Tuesday, August 31, 2010

god save the queen

Darlings, British fashion titan Vivienne Westwood is the subject of a well-deserved retrospective in London, but instead of highlighting her eye-popping fashions over the years, this one narrowed its focus to her equally (if not more so) eye-popping shoe designs. "Vivienne Westwood Shoes: An Exhibition 1973- 2010" is at Selfridges Ultralounge in London August 26th-September 22nd and showcases nearly 200 shoes from the designer's archive and collections. It's a shame some of these pieces look a little beat up, but nothing can diminish the sheer insanity of some of her designs as well as the strange beauty. So strap on your penis shoes and head on out to take a look.

reprinted from tom and lorenzo blog
Vivienne Westwood also has finally assembled a collection of her designs stemming from 1973 until the present. Westwoods designs reflect a healthy cross section of the latter years of the 20th century. I didn't wear her shoes, but certainly to me, they represent the mood, the philosophy, and the attitude of my peers.
of course, i am a lifelong malcolm mclaren fan, and vivienne and malcolm were inseparable for years, each influencing and supporting the other as they carved out their lives in london and subsequently the world.


Monday, August 30, 2010

life during wartime

two more free days in front of me. this will no doubt pass very quickly. i have things to do, but am not sure if i will get them all completed. but no matter i am in need of taking some time.

 i went to see "Life During Wartime" last night. what a strange buffet it was. without a doubt, i am  completely unqualified to relay the accurate intentions of this film. but i will state that i left with more questions than answers, and i love my life more when there are questions.  it was full of tears and ghosts, misdirection and missteps, and much of this was presented in such an exaggerated and retro-vivid style. it felt colorized and sanitized and sun bleached.  i found myself laughing because some of the scenes were so uncomfortable that i had to ease my own queasiness. Charlotte Rampling chewed the scenery with her very small scene at the Deauville Hotel on Miami Beach.

i made pear crisp yesterday and ate way too much of it. the pears are so superb right now and i used a box mix called "whistlestop cafe" from fannie flagg. for all you young folks, fannie flagg was a hoot of a celebrity who used to appear on "The Match Game" with Charles Nelson Reilly. She also wrote the screenplay "Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe" which later became one of my favorite films "Fried Green Tomatoes". I am adding a link to the cooking items, as they fall in line with the current home cooking trend.

a friend has lost both his grandmothers this august. i am driving him to the airport to attend the second service. i think we are having lunch at park burger. a new one just opened in our neighborhood where the old "bump and grind". but, we may end up going to d-bar as they have added a full menu to their once dessert only offerings.  i am giving him a copy of "when things fall apart" by pema chodron. this book still helps me find my way when the fan spews shit. "To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."... Pema Chodron

my building relandscaped along one street last weekend. there are 3 levels and it took 5 people 18-20 hours to get it done. there were lots of new plantings that were installed. we planted hydrangeas, dwarf korean lilacs, daphne, and 3 types of grasses. it will be months before we really see the results. who says i am not learning patience?

i bought the most amazing balsamic reduction at Marczyk's last week. it is combined with truffles and has an undeniable earthy flavor. i used it on an heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil, but took it later that day to a party i was working and the the chef used it for the tenderloin and the salmon  she served. it is bottled by Cucina Viva and is imported from Italy.

as i consider a title for this post, and read the pastiche that makes up this post, i am reminded of a line in the film alluding to the truth that as a nation we are still involved in a war. a war that has been going on for so long that i have numbed myself to this fact. i put blinders on and try to forget that my country's (and my own) addiction to fossil fuel has been at the core of nations tumbling and citizens dying. maybe this would account for the consistent crying jags, the visits from ghosts, the tortured memories, and the tattered relationships that filled each frame of that film..

