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

January 2006

January 2006: New Year, New Journal, Morningwood, Lifeguard Chair #3 & A French Proverb 


Lifeguard Chair #3 Inkwell Beach, Oak Bluffs, MA



When the day washes in, dove gray or blazing tangerine or pearly pink, you can stand atop a weathered paint peeling wood lifeguard chair—and watch it stretch and reach and expand. With the chill wind grabbing and pulling your hair, the smell of salt on the air, the roar of the waves crashing and taking their moment of land before receding, it’s like shooting the essence of life and birth and possibility into your veins.
   It is nothing, yet everything… this solid wooden witness to the sea and the tides and the wind and the elements. It is a place to howl into the wind, to squint at the chill, to realize how broad the possibilities are and to recognize how profound the common truly is. Amen.


Live Wherever You Are—Jack Ingram & The Beat-Up Ford Band


With guitars blazing and the always jaw-dropping keyboardist Bukka Allen churning away, Jack Ingram makes good on his promise as the rebel romeo of the Texas insurrectionist set. From the slammed down hard swagger and middle digit anthem “Mustang Burn” to the yearning song of abandon “Biloxi” to the wildly exuberant “The One,” Ingram puts a match to the always too live crowds at the Lone Star State’s legendary Gruene Hall—and just keeps thumping.
   With a shock of hair in his eyes, a ragged edge in his voice and a band that can lacerate a melody with sloppy precision, this is what sweat-slung roadhouse music is supposed to sound like. Slightly out of control, euphorically relentless and never one to lock down or look back, the raggedy live stuff makes the “studio” tracks seem a little bit safe, though the squared back “Never Knocked Me Down” is the kinda dignity-in-the-face-of-another’s-derision Tom Petty-esque anthem that plants its stakes with a certainty that couldn’t waver if it tried.


“There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.”
French Proverb


Knowing you’ve done everything you can. Believing that the situation was viewed through a filter of kindness, mercy and compassion. Understanding that sometimes the people or circumstances are beyond your ability to help or heal. Sometimes the French are right, because this is piece/peace of mind writ large.



Arugula + Watercress Growing On The Windowsill



Little plastic pots of happy green that says life is what you make it, and it don’t take much to make it happen. Drink the water. Smile at the occasional sprinkle of Miracle Gro. Luxuriate in the warm sunlight through the glass. When you need a few leaves of something acrid for a sandwich, pinch away—and know in a few days, there willl be more. Ahhhh, the regenerative process of nature taking its course.



Te Dansant Candle Mariage Frere


Mariage Frere raises the notion of tea to the highest levels, and their commitment to tea-scented candles more than reflects that. Te Dansant is lighter, more playful, more sunbeams across one’s living room floor or hideaway bedroom with topnotes of fruit and a lighter sense of the tea permeating out. To burn a Te Dansant candle is to create a cloud of low-level elation, something that doesn’t quite inspire dancing, but lifts moods, sparks fantasies and lightens spirits.


“It was like it was a dream, leaving not a single trace, except for the memory.”
—Jaan Uhelszki.

Sometimes perfection must be immersed in in the moment; believed in with the heart; then kindled for the polaroids that will exist only in one’s mind. To try to cling would kill the moment, let it roll and know the being there is enough. Sometimes that is all there is; sometimes that’s truly all you need.



“It was like it was a dream, leaving not a single trace, except for the memory.”
—Jaan Uhelszki.

Sometimes perfection must be immersed in in the moment; believed in with the heart; then kindled for the polaroids that will exist only in one’s mind. To try to cling would kill the moment, let it roll and know the being there is enough. Sometimes that is all there is; sometimes that’s truly all you need.



Zip Up Charcoal Gray Sweater w. Rabbit Lined Hood 1 Girl Who;


Whimsical young babe design company 1 Girl Who; figures out how to make warmth impossibly sexy but cute. Baby doll lines with ‘70s baseball jacket slash pockets, the rabbit fur lined hoodie is two layers of pretty thick wool that follow the body closely to avoid boxiness, but loose enough for ease of motion and necessary layers.
   That said, the real treat here is the fur lining—which is so soft and so warm—you pull it over your head, and you almost don’t care that it’s cold outside. And if it’s not quite a Lara in “Dr. Zhivago” moment, it’s much more wearable, more down-low-to-formal—making whimsy and keeping cozy a mere zip away.


