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

April 2006

April 2006: Racing Gravity, Sowing Sea Glass, Kristofferson’s Pilgrim & Louisville Sluggers


Tab Energy


Kinda citrus. Kinda classic ‘60s diet cola. Five fabulous calories—and a less assaultive flavor than most energy jolters in those bullet cans. Very retro in its pink with the big dot can, this is almost the Virginia Slims of caffeinators—something that’s not as nostrils flared as Red Bull, but equally ramping and amping.


Taking the Ferry Just To Take The Ferry


You get on, listen to the gulls cry. Watch the waves chop and toss. Feel the suns, the ions off the sea. You don’t have to go anywhere for any reason - just let the journey be enough. Because sometimes passage, the idea that there’s an “over there” or “another place to be” is all we need to feel free. But just as importantly, it’s incredible to traverse the ocean from island to mainland in 45 minutes, watching the land fall away, the ocean up and then the land draw near again.
   To understand the notion of interconnection, this is a good place to start.



“Beauty isn’t created. It is.”
                        —Emily Dickinson

Look. At anything, Challenge yourself to really see it. To consider what it’s made of, the planes, the lines, the surfaces. Appreciate the colors and nuances, the small details that become large. Everything is beautiful—even the Gargoyles at Notre Dame or pit bulls on chains—if you take the time to really see them. Just open your eyes and drink, sink in.



Risotto Porcini Mushroom Balls Alchemy, Edgartown, MA


Shaped into balls the size of a buckeye, rich mushroom risotto is quickly fried until it’s crispy without being sodden—and the cheese, wine and stock that binds these morsels of swimmingly yummy comfort food’s flavor deepens. Tasting of the mossy earthiness of the forest, they are accompanied by thin slices of shaved reggiano to add a bit of bite and counterpunch. Labeled bar food, they raise the standard for what pub fare cab achieve.


Indiana - David Mead


His voice is this quiet, comforting bit of shimmer. Just reaching from the depths of his soul into the truth of your own—and Indiana’s arrangements while pretty, let his voice do the work. Whether trying to sort out the tides of his life, the moorings loosed in the storms or the doubts that linger like cobwebs in the back of his mind, this is the sort of ruminative work that comforts you even as it opens the wounds and offers them to the night for healing. “Nashville” is a prayer about trying to turn something right, while “Beauty” basks in everything the name implies—and there is even a re-working of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that plies innocence of spirit at a time when cynicism is so much easier to reach for.
   Anyone who loves Ryan Adams will be swept away with Mead, a far tenderer heart searching the skies for answers, while living here on the earth with the rest of us. Recommended for twilights, daybreaks and any time one would reach for candles and tears on their own.


Cote Bastide Pamplemousse Bath Gel



Thick and rich, swooshing into such lush bubbles, it’s like a return to childhood—but bring your own rubber duck! And the smell is the best of what grapefruit should be: tart, but sweet, a sense of citrus without that artificial, almost tinny scent that makes one’s nose crinkle in the worst way. No, no; this is to be lost in a refreshing, pampering swirl.


Sowing Sea Glass


One of my friends has a friend who breaks up bottles, and any other kind of colored glass, then stands at the edge of the ocean hurling the pieces as far into the water as possible. It is not litter, some thoughtless act of trash removal, but more sowing the seeds of later prettiness. By casting these pieces of fired- and tempered-sand back to the ocean, he hopes one day, they shall be returned as the smooth, frosted bits of glass that seem so rare and precious reaped by strangers, a harvest of the sea that surprises them on their journey down the beach. As a demonstration of hope and beauty, it is a wonder and an inspirations



Albums (v. hits)


It’s so easy to get caught up in the songs we know; the ones that have been played on the radio so much, they ARE our subconscious, the very fiber of our being; that it’s easy to forget how powerful albums are. Whole works, that hold together as a piece or a comment on a state of living. The collection of songs and they dialogue they have with each other: Born To Run, Exile on Main Street, Running On Empty, Harvest, Blue. Or even just collections of songs that hold together—and expand what the “hits” are like Back In Black, Sticky Fingers, Big City, Heart Like A Wheel, Dixie Chicken, even Live at the Filmore East.
   Sometimes it’s so much more than a song or a moment, sometimes it’s something from the core—a larger truth, a reason to believe or cry or elevate. When I pull out a full-length work, I am often surprised by what I feel, remember, learn about myself all over again. There is magic in the music, no doubt; but there’s also truths between the grooves if we’ll just let the record keep playing.