Sunday, August 29, 2010

tango for the tongue

just beyond the millennium bridge at the end of the 16th St shuttle (at Union Station) is a whole new neighborhood which is part of the gentrification of that area. There are lofts, shops, cafes, and restaurants sprinkled among the new (and refurbished) construction. Everything looks clean and tidy and the pavement and landscaping still appear new. perched on a corner unit across from the park is a latin/asian fusion restaurant from Richard Sandoval named Zengo.

my friend and i went for dinner and i was genuinely surprised. the flavors were distinct, the spices and citruses were pungent, and the portions were generous. the servings are big and so are the prices. appetizers run about 10-15 and entrees are 21-34. but there is a tasting menu which runs sunday thru thursday and offers diners a sampler option.

i am posting the selections as we had them. the soft shell crab was lovely- completely. small flour tortillas, a cole slaw with lime and wasabi accented the crab perfectly. the salad course with grilled watermelon and seared ahi could have been a meal for me. but without the tenderloin languishing in ginger serrano i am not sure i would have gotten a real glimpse of the statement presented by Zengo. "Zengo is Japanese for give and take", this give and take is completely evident and creates a beautifully choreographed tango for the tongue.
Zengo Denver
1610 Little Raven Street, Riverfront Park
Denver, CO 80202
Tel. 720.904.0965

find out more about zengo here

won bok slaw / thai chili
lemon~sake aioli / soft tortillas
avocado / kaiware sprout
grilled watermelon
lemon~wasabi dressing
masala~achiote grilled chicken breast
naan / black bean dal
cilantro / mango
beef tenderloin / broccolini / mushroom
onion / roasted corn salsa
ginger~serrano sauce
white chocolate ~ green tea ganache
vanilla ice cream

Saturday, August 28, 2010


as i sit in front of my keyboard today, i find myself feeling lighthearted and smiling. i can't think of a good reason really. i had plans for the morning and the afternoon, but they both fell to the wayside. yet here i am. my house resembles the pathway of a small tornado, and i have paperwork to finish at my office. all these things will come though. right now, i am floating in feel good.

of course, if you know me, this doesn't happen often. i have learned that i spend most of my waking hours in some sort of twisted self-absorption or narcissistic state in which i tear myself apart like a lost puppy does furniture when left alone in the house.

but not today. (silently thanks the universe)

i crossed paths with someone i know pretty well who has releapsed on meth. they have been trying to hide it- mostly from themselves- but now don't have that option. they have lost their job, their housing, and they have been released from duty from their volunteer work. it's a very common and very sad scenario. i tried to help this person get into treatment. they had an opportunity to get treatment very recently, but didn't take advantage of it. this was work-related and a subsequent loss of income may have changed their mind.

i wish peace today for all people i know struggling with their addicitons or their emotions. my own experience has given me insight that even after the drugs are gone, the damage has only begun to be addressed. that repair takes time. it takes courage, strength, and lots of understanding and insight. 

just look at new orleans.

rehearsal.... recovery.. reconstruction... rebuilding.. redoing... all have amazing similarities. they can be slapped together to save time, energy, and money. or they can be designed, planned, and executed with care. certainly there ain't no guarantees as the outcomes, but my money is on taking a designed approach. this way, there is something to fall back on for inspiration if something goes awry...

doesn't something always go awry?

Friday, August 27, 2010

robbie williams does country

here is a new vid from one of my favorites... robbie williams.. he tries his hand at a pop song with a c & w flavor.. ala brokeback mountain...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

undisclosed desires

I know you've suffered
But I don't want you to hide
It's cold and loveless
I won't let you be denied
I'll make you feel pure
Trust me
You can be sure
I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognise your beauty's not just a mask
I want to exorcise the demons from your past
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

the weekend is almost up us and i am hoping to get outa dodge if only for a day. and this weekend i am gonna try to hit valley view hot springs. nestled near the sangre de cristo mountains, just outside alamosa colorado. it is clothing optional in all the park, although that is certainly not my reason for going. i am going for the springs. i can use some cleansing and some muscle relaxation. massages are great, but i haven't had one in almost 20 years. the last time i had a massage, i started crying for no reason and it spooked me.

so off to the hot springs i hope to go. i won't be posting for a few days. today is my 52nd birthday and i work a party tomorrow evening. i am working on saturday as well, subbing for another counselor at the DUI agency along with dinner and a movie with family.. sunday i have brunch with my sponsor and then i hope to head for the hills.