Pink & Green Bottle Spray & Wash


Near fuchsia and a green between lime and emerald. Even if it doesn’t clean or get stains out ANY better, it’s so damn happy, I’m gonna keep it by my washer and dryer for the sheer joy of it.


Listening to Your Body


We are made of kryptonite. We can go through walls. We can work beyond exhaustion. And and and; and then. When it all caves in, when the sickness turns from common run of the mill nuisance to something else; your energy dissipates to where you’re literally limp and unable to think, let alone function; limp and listless, nothing makes any sense about your inability to go on; it’s not a matter of mind over matter, nor is it giving into your inner sloth.
   If you listen to your body, it’ll keep you from driving off the cliff. And if you don’t pay attention soon enough, honoring what it tells you—even if it means slowing down, staying in bed or just chilling a little—is a pretty honest way to take care of your health. All you have to do is listen


Coffee Almond Fudge Ice Cream Starbucks



Pornography by the quart. Smooth, impossibly seamlessly merged sweet cream and coffee shot through with ribbons of thick fudge. Load it up with chocolate covered almonds and get ready to be swallowed whole by a mocha indulgence with a bit of texture and crunch, a sweetness that’s not cloying and that always beyond combo of coffee and fudge.


“Nobody sees a flower, really 
—it is so small we haven’t time, and to see takes time.”
Georgi

As we rush, we miss. We hurry and surge and make it happen, leaving behind us a wake of beauty and truth unseen. It is the primary and the simple that lead to the nuance and deepest aspects of insight and appreciation. Time may be the most precious luxury of all



Beige/Ruby/deep Pink Paisley Sheets + Jumbo Euroshams 
Olivier Desforges


Luxe hippie, but better quality cotton. To boheme and slip into sleep from a sophisticated berth of lushness and comfort. With passion colors vividly shimmering and beckoning, the beige grounding, it’s the ultimate merging of worlds, swirling with that exoticness of print, yet classically mining the stuff of good ties and better suit linings.



Black Cadillac—Rosanne Cash


A meditation on death, memory, moments, love, life and what lasts beyond the mortal coil, Rosanne Cash—daughter of now departed Johnny Cash and Vivian DiLiberto and stepdaughter of June Carter Cash—uncoils a song cycle that musically moves from quiet acoustic ruminations to raging frustration attacks that rock as hard as her sorrow. Weighted down with the details of lives shared, lessons imparted and images etched on her mind, the merlot-velvet-voiced songwriter weaves a portrait of what love means beyond what is shared in this life—and the lessons, truths, beauty and connections make “God Is In The Roses” the most fragile binding insight about love’s universality and the power of faith through the pain written in a long, long while, while “Black Cadillac” is as much as elegy for a life in progress as it is a witness about to the way most of us shall end our time here.


Sports Page Sunday New York Times



The writing is so good and the context so far beyond the stats, that even a confirmed no clue-whatsoever-about-sports gets sucked in and lost in the stories. Almost hero’s journeys in some cases, common moments in others, the way the realities are woven, it’s as interesting as anything else in the nation’s definitive paper.

www.zappos.com

   An ex-fiancée who knows what I like, nonchalantly dropped this site on me at breakfast the other morning. Said something about ease of navigation and fulfillment, the sheer volume of items to cruise—and then I went there.
For anyone looking for ANY kind of shoes—be it athletic, boots, high heels, men, women or children—this is the place. Running the gamut from high end Giusseppe Zanotti and Robert Clergerie to New Balance and Asics to Frye and Lucchesse boots, this is one stop, no qualms about it options from the privacy of your own computer. Click and enjoy. 