Legitmate Powder T-Shirts


Mexican magic powders, designed to bewitch, captivate and hex—with packaging and intentions that have all the subtlety of Mexican wrestling posters. But in that high camp, press-on old school imagery and promises of “Make Your Man Meek As A Lamb,” “Attract Love & Fortune” and “Stop Bad Talk,” there is a bewitching beckoning to the energy you want to attract. Cutting edge in that punk rock iconic way, yet retro in the naive simplicity of what it suggests. And if you’re lucky, your close cut cap sleeve girly t will come with its own appropriate package of the magical dust—because you know you just never know.



John Hall for Congress


Sure, he was the quiet one in the realm of the Musicians United for Safe Energy coalition—which also included Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash—but the former Orleans singer was long on research and willing to do the mundane and the dreary. That he would, all these years later in a political climate riff with recrimination, be willing to get out there and run gives us hope for the future of thoughtful moral people who aren’t interested in beating us over the head with a Bible. To consider things like the education and the environment signals a commitment to a sustainable reality for this country - and that alone makes his green anthem “Power” a reason to rally. It also reminds us the power is ours, if we’ll embrace it.


Cobblers Who Get It


She likes the challenge, the notion of how to save the well-worn, better loved foot things. Running her hands over the soles, feeling the scuffed places and gouges in the leather and suede, there’s a sense that this, too, can be made whole again. It is the reason old things can just keep getting better—and your cowboy boots can be constant companions from youth until as long as you’re willing to wear them.



Old Loves Who Get It


It’s over. What you loved isn’t gone, disappeared, the goodness an illusion. For if it was gone, what does that say about your own powers of discernment? Your own lack of judgment? Nah, sometimes destiny has other plans—but to relinquish the beauty of a certain kind of communion to the tides of fate? Nah, not if you recognize what’s amazing in what was shared.
   And so it is that Kenny Chesney never ceases to marvel at how easy the intimacy ex-fiancée #6 and I have is. Why jaws always drop when I walk into ex-fiancée #3’a bakery and both he AND his wife light up. Why the seriously younger boyfriend and his little brother closed down an apartment for me in Cleveland, Ohio because I just couldn’t.
   What you love doesn’t die, you just can’t stay where and how you were. And if you can accept that, you can stay in the friendship, love the other person even more fearlessly, and sometimes even visit the exotic locales the other one finds themselves in, bringing all the joy at times when it’s needed, understanding no one else has. Magic really, only better.



Karma Soap


Made in India. Holistic. Smelling of musk and exoticism. Infused with holy basil, an herb purported to have healing and buoying psychic properties. All I know is Ganesh is on the box—and it lather up real nice.


“to know that the hearts of our friends are true is to put around us a necklace of precious stones.”

They have your back. They know your faults—and faltering places. They understand your challenges. They thrill when things are going well, exult in your success. Life is sweetest when you have the gems of friends—and so the Aztecs knew. Look around. Count your treasures. Smile at all you’ve been given—and don’t forge to let them know how much they matter to you—for it is in basking in the beauty of our relationships that we adorn ourselves with the best kind of loveliness there is.



The Pilgrim: A Tribute To Kris Kristofferson - Various



He has led a life writ large: Rhodes Scholar, movie star, helicopter pilot, wildcatter, activist and especially songwriter. Here on this American Roots Publishing tribute, the man who gave romance to redneck living and dignity to cracked hippie reason is feted with bruised and heart-racing renditions of some of his best loved songs: Gretchen Wilson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” as real and raw as anything out there, while Rosanne Cash’s “Loving Him Was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again” is elegant and silken even as its stained with equal parts regret and wow—and Brian McKnight’s “Me and Bobby McGee” pushes the roadweary classic into an easy soul lament.
   Versatility and veracity mark Kristofferson’s work—and this survey of who Kristofferson is to the roots acts that matter is a fitting witness. Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, Shooter Jennings, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Randy Scruggs, Lloyd Cole and Jill Sobule, Willie Nelson and a code of Kristofferson’s 1970 demo of “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends.” Brilliantly cast, better executed, a wonder to search out.


