Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tomato Theatre

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Tomatoes - Animated

 

* For anyone unfamiliar with “Jersey Tomatoes,” they are the deepest red, densest, beefiest, most delicious fruits of their kin. Grown only in New Jersey, of course!

 

** For anyone unfamiliar with Hellman’s and Duke’s – Hellman’s is the Blue Ribbon mayonnaise served primarily in the North. Duke’s spread is a cult following in the South. Since I’ve lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, I have my opinion. But, I don’t want to split the divide .  .  .  .

 

***A classic Jersey Diner?

A gleaming silver railcar, or a fading glory, in bondage to asphalt. Serving old school Americana food: burgers, fries, hotdogs, homemade pies .  .  .  steaming hot black coffee. Diner - Fading SilverAmerican DinerOne of the definitions of my childhood!

The Counterfeit

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The midday sun streamed through the sun-porch windows, in a trendy little cafe on the southern edge of Taos, New Mexico.

He stood in line in front of me – as rotund and rosy as the sun itself, his bald head glistening, seemingly a source of its own radiant energy. As he waited for his hummus-avocado salad, and, I for my carrot juice, he turned toward me to make conversation.

“Who is this Susana Martinez and why is she so often pictured on the front page of the newspaper?”

“She’s the governor,” I responded.

“The governor of what state?” he inquired.

“New Mexico. So .  .  . I guess that you don’t live in the area?”

“I moved here last November, but, I don’t pay attention to politics anymore,” he offered in self-defense.

He proceeded to explain to me that he had served for years in military intelligence; that he was trained to program computers and had worked for a high-tech corporation in Michigan; that he had been called by a higher power to move to Taos to build pyramid greenhouses; that his great-grandmother was Cherokee and had marched along the Trail of Tears; that he was preparing to design his beaded medicine shirt and bag; that he was living in a solar house on the edge of town and was about to host a gathering of Cherokee medicine people.

He wore a beaded neckpiece that accentuated the bulk of his Buddha-like body.

It contained claws and fangs and teeth of several unidentifiable animals. Claws - Two Illustrated + Crystal I wanted to stare at it and determine its origins, but, it frightened me.

I looked away, the claws scratching at my memory, and, wondered just how many animals had sacrificed their various powers to enhance his soul.

Orotund of speech

Rotund of body

Obscenely voluptuous of embellishment .  .  .

.  .  . he conjured up images of a counterfeit trinity.

He followed me to the register and continued pontificating about pyramids; their powers; his travels around Egypt, around the world; his spiritual need to learn bead weaving so that he could complete his shirt and bag. Medicine Pouch I told him I was a bead artist.

He bought a loom in Michigan. Would I teach him to weave?

What kind of leather should he buy?

How should the beadwork be applied?

And then, like a grace note in the conversation: “Oh, by the way, I like your gentle spirit.”

Damn. How many times have I heard this comment?

How many times have I seen this pleading loneliness in the eyes grabbing mine?

How many times have I felt this clinging desperation in the handshake? The desire to hold on, the urge to fall to the knees in reverent worship?

He continued his staccato speech, to speak of his ancestors, and I became confused. My ancestors orphaned me at a young age.

I don’t understand this consuming passion to look backward for self-identity. Why this need to beg/steal/borrow from others when we each have all we need within .  .  . right here and now.

I am mystified by the complications when it is really so simple.

We exchanged business cards. I agreed to teach him how to weave beads; he hungrily accepted the offer to engage in the sacred process.

What shall I tell him when he calls?

Will I try to explain that the creator gave us silica, and, through its molten state glass can vitrified and cut and shaped and colored into small seed beads, and, that by stringing them onto lengths of nylon thread, they can be woven:

line by line

bead by bead

onto a nylon warp that resembles the strings of a harp. It’s music really:

one note

one bead

a composition of sound

a composition of images

developing on a basic gridwork .  .  .

it’s tedious

it’s simple

it’s humble work

It requires: Patience, diligence and heartfelt dedication

But:

it’s not magic

it’s not complicated

it’s a gift

that we can receive when we open ourselves up. When we be receivers, we can transmit the gift .  .  .

it’s a simple act

it’s a humble act of surrender

its potential

lies within each of us.

Why look elsewhere?

Why complicate the process?

Why create confusion and mystery and darkness?

Why reverence the objects? The artists?

Why steal when it’s free?

It really is just a simple act of grace, but, how shall I tell him?

The Grind

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Mocha Muse has its very own newspaper, The Grind. It may contain a quote, a poem, song lyrics, snippets of overheard conversation or fascinating facts about creativity/life. So, leather sofa in Home Interiorsnuggle into the sofa, unfold the paper and reach for your morning cup of coffee.

 

Here’s the seventeenth issue. . . just click on newspaper to enlarge, then continue to click until text is readable for you!

The Grind - (7-27-2015) Hangman's Noose=Creativity

*Reference:“Necklace”

Whimsical, Wizardly Wisdom

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Wizard Text

 

I’m no wizard. Just a fledgling and an aging poet sometimes inspired by a whimsical inner wizard .  .  .  .

 

Crustose lichen

 

Rock Stillness

The carnival days of youth

No future but the present.

Joyriding in open-hooded cars

Convertibles of two-toned pastels

with vanilla leather seats

Colors young and soft and innocent

no longer mine.

Now I choose deep, bold colors

colors with saturation of wisdom

and experience

and longevity.

But how I long sometimes

for those convertible days

those rapidly shifting ways of being.

I’m rock stillness now

I dress in moss-feathered fur coats

and wear lichen-splattered jewels.

The archival grace of aging.

Drive-in Churches and Rogue Religion

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Theatre Marquee (2)

My father’s antidote to his mother’s church-going religiosity was delay.