Seat Warmers


It can be a cold, cold world. But you need to roll—or in my case, ride—and it is early, chilly, not the most temperate reality. In those moments, seat warmers aren’t just the great equalizer, they’re the coaxing, yummy get-outside element of winter’s core—the thing that not only makes it possible to see a day break across the sky or the clearest night’s stars from the best point, but their heat sinks into you, melting away tension and tightness as well as the chill.

Virgin Limeade  Newman’s Own


Tart. Bursting. Just sweet enough to keep the enamel from peeling off your teeth, just tart enough to give you that puckers that makes you glad your alive. Mix it with green tea for an afternoon pick-you-up; vodka for a light late night refresh you down.


Vicks Vapor Rub



The old stand-by. Warming comfort. Rubbed on your chest, it clears your lungs, penetrating all the way inside you. Rubbed under your nose, it opens your head up and lets you breath. Rubbed anywhere else it loosens, relaxes, comforts—and the smell is eucalyptus freshness that’ll cut through anything.



Sa Ta Na Ma on the plane


Totality. Creation, Dissolution. Regeneration.
   Touch the 2nd finger on the first syllable, the middle finger on the second, the ring finger on the third and your pinkie on the final. Repeat. Over and over until the syllables and the motion becomes a seamless tide rolling in, rolling over you, tugging your conscious mind out a place where it can be calm, still, relaxed. Try it—and see. Buses with wings will never be quite so stressful again. 


“Intentional Heartache” Dwight Yoakam


To be whipped and stung by the lashing cat-o-nine tails of a thrashing, crashing beat more insistent than a pair of stiletto heels on a New York street—and a razor wire guitar that just keeps slashing and cutting. From the second Dwight Yoakam’s blistering voice reports “she was southbound on 95 through Carolina,” you know the heroine ain’t taking no mess; and when she decides to inflict pain on the one who done her wrong, it’s a jagged, brutal, merciless affair that will mar his Nocona naugahyde boots, his Monte Carlo sedan and—gads!—his signed Dale (Earnhardt) Junior poster. Brutality with a backbeat. Ain’t nothing like it.


Matisse In Transition: Around Laurette The Norton, Palm Beach, FL


Beyond Impressionism, Henri Matisse built a ramp to the ever-cheerful, reality-shattering, yet elemental-invoking Fauve movement with strong pastels, clean lines and a primary approach of simple shapes and planes to form his images. To understand high art filtered through whimsy—or to even see the magic basics within our complicated days, the paintings of Matisse are a direct route.
   And to see the period where this evolution took root is to understand the essence of transformation itself. Given that this is the season of winter getaways, spring breaks and quick weekends, this is an elevating option that’ll feed your brain during a break in your lazing in the sun action.


The Next Right Thing



You don’t have to have all the answers—or the final solution. You don’t even really have to know what your master plan is. No matter how bad it is—or how hopeless—keep leading with compassion, not blame. For yourself as well as others. Take the moment to ask yourself what doesn’t harm, only lead to healing—and then take the smallest step if needed. Small steps are something major, after all they add up to big gains.



Corn Tamale Cakes Beverly Hills Cheesecake Factory



Slightly sweet, perfectly griddled. The whatever-everyone-wants-food-syndicate serves up three round masses of Southwestern-inspired, almost-corn-pudding with two different sauces, fresh salsa and avocado with dollops of sour cream. It is simple and warm, two different schools of comfort food and cultures come together for a return-to-womb on a plate. 


All Shook Up: A Reggae Tribute to Elvis Various



Straight outta the islands, it’s the varied and sundry undulations that are the rhythms of the reggae. Some obvious, others not so Jackie Edwards’ “All Shook Up” percolates and grooves, while there’s a haunting writhing groove that is grounded in a life lived a world away that is the absolute truth that makes Susan Cadogau’s “In The Ghetto” as gut-wrenching as the original As the smartest, chillin’est laidback way to set a vibe, this is stealth genius. Seek it out.