The Pilgrim: A Tribute To Kris Kristofferson - Various



He has led a life writ large: Rhodes Scholar, movie star, helicopter pilot, wildcatter, activist and especially songwriter. Here on this American Roots Publishing tribute, the man who gave romance to redneck living and dignity to cracked hippie reason is feted with bruised and heart-racing renditions of some of his best loved songs: Gretchen Wilson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” as real and raw as anything out there, while Rosanne Cash’s “Loving Him Was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again” is elegant and silken even as its stained with equal parts regret and wow—and Brian McKnight’s “Me and Bobby McGee” pushes the roadweary classic into an easy soul lament.
   Versatility and veracity mark Kristofferson’s work—and this survey of who Kristofferson is to the roots acts that matter is a fitting witness. Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, Shooter Jennings, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Randy Scruggs, Lloyd Cole and Jill Sobule, Willie Nelson and a code of Kristofferson’s 1970 demo of “Please Don’t Tell Me How The Story Ends.” Brilliantly cast, better executed, a wonder to search out.


The rocks of Menemsha


Out there, in the cold, cold waters of the Atlantic, in a deserted part of Martha’s Vineyard, alone in the morning, there are answers. You slip off your shoes, you walk quietly out on the flat rocks—watching the tossing of the waves, seeing the shimmer of the first sun on the choppy surface. It is dazzling and humbling, the notion that this just is—whether we see it or not.
   Stare beyond the horizon, feel small. Cast your eyes down and see water so clear, every bit is visible—and understand the power of the smallest thing to make an impression. Look into the sky and feel the power of the world in which you live. Standing there in the stillness, the cawing of the gulls echoing in your heart, anything and everything is possible, and clarity is just a matter of being willing. All you have to is look, seek, be open.



Ford Metallic Blue with Purple Undertones


It is better than a mid-range sapphire. Slightly metallic, utterly intense. A medium blue, not quite navy nor is it deep aqua. This is a bold color with much heart—and a violet undertone shot through it. Recently spotted on a 350 parked on my street, it takes the classic pick-up with the take-no-prisoners engine and renders it into a valiant piece of American heavy metal.


Ford Metallic Blue with Purple Undertones


It is better than a mid-range sapphire. Slightly metallic, utterly intense. A medium blue, not quite navy nor is it deep aqua. This is a bold color with much heart—and a violet undertone shot through it. Recently spotted on a 350 parked on my street, it takes the classic pick-up with the take-no-prisoners engine and renders it into a valiant piece of American heavy metal.


Le Bahans du Chateau Haut-Brion 1996


Every now and then, you just want to splurge. A breakthrough, a promotion, a major move. And this is the kind of splurge that entwines your imagination with the age of the vines, the sun and the rain infusing the ancient earthiness with the richness of how expansive and tactile our world can be. To hit your tongue and feel your body immediately, relax, open and wordlessly utter, “yes…” is to open a bottle of Chateau Haut-Brion, the kind of punctuation for anything worth gilding and treasuring forever.


Custom Louisville Slugger


The box was long and thin; and heavy, the return address a law firm back home. Inside was a perfectly turned Louisville Slugger, in and of itself a pretty wonderful way to mark the onset of spring. But looking closer, there it was, an inscription that was apt and couture fit: Holly Gleason, Clean-Up Batter, Joe’s Garage.
   No note was needed. To end an era, someone who got it got something to remind me about what truly matters in this world: getting it done with dignity and style. And so, there’s a baseball bat for something other than intruders in my life, it’s to keep my eye on the ball and my being ready to swing when the pitch is right.


Flextencils  Lancome


From the people who brought the most world class mascara in the world, the wondrous Defencils, comes Flextencils. This is a mascara that lengths, thickens AND curls. It takes a little patience to apply the quotes slowly to really maximize the upwards tilt of the lash, but the results—almost false eyelash looking peepers—are worth the time and effort.


Downward Facing Dog


To press up and down at once. To feel connected through the palms and the feet—both pushing into the ground and rising your hips up to the heavens. It is an ultimate act of strength, a way to really feel one’s power. As you lift from the hips, energy moves in ways you didn’t realize, passing life force through your body like electrical current. It is—even as we struggle to realize the pose—what it means to feel strength and to feel truly alive.



