Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Love, Loss and Happiness

I recall throughout the years believing mistakenly that happiness would be a prize attained for being perfect, a good girl and for saying my prayers properly. In my mind "happiness" would be without blemishes and shine brilliantly all of the time. Perfect health, perfect children and friends who would compliment the perfect world of the blessed. Blessed with fortune and education and lives that were relatively without big glitches.

People leave our lives in numerous ways...they reject us, or we, them or they leave us through death.Whether expected or not,there is never a good time to loose our loved ones.Most certainly,we will always loose one another, one way or another. We may never fully realize when performing the patterns of our lives that the phone call,text,e mail or knock on the door may occur at any given time and crush us forever.

We have all been told at different times to move on, and that not until we DO move on will something else happen in our lives to bring us joy.

What defines who we are is not our illusory perfection in our illusory lives.It is the way we integrate our pain privately yet dare to feel again,to laugh and love and trust again.Trusting that life will show us the tomorrows when we sometimes feel singled out by a platter of grief that seems too much to bare. I begrudge people who tell me to "get over it and to let go". My philosophy is different. Every person I have EVER loved is in my heart wherever I am...every pet, every friend and every love is with me all of the time.My "being" folds around this pain and holds it in loving memory.

My core integrates these losses and loves, allowing me to become more aware, more appreciative and more "present". Some people call it character, some resilience and you can call it whatever you please, but it is life lived with demension.

It is a much more beautiful world when one can love and accept the imperfect and love FOR the imperfections and not in spite of them. Happiness is softer than having to strive so hard to have it. Genuine happiness is much more forgiving... It is not the end point, but the searingly beautiful, tearful, comedic journey we process.

Allow yourself to cry without explanation, and to linger in your heart when others press you to get over things. Make peace with yourself and for God's sake make peace with others. Never ever apologize for loving too hard and please laugh at yourself. I am in the place where it is even okay if others laugh AT me and not necessarily WITH me. Happiness is the ability to live a life of accepting the whole ball of being HUMAN and EVERYTHING that goes along with that.

Happiness, is simple. The gift is the happiness of being able to be alive, and all that it encompasses. Cherish your memories, honor those in the NOW and have a healthy regard for the future for this is LIFE. Live it, and DARE to embrace it with your whole being.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chili Power

Some form of chilis is on just about everything I eat,except for fruit and sweets. I dust cottage cheese with Habanero powder. If I do not break out in a mild rash in a chili rush, or feel my scalp tingle I know I have just not met my chili quota. Few people can eat as spicy as I, and so when I meet them I feel as though we are kindred spirits. Cooking as spicy as I do, does at times create limitations for I cannot readily find friends who are as chili indulgent as I. When having dinner parties I make sure to be familiar with my guest's food proclivities so that I can cook to the degree that they can enjoy themselves.

In some recipes, the chilis must first infuse the oil in order to flavor the food. The best news about chilis is that they are good for your health and they release endorphins to ease the pain, inducing the chili "high". There is a pain reliever in red chilis called capsaicim and it was widely used in the ancient world in a salve.

Rich in vitamin C, and a great source of bioflavinoids they increase your metabolism and can help prevent arteriosclerosis. My love affair began with chilis when I was exploring the Mayan ruins in the Yukatan, AND the local cuisine. I was advised to eat chilis to prevent getting parasites. During my three week visit I was never once ill! Perhaps Chackmool {the Mayan counterpart to Egypt's sun god RA} blessed me for loving his land.I have acquired a connaseur's love of chilis that far exceeds their medicinal powers.

Recently I stayed in Bangkok for six weeks while my daughter filmed a documentary. I was in rapture while enjoying the intensity of the Thai "Pricky Nou"chili. It induces scalp and neck goosebumps, facial flushing and dew on the upper lip.You may also feel alternating hot and cold chills riveting up and down your spine.Upon returning home I was bereft without the pervasive chili condiments on every table.

Exercise caution while experiencing chilis, for chilis CAN become addicting.The more of them you eat, the more of them you NEED to eat in order to stave the pain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Table

Throughout the years I am perpetually amazed by the power of The Table. Many of the most important things that happen in our lives are signed/negotiated and or instigated/inspired while at a Table.

The discovery of fire, the wheel and The Table in its variety of uses have impacted our evolution in ways too numerable to fathom.For reasons that are obvious it is The Table that intrigues me the most.

Upon arriving in this world as babies,we are immediately placed on a Table and examined and when exiting this world we revisit The Table as we are prepared for our final journey. Friendships are forged, romantic proposals are made and business deals secured all the while, sharing a meal at a Table. I continue to be "awed" by the power of a beautiful dinner party. There have been times in my life where friendships were challenged yet were healed by the best meal most lovingly prepared in a welcoming, beautiful ambiance.

In my mind I reflect upon the "Salons" in Paris where an assortment of guests would congregate indulging in the finest a hostess would offer while sharing lively conversations of art, romance and political intrigue.

I was once married to a man from another culture whose philosophy about beauty was "to feast with the eyes first".

That is a philosophy I chose to keep while creating my dining Table for beauty in its variety of forms is universally inspiring. I confess, a beautiful Table is an absolute when creating an evening for friendship, romance and dining.Candlelight,flowers pretty table cloths are a must.It provides the anticipation of the good things that are to be at hand,and we understand the importance of anticipation.

Anticipation is at least half of pleasure. Guests have been at my Table from places in the world in which they were at war yet, have shown respect and even enjoyment of one another. We have much to learn from each other as we dine.

There was a love in my life for whom this quote resonates eternally. "They could not sit at meals but feel,how well it soothed to be
each the other by".