2nd stage recovery has it's challenges yes, but it definitely has its gifts. one of the most prevalent is feeling comfortable with me. relearning how to live involves a new level of safety. and this is a trail worth following.
i am introducing a request to start a new group at work. it will address the omnipresent issues that still exist with meth users in my community. i have some fears that some of this desire to do this may be unrequited goals from the past, but i don't believe that is the whole of it.

i am requesting a trip to chicago in october to attend a opioid replacement conference. this is a chance to expand my experience in my work and to see good friends once again. fingers crossed on this one.

i am working on the next issue of the TEN newsletter and i am very excited for this issue. a group of contributors have submitted writing and it holds the opportunity to present a voice that is historically very silent here in colorado.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

feels so different

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

the "ah-has" are speeding past me this year like the last days of a perfect summer. i find myself  both awed and humbled beyond my ability to express. the most liberating of all these rays of light is the deeper understanding of mindfulness that is encompassing me and this may just change my world forever. all my life i have been living with the idea that truth is fixed and that the way i see the world was hard-earned and would doubtfully change.

but i now find myself shifting to realize that how i see the world is just that and only that- the way i see it. it has no bearing on how the world is, nor even how i differently i can work to see it if i choose. the remarkable aspect of all this is the sheer simplicity of it. i have a choice. understanding this makes it less of a choice, but it's still a choice.

my way has been to hold a grudge for eons. i have become so comfortable living with anger submerged it seems as if my heart might have been buried alive. somehow, still beating, it has not been able to connect to much of anything because it has been tethered to the dark, the pain,  and all the fear. but just as the light breaks the darkness on the horizon at dawn, this truth has allowed me to see beyond my tomb. my history remains written, but my options from now have dramatically shifted.

this shift affects everything i do. i am able to feel less stuck. i am able to let go more easily. i notice the days and the nights more intimately. i can't imagine what life would be without this new turn. but i don't have to. my life includes a new level of mindfulness. and it offers me a slice of serenity.

regional delight

a few weeks back, i had the unexpected pleasure of seeing a small film that was a big surprise. it's an independent effort made in southern missouri. a small story with a big impact- at least on me. the tale is distinctly american. a local southern ozark girl is running the household she lives in. she's 17 and she is the main caretaker for her younger sister and brother as well as a mother that has checked out from life from all we can tell. the mother's still living, but has emotionally vanished from the responsibility pool. her father, a career meth cooker, has been in and out of prison/jail and is currently out on bond. our heroine is completely at home in this environment- it's all she knows, but she hasn't fallen pray to it's lifestyle. she remains focused and sober, coveting dreams of her own.  a sheriff stops by to inform our heroine that her beloved daddy has put the house she and her family are living in up for bond, and if he doesn't show for court, they will be homeless.

this sets the stage for her search to find her father and talk some sense into him. after all, she has been diligently and dutifully taking care of the family, leaving him to pursue the work of his dreams. she too though, has dreams of her own. she wants to join the army and get a break from the uninvited burden of raising a family. besides, she wants to get as far from the poverty ridden ozarks as she possibly can.

this lead-in starts the journey of the daughter visiting the local mountain community- all seeped in the meth culture. relatives, friends, and strangers all carry a distinct local flavor and the film has an undeniably intimate and local vibe. my senses felt caressed and nourished after watching this film. the sets are as barren and bleak as a dry mountain winter's day. there are no special effects besides the quiet that two actors speaking no lines can produce.

do yourself a favor... make a decided effort to see this film... chilling story... quietly vast performances....  winter's bone... directed by debra granik

Monday, August 23, 2010

breathing in and breathing out

One very powerful and effective way to work with tendency to push away pain and hold onto pleasure is the practice of tonglen. Tonglen is a Tibetan word that literally means "sending and taking." The practice originated in India and came to Tibet in the eleventh century. In tonglen practice, when we see or feel suffering, we breathe in with the notion of completely feeling it, accepting it, and owning it. Then we breathe out, radiating compassion, lovingkindness, freshness; anything that encourages relaxation and openness.
In this practice, it's not uncommon to find yourself blocked, because you come face to face with your own fear, resistance, or whatever your personal stuckness happens to be at that moment. At that point, you can change the focus and do tonglen for yourself , and for millions of others just like you, at that very moment, who are feeling exactly the same misery.
I particularly like to encourage tonglen, on the spot. For example, you're walking down the street and you see the pain of another human being. On-the-spot tonglen means that you just don't rush by; you actually breathe in with the wish that this person can be free of suffering, and send them out some kind of good heart or well-being. If seeing that other person's pain brings up fear or anger or confusion, which often happens, just start doing tonglen for yourself and all the other people who are stuck in the very same way.... Pema Chodron
the practice of tonglen is one that i am only beginning in my journey. i am certain that i have begun as i am much more aware of my habits of pushing away pain and trying to hold pleasure. the latter seems natural, truthfully, because we are socialized to do so. in 21st century america, the culture of sales pitch is geared around obtaining pleasure and ridding ourselves of pain. and the baggage of ptsd that i carry with me in life also i centered in pain and pleasure.

