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

March 2007

August 2006: 
Zing, Zang, Hula Honeys, Forest Clove, Gut & “The Family Stone”

Henna Hearts Tattoos Dover Publications

   Vintage almost Indian looking designs in a sweet little book, ready to wet and apply. Instant hippiedom that will withstand several showers—fading from the natural henna tones in a way that is far less tawdry than traditional temporary tattoos. Kind of romantic in a bohemian boardwalk/midway kind of way. Innocence and patchouli, flirtatious and earthy—all for $1.50 for 10.



www.doverpublications.com

Oriental Chicken Salad  McDonald’s

   Quick. Fast. Easy. Not to be confused with real sitdown quality food, but as a quick on-the-go calorie conscious, protein-and-some-greens solution to hunger, pure genius. Newman’s Own sesame/ginger dressing adds tang to the tongue, while the white meat chicken is big enough pieces that you can cut them if you’re so inclined. In a world of fast food feeling like the fast track to death on a sesame seed bun—or at least obesity, party of 1 size fits all no waiting—this is a bridge to a much better place, moving the problem towards a solution.



Downward Dog on the Beach


  Feet and hands press into the ground, hips lift to the heavens. On wood, it is a match of wills—the hardness of the surface working against the strength, force and energy in your body. On sand, it is a merging, a surging of energy from the sun on the sand—as the beach surrenders and supports your soles, palms, toes, fingertips, all reaching down to anchor your being. One’s hips rise triumphant, the trunk feeling the power of the move, the solidity of one’s mortal coil as it holds itself in a pose designed to press together and against itself. What is often a battle becomes a celebration. You’ll see.



Miracles Found


   When you are sure the moment, the person, the reality is lost to the abyss, it comes. To lose hope sometimes signals a healthy sign of moving on, but onto what? And in our reality-based world, what good does it to give up on something important? meaningful? sacred? or even merely dear to our hearts?

   The call was missed. But the caller ID, and equally short message, was the seeing of a ghost. It had been too long, too hard, too painful. And then, there we were, shaking, talking, pretending there had never been a bad thing—let alone the lost article of faith. There was the confession—“I thought it had been consumed in a fire,” that weighed heavier than life upon the caller—and the news—“but it turns out it was found in my passport. I have it.”

   Something so precious, worth more than money or memories. Loaned as a talisman of strength during an awkward, trying time, left in the field of the wounding—but later needed in my own small palm. When it was not returned, so many emotions. Now knowing it is safe, cherished, mine when I can get it, even more emotions, ones that lift and heal, balm and calm. And even beyond the “thing,” which is holy, is the notion that this human who was loved and lost really never was—only circumstances got in the way.

Highway Companion - Tom Petty

Acoustic-basted, Tom Petty gives up none of his rock and roll edge as he once again sweeps the highways, the South, the rural in pursuit of deeper, essential truths. With the voice of a rusty gate hinge, he has the ability to soak feelings in turpentine, leaving them raw but clean to the core—and with the resonance that speaks of exposure, how it is and composure as one’s breaking down.

   An undercurrent of restlessness permeates the character sketches, tires swallowing white lines, moments slipping through fingers like water through a sieve—standing watching, wondering where and how it is has gone. “Down South” is a reclamation of heritage brood, as is “This Old Town,” while “Damaged By Love” mourns the wages of giving one’s heart, and “Jack” serves as the recognition of what one lost being the object of salvation, while “Night Driver” is the existential genuflection on the rite of every kind of passage.

   The road is the answer and the problem, the refuge and the conduit of refugees from their jail and their freedom Yet it’s a fitting place to work out one’s troubles, balm the uneasy soul, seek and search and find. Witness “Square One” (first heard in Cameron Crowe’s human lost’n'found paean “Elizabethtown”) and the way life can start clean if you’ll let it, and know Highway Companion is a hymn to getting there any way you can.

Burgundy Palm Woven Cowboy Hat  Carole Carr

   The brim is a little extra wide, and it dips a little lower than it should. It is a challenge in its not-trying soignée-sense of cowgirl coverage. Burgundy and white palm woven into an alternating fabric that the cowboy is shaped from, Carole Carr fashions something western in a provocative tilt that suggests the rodeo far more than Rodeo Drive, yet it could work that walk as well. Impossibly impossible—and utterly maddening in its wearability. Pricey, but as a splurge—maybe the item to have this season.


