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Friday, February 24, 2012


It's a gorgeous day out there and appropriate for February!  Trying to put together last minute plans for tonight.  Hoping friends Josh and Ryan will go to Schaller's with me.  They are amazingly fun to be with.  Weird, unscripted, brilliant, talented, edgy, unfiltered, neurotic (just like me).  I adore them.  They just bought a house in Garfield Park which is a neighborhood not for the faint of heart.  Josh is a prairie gardener which is going to be a challenge in an urban setting.   He also doesn't want the landscaping to be ostentatious and scream "wealth", so it will be really fun to see how he structures the gardens so that from a distance they seem like nothing but on closer examination their exquisiteness is revealed.   I joked that he should plant a wall of thorn hedges around the property (just like in Sleeping Beauty) and only if you make your way into the inner sanctum will you see the beauty.

Pleasure.  It's been on my mind today.  This afternoon I will have a session with my masseuse who I've worked with for years.  We will drink tea, catch up on each others' lives and then I will be touched.  If you are in a relationship you may have forgotten what it's like to go for swaths of time with no human touch except the occasional hug from a friend.  The most intimacy I get these days is from Obi.  He is a warmth stealer so on chilly days I take pity on him and as I read or nap in my chair, he curls up under my shirt right against my skin.  Fur on skin, interspecial intimacy.  Maybe I'm the warmth stealer.

As I sat with my coffee today and looked out at the winter wonderland I realized how each day offers so many pleasures.  Pleasures that are easy to overlook or take for granted.  I thought of the night before and how I came home chilly and got into a warm tub filled with bath salts called "Heartsong".  An indulgence of mine are the little packets of bath salts at Whole Foods with names like, "Euphoria", "Inspiration", "Tranquility", etc.  I buy them eight at a time and I spread them in the front of my lingerie drawer.  As I draw my bath, I open the drawer and ponder what mood I want to be in.  Last night it was Heartsong.  That and the lavender bubble bath that I also add to the water makes for true pleasure.   And before I get into the bath,  I make sure the heat is turned down to 60, the covers pulled back, my teeth brushed and all the lights in the house extinguished.  That way, when the bath is done, there is nothing between me and my cozy bed.  When I wake up in the morning, the house is cold and I am incredibly comfortable entwined in my perfect down comforter.  I love waking in the morning like that, looking out at the mammoth elm tree outside my window.  Pleasure again.

And my coffee sipped in reverie in a quiet house - pure bliss.  These pleasures, they are so simple but the good stuff of life - where joy lies.  It seems I'm guilty of glossing over them and trying to amass bigger and better pleasures - higher octane pleasure, turn up the volume pleasure.  There is an acquisitiveness to it, yes?  Reminds of me of when I discovered quince.  I had a recipe for a Christmas jam I wanted to make.  It called for quince.  I didn't know what a quince was.   I researched it and then started to panic when I couldn't find them anywhere.  Not to be denied, I searched high and low in Chicago and on the 12th page of a Google search I found referenced a backyard orchard club and the organizer talked about the quince tree in his back yard.  I contacted him, scheming how I could get some of his quince for my jam.  We met, he gave me a few.  It wouldn't do.  More research.  I found quince sold wholesale in Carpentersville.  By that time I had quince fever.  I sent Steve to pick them up.  I first ordered a case of them, then changed my order to four cases.  Steve arrived back home with hundreds of quince.  I made the jam and hated it.  Vile.  And yet I still wanted to own every single quince in the world at that moment.  I had fallen in love with them and wanted them all.  That fall, I made everything quince:  quince cake, savory pork and quince stew, quince/apple pie, and tons and tons of quince marmalade.

Over the top, right?  Take a simple pleasure and get greedy.   Last week a benefit for my friend Spider's one woman show in the home of wealthy friends of hers.  They have a beautiful brownstone in the city.  I walked from room to room in their home and my senses were saturated by all their collectibles.  It was too much to take in, in one viewing.  Every inch covered in expensiveness, every surface exquisite, every wall crammed with beautiful things.  Acquisitiveness on steroids.   I asked one of the hosts if they were done collecting and was told, "we will never be done".  I then asked him where he spent his time in the house - where amongst all the luxury did he find peace.  I expected him to mention a sweet simple corner tucked away in a sunny, sleepy spot.  I was so sad at his answer.  He said, "There is no place in the house I feel comfortable except in my bed under the covers."  Wow.

Anyway, today I ramble.  Gotta run.  The challenge today is, of course, thinking about your simple pleasures and appreciating them, really appreciating them.  We probably don't need more.  I certainly don't need to own all the quince in North America.  Thinking we just need to slow down and appreciate what we have.  Think when I get home I'll crack open that chocolate mint tea I have.  Mmmmmmm...


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