i am not sure i even understand the intricacies of tonglen yet, but i am aware that i have seemed a coward in my life. i run from my own emotional pain, because i have been damaged by it on more than one occasion. and in my efforts to sustain pleasure, i have thrown my life and my psyche out of balance on more than a thousand occasions. a practice of doing things differently seems almost what the scribes have concocted for me.

                                                       and play my part i shall try..

Saturday, August 21, 2010

planning for a future

Heart don’t fail me now
Cause there is no time to waste
Don’t shut me out, we shouldn’t wait another day…
I’ve searched for you, on my hearts high speed chase
Hear me out, may be the only chance to say
Hold me now….
I’ve said it Every Other Way

i spent about 6 hours today with my neighbors pulling up some xeriscaping, removing the fabric underneath, replacing it, trimming the junipers, and replacing the stone that was there. we removed 2 very large and overgrown junipers and had the roots pulled out, and will be replacing them with some very small "carol mackie daphnes" (pictured above). along with those will be 4 dwarf korean lilac trees, 7 hydrangeas- 3 blue and 4 white, and 8 variegated grasses.

i have been living in my house for 4 years now, and i am finally feeling grounded enough to work on the landscaping. i never would have tackled it alone, as i live in 1 of 5 row houses that wrap around a corner and there is a lot of ground to weed and give love. but the junipers next to the house have been there for over 10 years and are just way too overgrown and dead underneath to properly salvage.

i had seen the carol mackie daphne at a client's home early this summer. i was taken aback by the green and yellow leaves and the simple and distinguished blossom. it had just as pleasant an aroma as it was easy on the eye. so i have been hoping to put one around my house. luckily, i found 4 at a nursery and they were on sale. i can't wait to put them in the ground tomorrow. and even more, i am really excited to see them bloom next year.

this is definitely growth for me. i hope you can feel my smile wherever you are....

i am including this bt song with jes. i listen to this cd often when i am jogging the park. it fills me with a sense of something bigger  than myself. always a healthy position for me...

Friday, August 20, 2010

fun loving criminals

so it has been a bit since the last post. my laptop crashed and there was some drama getting it up and running again. 4 weeks of frustration and jones-ing later, i am returning and happy to report that life continues. i find the joy of living expanding these days as i have begun to revisit some of my spiritual practices and beliefs. the spiritual side to my life is the part that enlarges my life. and as i review this last year, i think that envisioning a larger life is what is perhaps the most needed.

i have felt my heart opening with my work. the opportunity to discover compassion is feeding my soul and stretching my understanding. accompanying my growth is some fear, some challenge, and some wonder.... and some big inner smiles.

i have been working the catering jobs quite frequently for my schedule. it has been fun and it has reconfirmed that i thrive around diversity in my days. and i profit financially, too.

with regard to my previous post, i have been feeling a bit of remorse as it seems a bitchy entry. i suppose it was. i have been close to someone who began to withdraw months ago and i have been in my own denial about both this and my connection to it. naturally, i have wanted to make my friends drama and pain about me. this is a mistake. i am affected, but really it is about him. it is sad, it is painful no doubt, and it will require work to return to the sunlight of spirit. with regard to my self-centered moments, i am with regret. but i understand, at the same time.

a person i know passed over and it was a complete surprise. there was opiate abuse involved and there were both depression and lies. sadly, the partner has been feeling the effects more directly. the non-disclosure of an HIV status causes the situation to be more confusing and painful for the person left behind. sometimes life just ain't pretty.

all for now, but i'll update soon. i have missed writing.