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Cocktail Musings: A Certain House Revisited

Cocktail Musings: A Certain House Revisited

In my last post, I mentioned that it was the start of Pisces season, a sign that happens to occupy the place in my personal birth chart that helps me to understand the feeling of being home, and so I have found myself preoccupied with these ideas throughout this past week. Many of us move multiple times over the course of our lives and, as a result, we often understand the idea of home as being related to a particular house at a certain stage of our lives. Each time we move, it’s not exactly as though we’re starting over, although we sometimes say that, but more that we are adding on another layer to a base that is already rich with experience. When I think of my childhood houses, I recognize how foundational they were for my understanding of home, especially in terms of teaching me certain things that I wanted to carry forward, as well as others that I knew I had to leave behind. When I consider the two homes that I attempted to bring into being for my own family, first when they were young and then again later after my parents had died, I know that I did both well in many ways, but missed the mark in others. I am certain that these opposites are playing out in the homes my children are currently creating. I radically changed my own concept of home just over six years ago when I ventured out alone for the first time ever, not to start over but to make a necessary change that filled me with a combination of terror, sadness, and hope, often in unequal parts. Over time, I learned that it was possible to keep many of the things that mattered so much to me and still take my life in a direction that was different, so long as I remained fundamentally who I had always been. What couldn’t quite remain intact, however, was the idea of home that I had created for my children. I had toppled that, and because I was well aware of the pain that I had caused, I have tried to rebuild on our original foundation, albeit in ways that were small and very different. In my case, home could not yet be found in a house, but I have longed for the day when I could provide that sense again.

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Friday Musings: The Moon in Me

Friday Musings: The Moon in Me

Earlier this week, my wonderful, wonderful cousin Nancy, who has always been like the sister I never had in so many ways, sent me this quote by Rumi: “There is a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it.” Now, I have written quite a few posts about the moon during the lifetime of this blog; the most recent one entitled Moon Cycle was back in July of this year. It remains my favorite. In it, I talk a lot about the difficulty we can have in trusting the things we see by the light of the moon because they are shadowy and obscure, and we often end up second guessing their reality. Additionally, if we are afraid of the dark, like yours truly, being outside at night can bring on quite a bit of anxiety. To get past these feelings of uncertainty or fear, we have to learn to listen to our intuition, and meeting this requirement gives us one of the moon’s greatest gifts. Because the moon has always been the earth’s only satellite and therefore the most observable celestial object in the sky, ancient astrologers correlated its changing phases and constant movement with both our physical bodies and our deepest emotions. While modern astrology favors the emotional component a bit more heavily, both sides agree that the moon’s reflective quality, as it relates to the sun, symbolizes the means by which we come to understand and interact with the world. When viewed in this way, the moon becomes our interpreter, our transmitter, and our guide.

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Friday Musings: Back to Black

Friday Musings: Back to Black

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, yesterday brought the autumnal equinox, or the beginning of the fall season. The literal translation of the word equinox comes from the Latin aequi, which means equal, and nox, which means night. During the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, there are as many hours of light as there are of darkness. One of the great gifts of the summer season is the how long the days feel, despite the fact that they actually begin shortening right after the summer solstice in the third week in June. That never seems to register with us, or if it does, we pretend that it doesn’t matter. We begin mourning the shortening days right around now, at the calendar start of fall, when we perceive that it’s finally time to let go of the light. And yet, there is some cause for celebration as well. We look forward to cooler temperatures that call for boots and sweaters. We anticipate the leaves changing in their spectacular display, and we’re ready for the first smell of woodsmoke in the air. We try not to think about the darkness of the months ahead, but we feel a certain heaviness coming for us, and maybe something else that’s akin to fear. It’s possible that some of this stems from our collective remembrance of earlier times when we had no electricity, heat, or grocery stores, and the darkness and cold that arrived with fall were reasons to be afraid indeed. Winter was just around the corner, and although it’s hard to imagine from our comfortable place in this modern world of warmth, light, and Netflix, survival wasn’t always guaranteed. In any case, the rhythm of this seasonal change still resonates deep inside us, and the official turn from summer to fall can definitely invoke a sense of sadness or apprehension.

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Friday Musings: All My Best Intentions

Friday Musings: All My Best Intentions

Since this upcoming Sunday is Mother’s day, I wanted to write today’s Friday Musing with the holiday in mind, which prompted me to remember a post that I wrote back in January of 2017 about The Joy Luck Club. In it, I talked about the fact that I had recently streamed the movie for the upteenth time, and how rewatching it led me to take Amy Tan’s novel off my bookshelf, as it always does, to once again read the┬ástory that’s told at the very beginning. It’s about a woman who buys a swan from a┬ámarket vendor who tells her that the bird was once a duck that wanted to be a goose, but its neck stretched so much that it became a swan instead. The woman brings the swan to America with her, hoping to one day give it to her daughter so that she will know that her life holds limitless possibilities in this new country. She could be anything that she dreamed of becoming. The swan is taken away from her by immigration officials, leaving just one feather behind. The woman waits to give her daughter the feather because she wants her English to be perfect. Only then will she be able to say, “This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions.”

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Friday Musings: Limited Potential

Friday Musings: Limited Potential

The idea of creativity is one that I think about quite often, although I don’t necessarily agree that it means having the ability to bring something into existence, as it is defined by the Oxford American Dictionary. To me, this interpretation implies that creativity comes from nothingness, but I tend to see it more as a passionate reordering of the raw material we’ve been given in such a way that something new emerges. This reordering is totally governed by our imagination. I will concede that this way of thinking may be one hundred percent related to the kind of work I do. What is the exercise of making cocktails, after all, if not exactly that? I take ingredients and think about them (rather passionately, I might add) in terms of flavor partnerships or symbolism, depending on whether my motive is to simply make an appealing drink, or to design one that represents something on a much deeper level. Either way, the individual parts sit in front of me until I reorganize them into a cohesive whole. From a collection of citrus, sugar, water, herbs, spices, and spirits, a cocktail is born, standing up on its wobbly legs, ready to take on the world. A similar thing happens with the posts I write on this blog. Ideas move around in my head, unformed, until I gather them together and give them a structure built from words. In both cases, I find the process to be immensely satisfying, and when the final version of a drink is poured or a post is written, there is a moment that always feels deeply moving and profound.

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