“An Inconvenient Truth”

   Say it with me, “There is no such thing as global warming”, and now say this with me, “Santa is a monster trucker” because they’re akin to the same thing. Here—in one documentary that both celebrates the goofy self-effacing humor of former Vice President and Presidential candidate/hopeful Al Gore, who attempts to pick up the pieces of his life post-Executive Branch by feeding his inner science geek, and offer up the sound logic behind our current environmental shifting, “An Inconvenient Truth” lays down the cold hard facts in a way that’s broken into consumable bits, offers the grounding to the arguments and provides a glimpse into how the message can get so far from what matters.

   As a date-night-out-light-n-frothy film, probably not. But as an intriguing way to understand a politician who should have meant so much more AND a much incorrectly maligned ecological reality, this is an intersection point all Americans should experience. Pay attention.

Polenta Chips Solea

   Corn meal, ground, mixed, rolled thin and baked. There is no oil to corrupt the buttery taste of the corn mesa—and the sea salt added provides a contrast that makes this chip a little more full-flavored. Evoking the warmth of the sun, the richness of the soil and the sweetness of corn at its peak, these chips capture your tongue and beg for more. Good with salsa, spinach dip or on their own, I started tossing them in soups or salads as croutons and was delighted by their crunch factor and flavor.

Farm Aid Sept. 30, Tweeter Center, Camden. NJ


   You can count on Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and new board member Dave Matthews to anchor the show—and then the always shifting, always interesting mélange of American musical icons. Past guests have run the gamut of Elton John—in the throes of child AIDS’ patient Ryan White’s final days, performing a highly emotional “Candle In The Wind,” Los Lonely Boys—being exposed to a national audience for the first time, John Fogerty, Emmylou Harris, Kenny Chesney, Van Halen, John Prine, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter and so very many more.

   Serving to lift both awareness and raise money for grants to keep American family farmers on their land, this year’s show is underwritten by Silk Soy Milk as a way of completing the circle and health and agriculture. These are people dedicated to the quality of the food, their children and our nutrition, something for which there is no quantifiable price—banging up against the very incontrovertible reality of debt loads, price supports, equipment depreciation and the margins of economic scale brought into play in the realm of agribusiness’ profit maximizing as bottomline. Your health hangs in the balance.

www.farmaid.org to order your tickets, or find out more


 “The violets on the mountain break the rocks.”
 —Tennessee Williams

   Beauty that refuses to give in to circumstances. The gentle fortitude of something committed to the moment, the reality. The notion that in the end, even the hardest things can be broken down by not compromising, but remaining as lovely as humanly possible. Like violets on the mountain, let me remain as compassionate as possible, potentially unraveling the knots of discontent in the rocks upon my way. Certainly to dissolve that, to sow kindness and reap a harvest softer realities is an ample reward of goodness.

Under the bridge


   A way to enjoy the water without all the sun damage. Cool, quiet. Watch the sky move through its daily journey, while the waves lap at your toes. Hear the echo of the ocean, the river, the lake. Be still—and feel everything moving in a slightly intensified, yet muted way. More than Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song of addiction, bridges near beaches, especially, offer cover and access to the element you crave.


Mermaid Tears


  Blue and clear glass fishies, slightly opalescent in a way that almost recalls the rainbow colored oil tinges on puddles. Mermaids do not shed ordinary tears, of course” but the hardened sand shaped as the creatures that swim with them in the water. A small fistful to take back from vacation, to leave on one’s desk or coffee table as a literal and metaphorical reminder of the wonder below the sea.