Carharts



They fit close to the body, but loose enough to move. They are hardy and sturdy enough that workmen swear by them, both in terms of protection and warmth. They are utilitarian enough—with their fron panel of double reinforcement over the thighs—that roofers and tilecutters embrace them, yet easy enough to care for—toss ‘em in the washer and remove anything—for young mothers and people pouring concrete to wear them with pride 
   They come in a deep mustard, a slate, a natural, a dark and a denim. They are made for a purpose, or purposes, yet are sexy just worn by a woman who doesn’t want to be bothered with the constraints of fashion. Style has never been so basic.



Hellerwork 


A cousin of rolfing, Hellerwork is a kind of deep tissue massage designed to get the muscles and tendons off the bone; then retrain them to lie, rest and move in a way that is more supportive of one’s body. Less invasive than Rolfing’s more aggressive approach to releasing body memories, Hellerwork focuses on one area per session—over the course of 9 sessions, if you opt for the full series—and reframes your fasci in a way that opens up movement, increases balance and offers healthier ways to move.
   To understand the deeper implications, to find a local practitioner or just to see what each session addresses, go to their web site. Structural integration seems so obvious, yet 3 sessions into this, it’s also essential and a given that our lives undermine this inherent physical reality on a daily unthinking basis.
www.hellerwork.com


Dock Street Diner Edgartown, MA



If Tom Waits hung out in Martha’s Vineyard, you’d find him decamped at the hole in the wall greasy spoon that is anything but. A well-seasoned grill makes breakfast the sort of common pleasure that can only be heightened by the dexterity of Don, a lifer of cracking, whipping and flipping eggs with one hand, stacking and slicing a demi-mound of lighter than air French toast and scraping and turning honest to goodness homefries reflexively.
   Their cheeseburgers, too, are divinity on a bun. Thin patties, white cheese, grilled onions, the regular fixins—and old school Russian dressing if you know enough to ask for it—all on a moist soft bun that soaks up the juices and sets off the tanginess of the mooshy, squishy American classic.


Gold & Silver Needles


There’s a whole other kind of polarity going on when your acupuncturist mixes the needles—and in that energy shift/convergence/cataclysm is even more chi. For an ancient occidental art, the notion that this can take the strength and power of the healing and actually intensify the process is a wonder. And somehow, it does.



New Year, New Journal


Much has happened over the past 365 days. But now it is time to leave that behind and start fresh—all hope, all prospects, all possibility. Nothing embodies that wish quite like a brand new blank book that carries none of the truths, stories or agonies of the past year inside it. New and unblemished, it is the promise of everything you hope to accomplish; just put your pen to paper and start seeing to believe.



Scallion Bacon Cream Cheese on Spinach Parmesean Bagel


It is hardy—and rich. The cream cheese serving as a juxtaposition between the bite of the scallions and the smokiness of the bacon. The bacon scallion cream cheese has the same lunch-meets-breakfast appeal as lox and bagels, only it’s even more all-American. On a spinach parmesan (or garlic) bagel, it is set off by the mellowness of the starch’s flavour, creating a tastebud-tickling yin-yang breakfast basic that’ll hold you ‘til dinner if it’s one of those days.

Mylar


It’s not just for wet suits anymore. A bright pink bottle carrier, with the handle notched out, so a bottle of something delicious can dangle from my fingertips, makes juggling the precious glass bottle of fine—or grocery store—vintage easily managed. And given the insulative nature of the dive material, cold bottles will stay cold far longer and be ready to serve when you’re ready—just as a room temperature bottle will remain there in the chill of winter.
BYOB just got a lot more practical—and sporty.


The Sea Steps Being Gone


Pieces of a scattered summer were spent there, knees pulled to chest, sun across my nose, eyes on the horizon wondering about all of it. It’s not even that there were answers there on those steps, so much as bridges to the questions that needed to be asked, wisdom that had lain dormant inside me and truths that had the room to spread out as the clouds moved across the sky.
   On an icy rainy day recently, I returned to that ruminative place to find that the steps were gone. Blown away. Out to sea. Not even shards of the quiet resting place that offered solace and space for questions and consideration. Just straight down to rocks, an angry crashing sea and wet smooth sand the color of adobe. In the jaggedness of transformation, I stood once again marveling at the window to my soul in transition that had been flung open—gone, eradicated, like the things that needed to be left behind. Again, metaphoric wisdom served through providence and grace.



