to an elixir of flora meets fortune telling somewhere in a state of heightened desire.

St Faustina

A modern saint who had visions, her diaries capture the dialogue she had with the Sacred Heart in what many would deem the most charismatic relationship with Jesus besides St Therea Lisieux. A Polish nun who passed away at 33, her exchanges with Jesus resulted in not just the knowledge of “the Divine Mercy,” but the notion that to take one’s petition to the Lord during the Hour of Divine Mercy (from 3-4 in the afternoon) was to pray for something that would not be denied.

Shabby Chic Crochet Lace European Pillow Shams Target

With that cottage sensibility and the airiness that is basic white, these Shabby Chic cheap shams add a sense of the pastoral with a hint of Victoriana for any home looking to be fresh and perhaps even Bahamian easy elegant. They infuse a bit of detail that’s the comfort of once was, yet it also invites you to lean back, settle in and feel part of something that’s teak and salt air, sea shells and the scraping of palm fronds against the window - even when you’re miles from the ocean, the islands, the beach.

Bess 6th Street, Austin, Texas

With an emphasis on almost progressive German comfort food, Sandra Bullock has created a vintage basement bistro that is charming in its industrial exposed brick with Belle Epoque touches — ranging from swollen white flower arrangements, crystal chandeliers and antique mirrors. Inventive cocktails — from the demi-sec with lime champagne cocktail to the cachaca’n’rosemary La Grandmere which is punctuated with brown sugar and Granny Smith apples — are the perfect foils pork schnitzel with cherry sauce and German potato pancake, a steak frite dotted with caper. Sundried tomato and olive relish and a lightly seared chicken paillards in a very light butter/lemon/mustard infusion.

The kind of place you’ll want to linger, to talk, to while away a long slow evening- - or as John Prine would rakishly smile and offer “a German afternoon.”

Grapefruit Seed Extract

In this increasingly toxic world, this is a line of first defense that bolsters one’s immune system by border guarding your blood stream. The thick bitter liquid should be droppered out — 15 drops a couple times a day for maximum diligence — and dissolved in water or juice, best slammed back and taken before food for absorption and also buffering.

As something completely natural, it is an option that offers protection without adding chemicals. In a world where everything we consume seems to be synthesized from some kind of synthetic cocktail, this is a booster to give some added protection against the germs that just keep mutating.

“Upside of Anger” DVD

Kevin Costner in a role we can embrace: faded baseball star existing on the fumes of what was crosses paths with drinking herself into oblivion Joan Allen, who’s trying to cope with her anger at being abandoned by seriously upper white collar husband. Allen, a flickering finger of sublimated rage in taut sangfroide WASPiness, has three daughters - each with her own personal challenges, charms and inability to navigate the minefield that is their mother’s demons.

Not since “The Ice Storm” has privileged suburban America been seen as honestly and with as much heart. Conflict, barbs, discoveries and reality make this a slice of life as genuinely lived, even as Costner’s flagging once was discovers reservoirs of strength that make him a man to count on even in his abject failure and desire to become a part of this somewhat fragmented traditional family. Amazing in its ability to remind us where we ground and how we corner, even in the times we feel abandoned.

Japonais Frey

Very, very smooth milk chocolate with hazelnut and a meringue biscuit filling. Meltingly delicious good…. With just enough crisp to make the chewing as much fun as the slathering, it is a quixotic bit of light’n’rich, texture and smooth, creamy and nutty. For anyone who appreciates the multi-faceted nature of good chocolate turned into a common candy bar, this is a wonderful treat that is easily consumed and absolutely worth savoring.

White V Strap Embroidered Linen Dress Tibi

Classically summer, yet somehow ethnic, this pretty little dress has an a-line that sweeps out and away, forgiving the sins no one would see. But rather than being a plain white frock, it benefits from embroidery on a grand circle where the straps meet, as well as along the straps and top of the dress in lemon, lime, tangerine and turquoise - as well as bit of the same stitching along the slash pockets on the front. Imminently wearable, utterly carefree, this is everything summer nights are made of.

Magic Miracle Prunes

Not what you’d think on any level, but a garnish/recipe anchor that is sophisticated squared, yet easy enough a 5 year old can handle it. Soak prunes in port with a bit of orange peel. Just keep them covered; add more liqour every week or two as needed — and know that as the prunes soak up the thick liquor, the are becoming a base ingredient for chicken breasts and pork loins. Chopped and stuffed inside or swimming in a sauce, they give an unexpected twist that lets you look like more elevated chef than you are… and minced with pine or hazelnuts, they can be slathered on softened cream cheese for an appetizer spread or spooned over vanilla ice cream for a grown-up sundae.