Radio Requests

   The phone that rings and rings and rings some more. The continual dialing, hoping the dee jay will pick up—and the knowing that even if he does, it is just as likely—especially in these days of automated play lists—that your request is futility, yet there’s that pilgrimage of time-honored offering. Requesting songs on the radio, the idea of sharing that music with the entire world, is sending out some insight, some moment or experience, creating a vibe or energy for everyone under the waves and reach of the radio tower—it is a community built on songs, a recognition of how great “Hollaback Girls” is, how “Feels Like The First Time” puts you somewhere else, the way George Strait makes your blood run cold in just the right way” It is about the doing in some ways, even more than the hearing. Remember that the next time you don’t bother, then pick up the phone.

L’Etoile’s Bar Food Edgartown, MA

   Five stars, much waiting. Even reservations are tricky at Martha’s Vineyard’s finest, nationally renowned restaurant—and with good cause. But if you want to experience the grace and skill of chef Michael Brisson, one need only tuck themselves into the bar—with the dangling multi-dimensional star orbs—to experience both pub fare and the actual menu without too much distress.

   It is a casual elegance that permeates, so the bar is a relaxed but still elevated experience. The blood orange margaritas—a signature drink—make the ordinary tequila cocktail sublime, while the short ribs are a small enough portion to sate without stuffing, their goat cheese salad piques the tongue with a creamy bite and their desserts are near tantric. A tricky little way to experience the divine even in the dog days of tourist season.


Hydro Shoes  Teva

   Almost as light as going bare foot, but with a rubber sole that has enough ridges to give it all-terrain traction. To walk—nonskid—on the rocks beyond the shoreline. To move through the sand without slipping. To run without any extra weight. To move through nature without fear of broken glass, jagged rocks, wasps or whatever, Teva’s slip-on aqua-booties are easy, nearly weightless and giving in the way that precludes blisters. Ahhhhhh”

Black Stone Cherry


   “Hell, High Water” and heavy metal could be the tale of this Kentucky four-piece of long-haired, hard-hitting musicians who’re not afraid to crossbreed their Sabbath with Zeppelin with Duane Allman or Steve Gaines. It is the conjunct between the rawest Southern rock steeped in the blues and the pummeling rock that also rises fully formed from the belly of the blackest blues. All barely old enough to vote, they bring a feverpitch to the intensity of the thrashing, shredding, wailing raucousness—but where many hard/heavy metalists loose control, these boys double down on the musicianship and play to win.

   With the farflung and/or fantastical themes of ne’ermore, long gone, hard luck and consequences, ecologic disasters, bad women who know things and can boil blood or engorge with a look, ennui and the quest for evermore, Black Stone Cherry redefines balls-to-the-wall-attack-and-kill music. Rutting, jutting, tearing the melody from the moment immediacy, playing and singing is how they jettison their urges - and they do it better than a leatherclad biker chick with a fistful of cat’o'nine tails Listen at your own risk—because the thrill is your’s.

Plumquots


  The skin so deeply purple, slightly bruised yet beckoning with the intensity of its color. The flesh that supple peachy orange that runs with sticky sweet thick juice when you press through the unbroken fruit—not quite sure of what you will taste. And what you taste is a complex mélange of apricot’s tartness merged with the intoxicating, almost perfumey essence of plums. It is a wonderful merge, a deepening flavor that offers the best of what each fruit is and without overpowering you, it creates a mixture that serves both elements even as it becomes its own flavor.

Silk Stockings Nail Polish  Essie

   A deep scarlet, or perhaps crimson. Naughty, yet just the tiniest bit pearly. Ablaze on the tips of your toes, fiery and feisty and sexy, all at the same moment. At a time when sandals and flip flops are about all that can be withstood, what better way to fire up one’s footwear than with a flash of desire turned to pigment, want and desire rendered as lacquer and applied two coats to the little things that hold you on terre firme.

Fairy Roses


   Tiny bushes covered with bitty green leaves, then dusted with mini-multi-petaled roses. Indeed, if fairies designed these pale pink or white white blossoms, they would cast them in just these small clumps—close to the ground, yet frosted with dense little blooms. Ground cover of a most delicately floral reality.

Wayfarers  Ray-Bans

   Dark. Black. Classic. To the point, yet with an aura of mystery. Hip in a very straight guy way. Perfect for G-Men, talking into their lapels—and you. Pulled them out of a drawer, where they’d sat forgotten. Plopped them on, felt the darkness fall—and the world, okay the grocery store, became an almost pulp fiction realm. And the UV factor is incredible.