How is your Table?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Maui Space/Time

Upon arriving in Maui the moist warm breeze dissipated all L.A. anxiety. Jurassic greens filled my vistas and I felt as though I had relaxed into a dream state.Any preoccupation of worries were simply carried away by the wind.I was taking mental photographs so that I could file the steel and teal blues,the fucshias and oranges so that sometime when working I could find these colors to induce this surreal feeling.

There are many realities, and in that space/time Maui was going to be my reality and mine, for eight days. Little did I know that when I would arrive in Los Angeles that I would remain very conscious so that I could keep my Maui reality tucked neatly in my psyche. Plumeria and salty sea breezes caressed everything everywhere.I stayed in a storybook house with its own beach and plentiful with palm trees.Never once did I bring images into my being from the television.

My entertainment was the crashing of waves against the sea wall and the ocean spray that ensued. The full moon shone on the water like a massive spotlight and as I sat with my knees curled in under my chin I felt in those moments, love for every being I have ever loved and DO love present - time. My sentient being communed with the beauty of nature every evening and every morning as if God could receive my thoughts and prayers more readily.

Even though some of my time was like a living prayer, I still enjoyed cooking seafood di mares and barbecued steaks with the accompanying Margarita and Champagne or two. The lanai was illuminated only by candles and we dined,danced and enjoyed our spirits in the company of one another and in Maui space/time.

Once a Hedonist always a Hedonistic and I make no apologies.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Mother and Then Some.

My Mother was Marilyn, Grace and Brigitte synthesized into one woman.

When I was a very little girl, I was spellbound by the attention that ensued wherever we went. Everyone everywhere thought my mommy was a movie star and treated her as such. I loved watching men, trip over their feet trying to ingratiate themselves to her.

In spite of her luminous and sensual qualities and looking camera ready throughout any given day, this was a woman who sang in a jazz singer's voice while mopping "her" floors and keeping her beautiful home interior design magazine beautiful. She made cleaning windows and grocery shopping an art form. On any given regular day she would announce with zeal that she would be making chicken 'n dumpling's for dinner and tell me to invite any friend I wanted.

Summers days were like a "party" everyday. My Mother would pack sandwiches of egg salad,tuna salad and peanut butter with jelly and fill the cooler with soft drinks and fruit. I would invite a gaggle of girlfriends and with The Beatles blaring we would take off for Santa Monica beach. She never complained about how loud the music was or how much we screamed in glee in those pre pubescent days. Our picnics looked like layouts in Vogue or Bazaar with her perfect beach blankets and her in her black bikinis ,platinum hair and sexy cat eye sunglasses.

Those days were the golden days of my childhood when life in Southern California resembled a David Hockney. That was before I knew of wars or divorce and of childhood cancers or nervous breakdowns. Yes those were the days before I escaped to Paris to model and could assimilate what to treasure and what to leave behind and that which I could not make sense of, I attributed to "karma."

There are moments and times to treasure, and as I reflect upon the years the memories I choose to keep are the colorful ones,and the others existing in the gray I will let "karma" keep.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

French Mistress in a past life

I have a client who was most certainly, a French mistress in a past life.

When we met it was instantly noted that the two of us shared a passion for all things French.My client lives in a French limestone home appointed with authentic French antiques that she hand - picked at auction. Upon entering her home, it is as though I have entered a slice of history from an old French painting.Her taste is flawless and her attention to detail is unrivaled. She is a savy about all things French from fashion, food, textiles and where to find the best macaroons.

When engaged in a project the two of us partake in a repetoire of conversation concerning various Heros and Heroines of French history. We have been known to sip champagne and express how each of us was "moved" by seeing Diane de Poitier's initials entwined with Henry the Second's.

Standing in their private chambers at one of the chateaus on the skirts of Paris it was noted that their romance could be felt by osmosis.My client is the only other person i have ever met that would pause in a room to be able to absorb that feeling and then to be able to bring it to life with words.

As we work, {and working for her is sheer joy} we muse about colors of flowers ,fabrics and menus in the most non linear way,for we are over - excited about the possibilities of this and that. My job is to create an ambiance so that everyones' senses are titilated and that guests can feast with their eyes before ingesting the beauty.

"Living theatre" is all joy and all play while planning the party at hand, with my client who was a French Mistress in a past life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paris was still a world away.

My Grandfather will always be the love of my life. I was raised for most of my first ten years by my paternal Grandparents. Both of my glamorous parents were teenagers when I was born. My mother was not even sixteen:hence, I became my Grandparents project.I owe my very life to them. My Grandmother whose namesake I share, was a violinist and pianist.Although she was strict and demanded perfection, at her core she was a softie. In their household the roles were reversed.

Grandfather marketed and cooked, and Grandmother taught music and played concerts. I used to stand by the sink in the kitchen and watch my Grandfather wash the produce with great care. He had a beautiful garden of Heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, apricot trees, orange, lemon and avacado trees. While he tended his garden I made mud pies and decorated with berries from shrubs, chased butterflies and captured tomatoe worms {which are probably some of the most grotesque things on the planet}.

Grandfather made fresh lemonade and stewed apricots from his trees.I routinely accompanied him to markets and dairies. Every outing felt like a trip to Disneyland.I basked in his loving attention while he spun tales of Derringer and Gary Cooper. On a lucky occasion he would sing Home On the Range in his craggly off key voice. I would insist how perfect he was... and to me, he was. My Grandfather was the richest man in the world.

The pinnacle of my week in those early days was being called for supper on Sundays. I ran to the dining table with glee to be able to eat my Grandfather's pot roast. When he lifted the green enamel lid and the savoury smells wafted, I felt the most loved and secure than at any time in my little life. Sunday suppers would one day become a ritual that I would recreate for my own daughter. When I lift the lids of my pots and pans, it is more than the food that I savour. Grandfather left me his priceless legacy.

Paris was still a world away.