Island Co. T-Shirts


Insanely fine-combed cotton. Cut to flatter the body and capture the imagination. Offering slogans that one can live by, especially when the 9-to-5 is killing you: Islomaniac or Live. Travel. Escape. Or my personal fave: the tiny palm tree in the middle of the front which is so clean and non-invasive- - and a back that proclaims, “Quit your job. Buy A Ticket. Fall in love. Don’t come back.”
   Barely cap sleeve for girls, traditionally cut for men. They evoke the freedom and idyllic languidity of days drenched in sun and Coronas, listlessly floating at sea. It just doesn’t get any better. At least in terms of a t-shirt.



Packing Tape


   Nothing like it. Two inches wide, utterly sticky, ready to seal whatever needs to be sent Zip zip zip—and then you get that Sharpie marker, dash off the recipient’s vitals. Instant joy by the way of the Post Office, UPS, Fed Ex even—and all that packing tape keeps things together until it gets to where it’s going. Joy delivery with a jagged edge to separate the applied from the roller.



Mexican Mocha Caffeine Addicts, Woods Hole, MA


Mexican hot chocolate is a spicier proposition, as much about the tingle as the sweet. At Caffeine Addicts, they take that notion up two pegs—making their Mexican cocoa with chili powder and cinnamon for BURST with a smooth coffee. Positively addictive, and yet; how could one not?

Mergence noun


To come together, to begin to become or function as one. From the French. Looking for a word that meant engagement in the non-marital sense, but hopefully something that evoked grace and wonder, it was a three day quest involving several friends, exponential searches and much frustration. And then the e-mail came from Nashville, from John Nolan Hobbs, with the subject line “pretty word.” It was.


Magnolias About To Unfurl 


Buds so pregnant they make you understand Anais Nin’s famous quote, they are swollen and deepening pink. Puffing out, ready to open, but rising up from their branches with the promise of great big succulent flowers on the verge. There is something expectant, hopeful, ready about magnolias that are about to unfurl and reveal their loveliness to us all that is almost as gorgeous as the blossoms themselves. Maybe it’s the anticipation, but it’s probably just their own curvy, almost crocus like beauty;
   Seek them out now, before they’re in full bloom—and see.



Wind-Up Pig (w. the moving snout)


There are mechanical toys, and there are mechanical toys. This cha-cha’ing little porcine has the moves of an actual barnyard maven, but the nose squiggles up and twitches around like he’s got a line on some fresh slop. Never has barnyard accuracy been quite so darling, nor has there been a premium hogs that can waddle across your desk on their own volition.


“Art is when you put everything in, then remove everything but the truth. It’s brave, but it’s th…

We were talking; about the risk of telling the truth, the line of self-indulgence, the waxy build-up of melodrama, which can only clog and choke the meaning. Where is the line? How do you know? At what point are you macerating in your own sense of self-whatever? And that’s when my friend Barbara, who sings opera but has no pretensions about “the creative life,” lobbed this insight directly at me. I pulled up short. She was absolutely relentlessly fearlessly right. It changed everything about how I view, well, almost everything.


Gravity Race Aquinnah, MA


On Easter, after the eggs have been hunted, the chocolate devoured, the services attended, the people of Martha’s Vineyard assemble to watch men—and women!!!—in fanciful cars with 4 wheels and no motors, shoot down a ramp and rush down a mile of sea road. They are fiberglass and weatherwrap, copper and cloth; anchored to bicycle wheels, skateboards, wheelchairs. Giant carrots with jumbo rabbit pit crews, bullets that are all science, luge expansions and pink soap box derby racers.
   It is competition at its finest, its shiniest, its most buoyant and joyful. In a world where life can be so serious, this is invention shot through with whimsy—and a day in the sunshine, the sea air, the ocean pulling and spewing as a backdrop and the fellowship of a community writ as the celebration of the absurdly wonderful.


Worry dolls


Little Guatemalan dolls designed to hear your problems, then carry them away. Small enough to tuck in a pocket, a purse, a computer case, they are there to absorb your cares, shoulder your sorrows. If we have somewhere to put the things that plague us—and find relief even for a bit—what a wonderful thing these tiny collections of male and female dolls offer.