Friday, October 28, 2011

"Don't Worry if It's Not Good Enough . . ."

Sing.  Sing a song.  Sing out loud.  Sing out strong.  Sing of good things, not bad.  Sing of happy, not sad.  Don't worry if it's not good enough, for anyone else to hear, just sing.  Sing a song."

These are lyrics from a Sesame Street LP that I had as a child.  I can still sing pretty much the whole album by memory.  (Other classic hits included Ernie's "Rubber Ducky, You're the One" and the Count's "Bats in the Belfry".)  As a child, I spent numerous hours, lying on the floor with my head next to the speaker of my grandparents' huge record player cabinet.  It had sliding doors on the top.  In the left side was the record player itself, in the right side was storage for the records.  The unit was huge and took up the entire wall that was just inside their front door.  During the holidays my grandmother would decorate the top with something seasonal.  My grandpa sometimes hid our Easter eggs inside it.

In college I sang in two bands, with E.  We wrote our own music most of the time and covered a Black Sabbath song or two.  For my 40th bday last summer, having a Karaoke DJ was a must.  I broke out the Coldplay, which I'd been practicing for a month.  As the night wore on, and the keg grew empty, more and more friends and family let their inner crooners and rockers fly free.

For a few years now, I have been craving to sing on a regular basis.  Not just in the shower or in the car (or full blast in my closet with a pillow over my face to not alarm the neighbors), but with a group of people.  In public. 

I thought about joining the Fallbrook Choir and it may still be an option in the future.  They sing at public, patriotic events and dress in vintage costume for "Scrooge" every year at the local theatre.  But I recently found something that fits my style even more.

I have started singing as an extra with the Hilltop Center for Spiritual Living.  This sweet church is right across the street from our house and about 9 months ago, I decided to go to a service and see what it was all about.  For the first time in my life, I think I may have found a spiritual home.  AND . . . a few months into it, one of their singers moved.  I spoke to the lead musician and one thing led to another . . . and I'm singing.  Out loud.  In front of people.  And I'm smiling.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Night to Remember

I have to tell you about the meal I ate last night.  Actually,  I didn't just eat it, I inhaled it slowly through all my senses.  I actively ate each bite as in the present as I could, feeling the textures and imbibing the scents like few I have before.  No, I'm not on death row.  I was having one of my last meals with a very dear friend of mine, who is moving too far away.  Also, it's the first "regular" meal I've eaten since starting the Dukan Diet on Labor Day.  So after 30 days of eating strictly lean proteins with alternate days of proteins plus veggies (and being down 18 pounds for my diligence), I broke the fast and ate a little chicken dip, had a shot of tequila, some pollo verde enchiladas, rice, beans, cesaer salad and scalloped potatoes.

It was the potatoes that did me in.  I have been fantasizing about my late Grandmother's scallooped potatoes, with the thinly sliced spuds layered with cheese and celery, baked with a milk sauce.  Omg.  Seriously.  I just had to decide to let up on my strict diet and give in to the call.

Let me back up a little.  This wonderful group of friends evolved from a restaurant job in town.  I was hired by a fantastic lady (Ms. Joni) to be her baker.  Next she hired Lora, an amazing chef (and forever sister of mine), then Marshall came along to round us out, with his artistic flair and wonderful sense of humor and compassion.  Unfortunately, these difficult economic times proved tough for our little small-town eatery, but the friendships live on. 

Marshall hails from Colorado and the longing to move back has been a part of him as long as I've known him.  Well, his dreams are coming true and to celebrate he invited a few of us over to cook with him.  I planned on bringing a notebook and taking copious notes from this Master, but I left the notebook in my bag and simply let the night be my teacher.  The sounds of onions caramelizing, the laughter of friends, and the chopping of thyme drew me in. 

Earlier in the day, I made up my mind to enjoy this meal, (taking one serving of each item) because it symbolized too much to let simply slide by because of diet concerns.  I had been "good" after all and will continue to do so until my desired healthy weight is reached.  Much rides on the success of being healthy, not to mention the bags of clothes eagerly awaiting me in my garage, items I used to wear and look forward to again.  On the other hand, I consciously threw myself into this bittersweet evening of friendship, love and potatoes. 

As we sat around the intimate table, enjoying a small glass of wine and a large glass of iced water, I suddently realized that my plate did not have all the necessary items.  "Where are the f***ing potatoes?!?" I blurted.  With mock indignation, Marshall gave me a hard time for my rudeness.  I was assured that they were in the oven for just a few more minutes.  My heartrate steadied back to normal and I patiently awaited the desired dish, although I was quoted throughout the night. 

This evening was imprinted on my memory and soul.  Although we may be miles apart, Marshall will always remain in my heart.  A roadtrip was planned and I pray it comes to fruition.

I will need more potatoes. 
Thanks for listening.