Caesar Lite Salad Dressing  Ken’s Steakhouse brand in grocery stores

  It has the viscosity of a true, non-mayo-based Caesar dressing—long on romano, pepper, garlic. But it stays fresh and happy in the bottle—the proper snap of the vinegar keeping things marching in that tangy way of all good Caesar salads. Keep on hand for a quick fix that’ll make them wonder how you do it—because they certainly don’t need to know your little secret.

Readings/Oral Histories


   Loung Ung was captured by the Khmer Rouge with her family when she 5. First They Killed My Father is the tale of a young girl facing the slow death of internment camps, child soldiers and the rage of losing control of her life—and as riveting as the narrative is, it compares to the lesser with Loung’s personal recounting of how she arrived at where she is today, what she learned and how she squares that horror with her current activism to find joy.

 Michael Pollan is an urbane, witty writer who often turns his eye to the issues of food. Having stormed the best-seller lists with The Botany of Desire, his Omnivores Dilemna showcases the various streams our food comes in on—from industrial to faux pastoral, hand-foraged and hunted and beyond—with a self-effacing insight that mirrors not only our own not knowing, but illuminates larger problems. To hear him read is to enter the technicolorality of Oz, and it opens up issues that would overwhelm us in a very accessible way: through our foibles.

   In a world where books and writers are arms length realities, most often experienced privately or amongst our friends, readings and oral accountings bring the words to flesh and blood, breath and desire. In the emotion of the creator sharing, we find that extra spark—and the inspiration can be exponential.

“Well. I certainly wouldn’t contradict you.”

   It is the perfect way to ratify, reinforce, say “Hallelujah! and Amen!!” without adding one more pejorative to the fire, while making your feelings absolutely known. There may be no more ladylike way to damn a transgressor, no good rotten scoundrel or otherwise malintentioned being—and in the less-is-more ethos of allowing others’ behavior to speak and sink of its own accord, this keeps one’s hands clean while making the point that the person being discussed is so contemptuous you recognize and further will not invest your precious words in taking it further. Do it once, you’ll never go back.


Skunk Ballet

   There he was—in the middle of the front yard—romping and pirouetting, having the best old time. A silky black skunk with that white line down his back, cavorting as if the lawn was his personal playground and my headlights were spotlights shining on his personal skunk ballet.

   Hard to believe you can see rapture in an animal. Yet, there bobbing and jumping and rollicking about was the most rapturous critter I’ve seen in years. Skunk Lake—or Lawn, I guess. A command performance that’s still smile-inducing.

Live at the Filmore West - Aretha Franklin


   Funky before the word became a post-disco term, Miss Ree throws down an accelerated “Respect” to get the party started, then keeps slamming—right through righteous takes on Stephen Stills “Love The One Your With,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” or the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby,” as well as the thrilling confession “You’re All I Need To Get By” and her own bold declaration “Call Me.”

   This was back in the day when soul music was fevered, frenzied and pitched—and the tension in the revved-up rhythms alone could topple houses. When you add Franklin’s sizzle, power and fire, you know why she’s the Queen of Soul, and a force beyond nature. On this Rhino reissue, you get all the alternate takes, the electricity of a crowd plugging in, the frisson between singer/song/listener that makes the live invocation of hits—one’s own and, in this case, others—so combustive.


Honeymoon Beach Hula Girl T  Graham Khandia

   Purple with yellow gold. White with gray. Kiwi with fuchsia. It is a retro hula girl—almost as big as the boxy, bracelet-sleeved t is long—strumming her ukulele, sporting a lei, grass skirt and long hair flowing on the breeze. In heavily leaded vintage type of a serious, engraved nature, the legend “Honeymoon Beach” resides across across the back. Worn in whimsy or seriousness, it is the kind of clothing that lets fun look chic without being silly.