Instant DIY gourmand fare that’s ready when you are. We won’t tell if you don’t…

Vogue Living

Utterly totally brattily yummy. No matter what kind of décor you favor, what sort of home you seek, what reality you inhabit, Vogue Living makes graciousness attainable. Whether it’s an accessory, an entertaining idea, a color or a scent, this is transformation meted out in highly consumable — and applicable — portions. And if the gentle reader isn’t fiscally capable of entire embrace, there are enough notes, flourishes and details to suggest without surrendering one’s current state of living.

Discipline Janet Jackson

Stop the clock, this must be the late 80s and Janet Jackson is the queen of the bulked up dance floor. Solid beats, jumbo grooves, breathy vocals that are all come on and cum on over. She has been fixated on respect, especially in the boudoir for longer than freaky brother Michael Jackson’s been playing with his monkey - and in this age of commando starlets, she makes candor seem startingly innocent in its carnal directness.

“Rock With You” is pure retro confection. Just exactly everything we want from the not ferocious Miss Jackson… and it sets the tone for an album that may not change the world, but will certainly put a purr in your tank and tighten and tingle you up in all the right places.

Eccentric Glamour Simon Doonan

Subtitled Creating An Insanely More Fabulous You, the man who gives the windows at Barney’s New York their stopping power makes the case for real chic: the notion of singular style, often emanating as variations on the themes of Existentialist, Gypsy and Socialites. The odd touch, the perfect accessory, the je ne sais crios to pull it off… It’s all part of the most transfixative chic there is: personal style.

Examining Simone de Beauvoir, Tilda Swinton Dita Von Teese, Iman, Isabel Toledo, Cher, Blink and Tipping Point author Malcom Gladwell and Hamish Bowles — among many — this diverse coterie of folks provides not just sartorial sense, but the notion of how to live, act, entertain and manifest in a world of cheap fame, peeling veneer and crass exhibitionism with nothing of substance to back it up. Engagingly written, provocatively cast and absolutely a book for anyone seeking to define their place in the world.

Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Arrowhead Farms (Target’s institutional brand)

A bit sweeter than some more straight-up organic instant oatmeals, the freeze-dried blueberries have a juiciness that belies the intensity that drying creates in the flavor. Large cut coats provide plenty of body — and the ground almonds offer a mellowness that makes a rough morning settle all the warmer and easier. Comfort food on a more subtly adult level. Add a dash of ginger, a bit of cinnamon, too, and you’ve got something that’ll perk up the tongue and get your systems awake for a day of whatever happens.

Blue Bonnets Fields Across Texas

Blame it on Ladybird Johnson and her “beautify America” campaign; but the gratitude for her notion of sowing wild flowers along the nation’s highways is at its pinnacle around Texas, where the fields and ditches are dotted purple, pink, gold, white and blue with random flowers growing of their own volition all these years later.

No flower is quite so Texas as the Blue Bonnet, which often are more likely to be pink or periwnkle — and recall the flattest petal’ed poppy. To see them tossing in the wind is to see waves of blossoms rippling against the prairie grass — a natural ballet that is both tough and lovely. Blue Bonnets don’t last long once you pick’em, but if you let’sm grow, they’re a sea of color, a celery stemmed army of nature at its prettiest. Just drive slow enough to truly appreciate them.

“Love Don’t Live Here” Lady Antebellum

The tragically named trio — whose name is an unwieldy as it is unevocative — has created a near-perfect hit single. With more than a passing kiss to Gregg Allman’s “I’m No Angel,” the shining harmonies bolster a lead singer who recalls Allman’s own gruffly soulful sexiness. The acoustic guitars chime, the rhythms rise and sweep with abandon as a tale of how love has not just unraveled, but the reckoning is now here for the spurning lover to reap does every jilted one of us miles of good and tons of vindication for those who believe in the potency of decency and done.

Absolutely addictive, it was about all I played on a recent roadtrip of several hours. Not quite rock, not exactly country… like the best of what made Southern California in the ’70s connect, that breeziness is given a bit of muscle and a hint of brashness. Delicious.

Capri Jeans Lilly Pulitzer

Whether you get the intense pastels (turquoise, two shades of pink, green, yellow or purple) with the stretch, the classic dark denim or the optic white, this is instant clambake playfulness with a great fit, impossibly ebullient co-ordination possibilities and the easy breezy wearability that defines the best sportswear. Whether you’re doing some sort of outdoor charity deal, running errands or meeting friends for a low key happy hour, these work with tailored white shirts, vintage T’s, polos or your basic peasant/kurta bohemia.

