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Category: Cocktail Series

Friday Musings: Tap Root

Friday Musings: Tap Root

I have always found gardening to be one of life’s most rewarding pursuits. I was introduced to it at a very young age, growing up first in the city of Camden where everyone had gardens in the open area that led to the Delaware River behind our row homes, and then later in the suburban town we moved to when I was six. My parents were fortunate to again have an empty field at the back of their property that my father quickly transformed into a huge garden. My own gardens that I grew as an adult were much smaller in scale, but they still seemed to produce a bumper crop every year. My dad and I differed in our ways of doing things. I like raised beds, and he preferred gardens that stepped down. He saw no use for flowers among the vegetables, and I liked to intermix the two, sometimes even according to color. He’d reach for the strongest spray in his lean-to behind the garage at the first sign of pests or fungus, and I preferred organic methods that made him laugh. I felt very close to him when we talked about ideas for planting, or when I consulted him for help. By the time I was growing things of my own, he’d given up his own garden and enjoyed spending time in mine as a result. HIs parents were gardeners too, as were my mom’s parents, so there was also the feeling that we were continuing a tradition that had started many years ago. I share that same sense of connection with my son, Zachary, who also loves to garden, and I’m pleased to say that my daughter, Wendy, has also taken up the practice in the last few years. It definitely feels like something that runs in the family in a very deep way.

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Friday Musings: Virtuoso

Friday Musings: Virtuoso

As some of you may recall, I am a huge fan of the 2018 movie Call Me By Your Name and actually wrote a post about it back in March of 2018 that was entitled I Remember Everything, arguably the film’s most well-known line. A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of the book, which I’d had on my reading list since I’d seen the movie. How I wish I’d read it sooner. It was fabulous! One of the issues I often have with movies that are based on books written in the first person is that we tend to lack the information we need to fully understand the emotional depth of their stories. In the movie Call Me By Your Name, we are given glimpses into what Elio is feeling, but only through hesitant dialogue and yearning looks. For example, there is a part early on in the film when Elio plays a song on the guitar that catches Oliver’s attention. Oliver wants him to play it again, and Elio eventually obliges, but he does so on the piano, making it sound very different. It’s not what Oliver was hoping for. There’s an exasperated exchange between the two characters, and eventually Elio plays what Oliver wants to hear. The relevance of this scene is hard to understand in the movie, but in the book, it becomes a moment that is highly portentous. The back-and-forth between the two characters happens in much the same way, but later that night when Elio is writing in his diary, we learn how much he is struggling with understanding Oliver’s moods, which range from ice to sunshine, and the extent to which he finds his own equally inscrutable. He concludes the entry by saying, “We are not written for one instrument alone; I am not, neither are you.”

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Friday Musings: Moon Cycle

Friday Musings: Moon Cycle

Two days ago the biggest super moon of 2022 graced us with its fullness. This particular July spectacle is called the Buck Moon because it coincides with the point in summer when the antlers of male deer have reached their largest size. As many of you know, every moon also has a symbolic interpretation that’s closely tied to the name assigned to it by The Farmer’s Almanac. Sometimes these meanings are a bit obscure, or their correlation is very broad, but that’s not the case with this moon. We can grasp its signification fairly easily, and we quickly understand that it’s all about channeling our own potential for growth while recognizing what might be standing in our way. The energy of any full moon, in general, is always about releasing that which does not serve us. This particular full moon pushes us to let go of the impediments that are preventing us from taking the next steps on our journey, the ones that will challenge us to grow and become what we’re meant to be. Does this all sound a bit over the top to you? It should. Full moons are loaded with drama, especially those that are incredibly big like this one. Not only do super moons outshine other full moons in terms of clarity and brightness, but they also score higher on the energy and impact scale as well.

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Friday Musings: B-sides and Rarities

Friday Musings: B-sides and Rarities

I recently spent a day in Burlington City that climbed all the way to the top of the perfect scale: the company of my favorite person, lattes from Evermore Coffee Roasters, a late lunch at the Union House, and a marathon browse session at the Burlington Antiques Emporium. As you can imagine, I am always on the hunt for really cool glassware, dishes, or other accompaniments for my cocktail photos. As I meandered past a booth packed with old vinyl, there was a stack of 45s, or singles, depending on which terminology you prefer, that stopped me in my tracks. I was immediately taken over by my 11-year-old self and transported back to the record department of Woolworths in 1972, trying to decide which recent radio hit deserved my hard earned three dollars. Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, it was probably the decidedly awful Alone Again (Naturally) by Gilbert O’Sullivan that ended up being the winner. But this was how we purchased 45s back then. We were focused only on the hit songs and rarely paid attention to what we’d hear if we flipped the record over. It didn’t matter. For the most part, we fell right in line with the record companies’ intentions. We were pulled in by the A-side, or the one that received the most airtime on the radio and thus generated the most sales, and we never gave much thought to anything else. The B-side was usually a song that was not expected to ever be a hit for a multitude of reasons, most having nothing to do with quality, and there are many examples of those that became exceptions. One of the most notable is God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, which just happens to be the B-side that surpassed Wouldn’t It Be Nice? in popularity. As time went on, vinyl fell out of fashion and was replaced by CDs, which had no B-sides, of course, and eventually the term became more about the rarity of particular songs rather than where they were placed on a record. In fact, many artists began releasing entire albums that were filled with new or unusual material. In this way, B-sides allowed us to discover fresh music from our favorite bands, even the ones that weren’t playing together anymore, and they attained a new level of music geek coolness.

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Friday Musings: Love Storm

Friday Musings: Love Storm

Valentine’s Day is on Monday, and so I confess that I may have spent a minute or two reading love poems over the course of the past week. Research is, after all, a required activity for someone who blogs. I came across a poem by David Whyte called The Truelove that I’d never seen before. It made me think about the movie, The Perfect Storm, which may sound a bit odd to you, but I promise that I’m going somewhere with this. There is a certain scene that happens midway through the film when Captain Billy Tyne brings his crew up on deck and has them look across the ocean so they know what lies ahead of them. We see it too. It is my favorite moment because the look on their faces perfectly captures everything they would have been feeling: fear, awe, the sense of inevitability, the subsequent resignation. There is no way out; the only thing they can do is push on and face what is about to happen. On a smaller scale, we’ve all experienced similar instances. How many of you have stepped outside to take down the patio umbrella, ahead of a thunderstorm, and stolen a glance at the sky just to see it coming? I know that I have. What is it that we feel when we look up? Power and raw energy, for sure, but there is definitely more. For just a split second, we feel alive, really and truly alive. We are ready for the storm to unleash its power because we are certain that we can withstand it. The first flash of lightening may send us tearing back into the house and straight towards the basement, but for that instant we believe we are invincible.

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