“The Brand Underground” - Rob Walker New York Times Sunday Magazine   30 July 2006

  To understand the hipeousie of today’s youth movement is to move beyond the notion of “us v. them,” an underground as it’s been defined with past generations of teens/20-somethings. With the internet, now whims turn to taste turn to over in the passing of a day; hype becomes heat becomes ho-hum—and that which isn’t much can seem to be everything, all based on the tone of the who’s-wearing-what commentary. Panting or bored? Revved up or over it? So much is in the balance.

   And so Rob Walker moves into the realms of atom-brands—lines of elite and beyond insider only t’s—to dissect the trends and movements that create and unseat the things that’re “of the moment.” It is franchising reality, marketing persona and offering a sense of co-opting one’s taste for the consuming express. Read it, and understand how the future will transform via the fickle.

Captive Lipstick  MAC

   Exquisite matte coverage that fills in, but especially transforms lips to the color they turn of their own accord from excessive kissing. The almost exact shade imbued from bussing of the non-commuter variety, this puts a flush in your face that suggests the best reason for captivity known to man. Mmmmmm”


Real (True) Value

There is the cost in dollars or time. What you pay in terms of what is taken from your bank balance—or activities foregone in pursuit of wherever your focus is being placed.
   Is what you get worth what you put out? Is this enhancing and enriching who you are as a person? Are you making your reality—as you live it, embody it, celebrate it—more? Because in the end, what something is worth is so much more than what it cost in time or money”. How did it make you feel? How did that other person’s face light up? Was there a moment that made you pause, think, be glad you’re alive? It can be something as silly as a postcard on a bad day, as major as throwing a big party for the person certain they didn’t want one and deeply moved that you did. It can be the way your dog’s tail wags when you come home, or the fact that a child throws their arms around you just because”.
   If we—as individuals, communities, companies, countries and corporations—could gauge like this, what we’d invest in would be wholly different. When you stop and invest a moment even in seeing things through this perspective, isn’t amazing how your life and priorities can shift.

Luke Wilson

   With hair almost the color—truly—of a mouse, eyes acutely aware, slouchy post-prep style, Luke Wilson is the kind of guy that naturally occurs even in his movie stardom. As a reminder that one can have fame without choking everyone with its fumes, his grace makes his presence all the more beguiling” and the fact that he’s floppy dog baby doll cute ain’t too harsh, either. Watching him move observed, yet never self-consciously through my world over the last few weeks, it’s been a lesson in how easy fame should drape across one’s shoulders.

Blossom & Grow Series  Yoga Journal, August 2006

   A series of poses that opens up one’s lower chakras, grounds your energy to the earth, loosens the hips, chest, legs and draws the breath all the way to the tailbone. It is done seated on the ground—after appropriate warm-up, of course, and it leaves you feeling enlivened, yet calm. Starting with feet together, knees down, one begins focusing on their breath and enjoying the passage of energy, air, blood through their systems. From there, it’s 8 poses of moving, stretching, turning, twisting—and what one can’t quite do, the close enough is readily obvious. Increasing balance, as well, it is an investment that opens up rivers of thought and possibility, all you have to do is give your body the time to sink into the shapes without forcing.

Cherries + Almonds in Dark Chocolate  Chocolove

   Aside from the poem inside the fairly French bohemian looking wrapper, there is 65% cocoa in a bar that while not ubercreamy has a density of flavor that broadens the longer one lets it melt on one’s tongue. Though with the giving meat of the almonds and the tart-sweet pluck of the cherries, this is certainly a high octane chew treat for grown-ups with a proclivity for sophisticated treats. Not waxy, nor marred by the flavor-muting preservatives in some bars, this is playtime without feeling frivolous. Delicious, intriguing, titillating, wow!


Salt Water

   It has its own buoyancy—and energy. You can feel the life within it, as it picks you up, carries you along, finds ways to fold you into its essence. There is something about salt water—whether you are paddling around in it, floating quietly on the waves as they roll in or merely knee deep and feeling the way it leaves something on your skin everywhere it touches you—that seems to reconnect one to their primordial essence. Quietly listening, feeling, tasting, touching, one can’t help but sense something beyond just the saline wetness. Salt water offers things beyond comprehension, comfort in its presence and healing in our immersion in it.