Steve Goodman: Facing the Music Clay Eals

A 729 page biography of the quick-witted folkie/songwriter responsible for “City of New Orleans,” “Go Cubs Go” and bar-room classic “You Never Even Called Me By Name” is almost as quixotic as the man whose life is celebrated by one of the vastest retinues of sources — and yet, journalist Clay Eals celebrates the Grammy-winning Chicagoan’s life with the same esprit du corps that Goodman embodied. With an impossibly complete discography of Goodman’s work and those who’ve covered his songs.

Drawing on interviews from John Prine, Steve Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seger, David Allan Coe, Phoebe Snow, Rosanne Cash and myriad songwriters, singers and players of varied obscurata and fame, as well as David Geffen, Studs Terkel and high school classmate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the impact of one man of good spirit, a kind heart, a dry wit and an undying passion for living becomes an inspiration that reaches far beyond even the songs, the shows and the stories themselves. Defying the odds - diagnosed with leukemia recording for his own label long before seceding from the record business was chic, rooting for the Cubs - was a matter of course for Goodman; here its lovingly recounted with an attention to detail that reminds us why being exhaustive can sometimes matter.

Chicken Pesto Panini Phunky Griddle, Nashville, TN

Chicken breast lovingly slathered with a pesto/Dijon mustard sauce and covered with meltingly oozy fresh mozzarella on a wheatberry hoagie roll then surrendered to the sandwich press makes for an addictive midday meal. A bit of sundried tomato for tang gives the panini both color and a tart counterpoint to the creamy, dreamy spread that elevates the classic “chicken sandwich” to something that might best be described as tantric. Mmmmmmmm…

Marching Monkeys Notecards Amy Jennings Illustrations

They are dressed for battle, in little coats and fez-type hats - somewhere between Oz’s Flying Monkees and your organ grinder’s friendly side kick. Crayola colored clothing, horns to toot-toot and tails imperviously curled behind them, these notes proclaim your news with whimsy and panache. After all, a monkey marching brass band? It is Congo and conga, N’awlins funeral parade and circus conviviality — and your correspondence bringing smiles and imagination in the very same plain white wrapper.

The Biltmore Hotel   Grounds, Asheville, NC

Billed as America’s largest home, the Biltmore is a Tudor style mansion that is indeed vast and sumptuous in a way modern homes no longer are. Just as captivating are the grounds - intricate floral gardens, pastures that rise and roll, trees that are thick and strong and reach into the sky. It is a museum to how riches could and should be spent: creating something that will endure, that supports beauty, that offers the rest of us reasons to embrace a difference we may not have considered.

To stroll the grounds is to experience nature groomed, yet wild. Certainly an aesthetic to aspire to. With lush sheets, deep tubs and views of some of the most beautiful woods, meadows and stone paths, this is an escape that is pure relaxation: reason enough to make Asheville, NC a destination.

Revealing Hour Mineral Salt Glow

Sea salt and sugar are suspended in shea butter to exfoliate and dissolve dead skin, then leave it moisturized in a way that makes lotion, oil or crème absolutely unnecessary. With essential oils of rose and geranium, this completely natural and organic bath product opens one’s senses, relaxes the mind and invites slow deep breathing — even as it promotes the kind of circular scrubbing that grounds one in their own body.

From the good folks at Lichen Rock Farms, Revealing Mineral Salt Glow is the sort of splurge that nurtures as much it renews one’s skin. A little luxury for the ones on the go, it pampers as it soothes one’s flesh to a healthier, more pristine place.

Belgian Bomber Jo’s, 242 w 2nd Street, Austin, Texas

A cold coffee drink that is half expresso, half coffee, cream, chocolate, hazelnut and utter divinity. As a significantly sweet awakening, this is a jolt to the nervous system that has none of the jagged edge, but the jumpstart that can have you leaping tall buildings in a single bound. A bit rich, yet oddly drinkable, the Belgian Bomber is a jetpack for the sweet-toothed, silver-tongued and java-challenged. All you need is a straw and the will to get more go from your joe.