Every summer, my family spent several weeks with my paternal grandparents in Clearwater, Florida. And every Sunday morning, my grandmother, Nana, insisted upon church attendance.

After breakfast, the six of us competed for two bathrooms. My father always graciously volunteered to be last, allowing the rest of us, especially us women, enough time to adorn ourselves in summer frocks with matching hats and gloves and shoes. Meanwhile the men sought coolness with a wrinkle in summer-weight suits of light linen or seersucker. My grandfather, Papa Schumacher, accessorized with his signature fashion statement: a bolo tie bearing a porcelain scene of The Sunshine State.

Once dressed, the five of us filed out to the garage, as my father inevitably had to return to the house to use the commode. Nana became impatient at this weekly announcement and ushered us quickly into the car.

Nana didn’t drive, so Papa S. did the car purchasing. This one was a rare find. It seems that one year, around 1960, Dodge decided to give Cadillac a little rivalry. They produced an elongated Dart with tail fins that ended with a tiny pair of lights that looked like grace notes.

The head lights were hooded like a pair of eyelashes.

The body paint was pale pink:  vintage sun-bleached flamingo.

The interior was fabric: a Scottish plaid of bold reds and black; accents of yellow and green dotted throughout.

I capriciously liked to think that this plaid was a nod to Nana’s ancestry and swayed Papa S.’s decision. Dad disagreed. He didn’t believe in romance. He just scornfully nicknamed it “The Pink Panther.”

My father never could quite get over this Detroit delicacy, but with a smirk and a shake of his head, he obliged to taxi us five passengers around town during summer vacations.

Sunday church was no exception. After we heard the toilet flush a second time, Dad would emerge, ceremoniously open the door, dust his lapels, re-fold his handkerchief and take a seat behind the steering wheel. He would wipe the leather-covered wheel with the freshly-washed white handkerchief, pat his prematurely perspiring brow and then shift the gear column into reverse.

Dad always lost his heavy foot on Sundays. He drove with the dedication of one searching to avoid any possible roadway calamity. Nana began to fidget. My father’s pace slowed. She opened a paper fan printed with tropical flowers and began to wave it furiously back and forth in front of her powdered, moon-pie face.

A leisurely fifteen minutes passed. Somewhere across town, the church building never failed to sneak-up and surprise me. We seemed to approach its parking lot catty-cornered from some intersection and suddenly it appeared like a mound of ice cream on the waffle cone horizon…mint green stucco, soft yet bold in the morning light.  Lushly landscaped with bougainvillea, hydrangea, birds-of-paradise and other semi-tropical flowers. Its lawn was so green it glistened even in the shade of the coconut palm trees.

Every year I scanned the property for a flock of plastic flamingos to complete this Floridian Art Deco scene. I was always disappointed. As was Nana.

We always arrived late and most often, too late to get an indoor seat.

My father’s secret genius: I am certain that he was delighted each time the parking attendant directed us to the overflow lot where another attendant placed a dented metal microphone box on the driver’s half-open window, and, handed us six paper fans.

Once again, Neal succeeded in avoiding the church. He confined us to drive-in church, which my brother and I greatly preferred. We could giggle and poke each other with the wooden sticks of our fans, as the adults struggled to grasp the message traveling through crackling static.

I don’t know who invented drive-in churches or why, but drive-in churching was almost as fun as going to drive-in movies – minus the pajamas, pillows, and blankets.

Nana never found the fun in it, though. She was visibly annoyed during the hour of automobile religion. She wanted us to believe, but instead, she only maintained her perfect church attendance record in some rogue reality of her son’s design.

But what was her greatest regret?

I’m thinking it’s that she missed the après-service coffee hour. After all, what’s more enticing than a java jolt and some holy gossip?

 

The Grind

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Mocha Muse has its very own newspaper, The Grind. It may contain a quote, a poem, song lyrics, snippets of overheard conversation or fascinating facts about creativity/life. So, leather sofa in Home Interiorsnuggle into the sofa, unfold the paper and reach for your morning cup of coffee.

 

 

 

Here’s the sixteenth issue. . . just click on newspaper to enlarge, then continue to click until text is readable for you!

 

The Grind - (7-20-2015) Make Space For Creativity

 

*References: Light and Sound Teachings & UberFacts

 

 

Java Jolt – Encore Presentation

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Billboard - Clines Corners, NM

Why Coffee Shops Boost Brainpower

(Hint: It’s not the caffeine.)

When you visit your neighborhood coffee shop to jump-start your brain, the jolt isn’t just from the java. Turns out it’s the noise! A study in the Journal of Consumer Research tested participants at 50 decibels, which was a bit too quiet; 85 decibels, too noisy; and 70 decibels – the gentle buzz experienced at a hot-beverage purveyor – is just right. The results confirm what many creatives, freelancers and home-based workers have long experienced: Exiting your normal routine is a better way to juice up your creativity and productivity than hunkering down all by your lonesome and trying to power through a problem.

— Mary Vinnedge  Success magazine

This piece was originally posted when I launched the blog in April 2015. I want to encore it because a generous reader introduced me to a website that offers ambient noise from coffee shops, which endorses for the results of the study cited.

Take a ride on the noise machine and see if it generates some caffeine-free creativity! Or just sidles up as your companion while browsing through Mocha Muse.

If you wish to play the coffee shop sounds anytime you visit, go the Home page: “Welcome to Mocha Muse Coffee Shop!” In the last paragraph, click on the link “ambient enhancer.” You’ll have to control the decibel level, but, see if you can create the right buzz for reading and/or writing. And please let me know how it works for you!

With very special mocha thanks, and, a frothy heart on top to: Tom Rains!!!