Henleys Woo


The thinnest material that drapes over one’s body. Tiny buttons to give the lumberjack undershirtting Henley an almost girlishness. Basic colors—black, cream, white as well as slate blue, bubblegum pink, deep teal—create no-thought-required basics that can be dressed up or dressed down according to the need and the moment.
   As a layer of warmth or the top layer of skin, when it’s this easy, there’s no excuse not to—and the people who thank you might just give you pause; cause sometimes you’re the sexiest when you’re not even trying at all.


Children’s Book Stamps US Postal Service


And with the rate hike, of course, it’s time for new stamps; and if the stars & stripes generic stamps don’t suit you, wait ‘til you see the renderings from the children’s classics—like Charlotte’s Web and Where The Wild Things Are—that’ll inject whimsy into the life of the people who use them and who receive mail with them affixed. In a world where the news just makes you wince, where it seems like life gets harder and more challenging, why not? Why not embrace the euphoria of books designed to open up the world, scatter some sparkle and warm our hearts? If it worked once, I promise, it’ll work all over again.



Morningwood

Catcalls and a buzzsaw girl singer who can also coo in the best icy Debbie Harry pop tone when she needs to, Morningwood sideswipes the raging out of control excess of rock dilettante-ism with the pure pop for now people aesthetics that color the rest of the songs like too much clear lipgloss and feathered bangs. “Nth Degree,” the lead single, has all that frothy, foamy sheen with a circling tinny guitar part, a bass beat that expands and the ether-lite choirgirl/stripper vocals of Chantal Claret, while “Jetsetter” oozes decadence from every undulating hormonal bump; and when you get to the crowd-pleasing, erogenous zone-teasing “Take Off Your Clothes,” it’s easy to understand why—not the Cibo Matto/Spacehog/Wallflowers alum line-up—this Brooklyn-based foursome is THE party band for the Horizontal Generation.



Small Cabbages in Flower Arrangements



There is something so innocent, so smile-inducing about what the French call “le petite chou” as a term of endearment serving as a physical punctuation in flower arrangements. There amongst the cotton-ball-on-steroids-made-with-confetti hydrangeas and those fuchsia-bursting stargazer lilies that’re freckled with scarlet, bending bell-shaped tulips and the ever furled sweet smelling roses are a few pale celery or barely jade colored cabbages, white veins reminding us of the circulation and strength that supports life.
   Something so common one would barely notice, too small to be of nutritional use, the tiniest cabbages offer a commentary on unlikely, but profound beauty in the midst of something lovely. A reminder of what really matters in a form that is easily embraced, utterly charming and more classic than imaginable.



The Cleveland Agora Turns 40


There are few institutions in something as erratic as rock & roll—and even rarer are the ones that maintain the dingy cred that comes from being in the flow that is life’s wear and tear. The Cleveland Agora is one such temple: four decades in, it is still a raw-boned room dedicated to getting acts on the way up or clinging to the margins in front of the people who live for and desperately love the music. 
   It has moved several times, surviving a fire and an expansion into a chain that spanned the country only to overtax the foundation, and been witness to every act that ever mattered in modern rock times. And still Hank Laconti’s room blazes on, a little seedy, kinda dirty, but absolutely completely alive with the electricity that is the kick inside everything that allows full-force music to push us to our brink. 



“From this hour I ordain myself loss’d of limits and imaginary lines.”
 Walt Whitman


How often are the limits and boundaries the bind us self-imposed? To step back and truly look, to consider what is doubt or fear versus an immovable external force is the first step of setting oneself free. Life is to be lived, thrilled, savored; and if we start by releasing ourselves from the shackles that we’ve put upon ourselves, anything is possible. All we have to do is dream and believe and keep heading for the light.
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