“Smart People”

Ellen Page’s first role since her Oscar-nominated turn as “the cautionary whale” in “Juno” finds her as a tar-tongued brainiac coping with her ennui-steeped-and-lost-at-sea-in-his-life college professor father (played with a snappish smirk b Dennis Quaid), his freeloading disaster area brother and his former student now paramour (Sara Jessica Parker, in her best girl in the crosshairs roll since “The Family Stone”). Witty dialogue zings back and forth as we watch people trying to carve happiness for the autopilot deadend they fashioned from not paying attention. A mirthsomely-rendered cautionary tale for yuppies entering life’s second half who’re realizing they can’t have it all, but with a little bit of getting engaged, you can have a lot more than you’re reaping in the status quo.

Passing Magazines On

Beyond the face value cost and the green imprint, there is the smile of handing something provocative, beautiful, inspiring or fun onto another. You give a few minutes or hours of stimulation or mental vacation when you take what you’re reading and give it to another who might not ever spend the money that you’ve already invested - and the good vibe you create in another sends waves of positivity into the world.

The Boxmasters

Billy Bob Thornton may be an Oscar-winning screenwriter/director/actor, but at his core, he is mostly an old school hillbilly singer. Nasal voice that pratically brays, he is the vintage kind of jukebox cowboy that is tears, neon, stale beer, old cigarettes and fading barflies. With The Boxmasters, a raw 2 CD set that is a disc of quirky originals that’re old school inbred metaphor and a disc of covers ranging from the traditional “Knxville Girl,” a Tennessee Two thumpety-bump take on the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” as well as nods to the earliest incarnation of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (whom Thornton roadied for) with “Some of Shelley’s Blues” and “House at Pooh Corner” — this is a survey course in the sourcing of the one muse Thornton can’t quit or kick.

Mannered? Yup. Perfect for archivists, throwbacks and vertical family trees? Absolutely. Anyone who believes in ’50s and ’60s AM radio country or who thinks Dwight Yoakam is too modern is gonna trample their Ray Price records in the trajectory of the excitement.

Seaspray Candle

Like the other candles in this range, they come poured into decorated double highball glasses — and the soy wax burns clean enough that you can add it to the cupboard once the candle is gone. With shells, starfish, ships and nautical writing adorning the Seaspray Candle’s glass casing, the clean scent of salt, seagrass, wildflowers and a hint of musk capture your senses the way only standing on the beach after sunset can.

Eight Belles RIP

So lean. So strong. So dark grey she seemed black. So sleek. So very, very fast. Poised to be only the 4th filly to win the Kentucky Derby and the first to run this century, the 3 year old broke fast, ran hard and literally threw her life onto the track. It is a horse with the heart of champ that gives everything, literally, and with two shattered front ankles, that’s exactly what she did.

Like Barbero before her, another gorgeous thoroughbred cut down at the peak of their talent, her mercy euthanasia is as CBS Sportscaster Jack Whitaker suggests of this sort of tragedy like “watching a masterpiece be destroyed.” To remember how quickly it can be gone, to celebrate the beauty and potency of moments, that is perhaps the greatest gift of a horse named for the sound that marks the end of a 4 hour shift in the shocking aftermath of a tragedy that can’t ever quite make sense.


When you are sore, having an ache, something out of whack, there is nothing quite like cold to not just deaden the pain, but reduce the swelling, which is making the problem worse. To me, cold - brrrrrrr, shudder, chatter, shiver - is counter intuitive, a state to be endured, yet when the going gets rough, there is no relief quite like a bag of frozen peas or icy washcloth that’s been moistened.

Prosperity Necklace w. Peridot

Jade beads on red thread.alone are believed to attract good fortune and positive destiny. Peridot is considered a wealth magnet. Hanging at the clavicle, this is a piece that can be worn with any number of tshirts, blouses and turtlenecks, while the Chinese coin - with its square hole symbolizing earth inside the circle that is heaven - gives an Earthy feeling to any outfit. To promote joyous expectancy, the prosperity necklace is a great way to put the power of (unspoken) intention to work, while creating an organic style booster.

“Don’t break your tenderness.” (Derange pas ta tendresse.) - Jack Kerouac

As we race through life, it is easy to become numb to the damage we do without realizing. The justification of how it is, why it’s their fault or they shouldn’t take it so personal, the refusing to feel whatever is moving through us. When we shut that off, we lose the deepest parts of us: the ones that fire compassion, empathy, clarity — because it is in being tender, that we experience life to its fullest and its subtlest.