Love Is My Religion - Ziggy Marley

   Gently undulating—with serious thematics of human conjunction—Love Is My Religion is the sort of light tropic soundtrack for a lazy afternoon of humidity, languorous interaction and good vibes. Not as hard-hitting or oeuvre merging as brother Damien’s Welcome To Jam Rock earlier this year, but also the kind of record that’ll take you away, take you to a balmy place where the moments not only last all day, but you’ll hope they’ll go on forever. Narcotically-lulling, it is a must for the end of a stress day, potential road rage highways and those times you just want to be.

Zelda Has A Popsicle

   Actually an Edie’s All-Fruit Bar, But in the heat of the afternoon, on the porch, she can be found melting strawberry goodness at the end of the fastest tongue on the Eastern seaboard. Zelda Fitzgerald Spaniel Gleason making quick time with the frozen fruit on the stick, so she can stay cool, stay sweet, stay yummy.


Shelf Full of Candles

   Anywhere there’s enough surface to litter 7, 8, 12 votive candles—especially with glass behind, there is a light that is created that is so golden, so warm, so embracing, that enchantment doesn’t begin to describe the state of the room. The idea is to have small lights, a lot of them and letting them burn from different heights; there in a garden of flames emerges a small plane of how beautiful our world can be.

“The trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more”
 —Erica Jong


   Playing it safe isn’t anything like safe. It is more an expressway to inertia that’ll lead to erosion and decay of what there is. To risk is to grow, to feel, to move through fear towards something better, more, deeper. To be alive is to take the challenge, the shot, the moment and make it matter—because if you settle or accept whatever you’re handed, oh the opportunities that never see the light of day. Be bold. Be brave. Find your moments, surf your curls, take your turns on 2 wheels and feel it all”.

Dancing with Cuba - Alma Guillermoprieto

   She dreamed of being a dancer—and studied with Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, even the school of Martha Graham, but she was never quite there, never quite enough, Until the opportunity came to teach dance for the revolution! And so it was that Alma Guillermoprieto found herself on an outlaw track, heading from New York by way of Mexico to teach at Cuba’s National School of Dance.

   There she found another world, beyond even another country. It was a culture of catastrophic depravation in the name of Fidel, but it was also a place of much heart—and that dichotomy informed and inspired the young woman on a journey of her own personal evolution and discovery. Written in the sensory-immersion, how it feels style of the best Latin writers, the woman who would grow up to be an award-winning journalist offers a memoir of another time, another place that balances strength and grace, stoicism with passion—and ultimately the political grounding of any _expression so cast.

Sunscreen w. Olive Oil Hair spray Phyto

   This time of year is so hard on one’s hair. Sun. Chlorine. Sea salt. Sweat. Not to mention the traditional menaces of “products,” hair color, blow-drying, straightening and whatever other forms of follicle manipulation that’s part of working your coif. Even just the pulled back ponytail’s course of business tension is heightened by the seasonal shift in activity, intensity and increased grooming. Phyto—the French company with a natural ingredient base for every hair crisis—has come up with the ultimate healing, sunscreening weapon, and it has olive oil to back in conditioning goodness as it protects and shields.

Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal

   According to the Bible, this wheat-free cereal is Heaven mandate. Grainy, crunchy, nutty-tasting, it’s as perfect a source of protein as exists. With enough mettle to give you a true morning cereal that doesn’t go limp in the bowl starter, this mix of oats, barley, flax and even lentils is sprouted to increase their nutrition, then baked to reinforce the crispness. Toss in a few blueberries, sprinkle with cinnamon and what was a tasty egg-beater is now a fun and healthy way to start your day.


Sailor’s Anklet


  Thin white string braided coil double twist, this evokes the thicker multi-strand Sailor’s Bracelets kids bring home every year from Cape Cod vacations. We’ve all at least seen the ones that slip on, get wet and shrink to fit. Instead, the anklet comes with an end that can be untwisted to slide the knotted other end through, then closed up to hold the anklet in place. Long enough to leave a tiny pigtail where the circled end swallowed the knot, it is a bit of whimsy that’ll keep the summer alive as long as the owner shall keep it shackled around one’s ankle—and that can be as long as time, one’s parents or the care and cleaning of said rope allows.