Mary Coyle’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor Akron, Ohio

In this strip mall world of syndicated food and chain restaurants, Mary Coyle’s is a classic American soda shop - with homemade ice cream, gargantuan sundaes and 2 cent seltzer from a tap. Whether you’re looking for one perfect scoop, the kind of banana splits that can’t be found or a hand-scooped milk shake that’ll stick to your sides, this formica countered, original wood panel jewel is everything America used to be. For local color, classic innocence and a side-sticking ice cream experience, this alone is a reason to journey to the place once known as “Rubber City.”

Active Release Technique the Renken Center, Nashville, TN

Imagine chiropractic for your muscles, tendons, joints. Gentle touch adjustments that get you aligned, puts your muscles - and the muscle memory that returns one to what has settled into “normal” positions that are anything but - back into sequence in the way they were originally formed. Life mutates us slowly and over time, we knot, curl and accommodate compromised places; Active Release Technology helps undo the miles, erases pain, realigns the frame and reignites the nerves in a holistic solution to back problems, hip issues and anything else associated with mobility and the human body.

Rosanne Cash. Suzanne Vega. Andy Bird and Darrell Brown offer insight to the process of creation through the prism of song… and in their clarifying vision, they provide a lens with which to consider our own lives, loves, losses and lessons. From varying realms, vast localities and random overlapping points, each offers a unique voice, a slow consideration and reasons to believe.

Not just for people who love songs, stories, music or pop culture, this is the excavation of our essences, pulled tight across small experiences, cavernous disasters and personal truths that - ironically - are universal. To read self-deprecating recountage, self-revelation and brave vulnerabilities is to understand what we are also capable of expressing… if only we’re willing to look inside, strive for recognition and commit to not settling when describing the things we see, sense and experience.

The Coffee Shop Cafe 1005 W. George W Bush Parkway, McGregor, TX

The chicken fried steak is made with black angus, hand battered (not breaded) and served with a thick, but not pastey cream gravy. The tater tots are fluffy and light, the buttermilk ranch dressing appears to be home-made - and when you’re dropping crisp vinegary deep fried dill pickle slices, you’re as close to junk food heaven as you could hope to get in this world.

As the local dinner for “the Western White House,” owner Valery Duty makes the most death-defying high peaks of merengue for her coconut pie - and a chocolate cream that keeps her 26 year old son coming home for. Fresh brewed tea - sweet and unsweet - and the kind of coffee that makes a grown man crave make this a must-stop as you’re moving between Waco and Austin, or covering whatever might be happening at the Presidents ranch in Crawford.

Tasha;’s Totes 216-491-8398

With a waterproof folkloric floral outside and a flannelicious accent lining, Tasha’s Totes are simple lines designed for practicality and portability. Load it up, tie the ribbons on either side together and you’re ready to take knitting, magazines, random junk or whatever sundry stuff you might need with you… But beyond how cute they, how fresh and sensible, there’s the other reality: these totes are going to send Tasha Toth, who is currently going to Laurel School in Cleveland, to college. A sewing scholarship of sorts, every bag purchased helps fund a deserving young woman’s higher education, so know this is more than a bag, this is a future you’re buying into.

Braised Dandelion Greens

They are wildly bitter. They also pull toxins from one’s system, acting like immunity police of an organic order. Factor in they have many of the same nutrients as other dark bitter greens, the weed you curse becomes an exotic bit of leafy green with your chicken breast, pork medallions or grilled steak. The secrets — to me — are simple: cast iron, a dash of good olive oil, a clove (or two) of garlic, a dash of sea salt and as a finishing touch a squeexed lemon half or generous pour of balsamic vinegar.

Recently tossed into sweet potato gnocchi, it was an amazing no meat dinner. But be warned, braised dandelion greens do require chewing — no matter how much you cook them. So, let them wilt, give them an extra moment or two, then pull them off the fire.

Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas Sara Lorimer

Swashbuckling plunderers, rogues who live on the seas and never look back, high-living scoundrels with no ties that bind… Pirates have long been mythical romantic figures, the ocean’s equivalent of unicorns, and beyond even Johnny Depp’s deft portrait of Capt. Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, the legermain of pirates remains strong. But beyond the obvious gold-toother, skull & crossbones hoisting men, there is an even more mythic breed: women pirates who plundered the Baltic, South Chinese, Mediterrean and Arabian Seas, as well as the Caribbean, the Irish Coast, New England, China’s Pearl River and New York State.

Captured in brief but evocative bio sketches, Lorimer fans a hand of 11 queens of the tide - and also offers a glimpse into the food, treasure, punishment, privacy, clothing and sex lives of these randy conquerors of fate. A quick read for grown-ups, a commited book for young adults, Booty casts its nets wide and hauls in the truth about lady pirates.