Mmmmmm, navy strength! Swashbuckling and romantic.
Coincidences (aka Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades, aka signs of Forming)
Perhaps you think, as I do, that Anna Wintour's Vogue is the least temperate of the American Vogues. (Grace Mirabella wasn't half so breathless. Diana Vreeland the woman: dramatic. Her magazine? I remember reading it without fanning myself.) As measured and cool as Anna the Woman is, I find her magazine that delirious. For example, see treatment of any politician ever.
What we are doing here:
Dwelling in mystery.
Luxuriating in pleasure.
Seeking the hot tracks.
Glorying in the pageantry and spectacle of the phenomenal world, and gracefully negotiating the contradiction between revelry and spirituality. (If there is one.)
And: asking What else might be possible?
Or oh, say, cosmetics, which they discuss with excitement I would reserve for an AIDS cure or a new Austin Grossman novel. Vogue will pronounce, in all seriousness, things like 'probably the best cleanser in the world' as if they believe it.
(Have you noticed this? Yes.)
However! When I went to get my Tote of Receiving with its new red-and-yellow initials, insanely eye-popping, I don't know how I can leave the house with it (but Imma try), I got a Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrade of said cleanser, Eve Lom by name, in the form of several samples, and I will tell you it probably is the best cleanser in the world. You might want to go seek out samples yourself.
After that experience, I decided to start using other samples. You can hardly move in my bathroom for all the free samples there, actually. Didn't want to use them; didn't want to throw them out. Suddenly, they have become a luxury worthy of Vogue-style ecstasy.
I think this is probably a key to enjoying more Spontaneous Unsolicited Upgrades: appreciating and using up the ones you get. Emptying out to receive more. Even the little sample-size upgrades.
Speaking of Havi (emptying and receiving), she has been mentioning the idea of the training montage recently. You know what they always leave out of the training montage? The long recuperations from the training injuries. That is what happened to me in Maine this past week, when the first day out I had an inglorious paddleboarding accident and spent the rest of the week with my knee up on a pillow, watching Elementary <<<<-- the unexpected upgrade part, thoroughly glorious OMG I LOVE LUCY LIU AND JONNY LEE MILLER SO MUCH.
But also in that one afternoon before the inglorious accident, I made glorious, glorious, astounding leaps. Like in a real Hollywood training montage.
In the department of OMG could it be more obvious?!, I appear to have understood, finally, that Job No. 1 this incarnation is to care, as my Zen teacher would say, for this incarnation. Obviously I knew something about that before. It is what I live to teach. And yet.
While in Maine, I had a distressing and very simple dream. Someone approached me at a party and asked me a single-word question. I responded with a single word. And that was the whole dream. It was dead easy to analyze and it was telling me that I was falling apart from lack of self care. The dream's message was "your self care needs to be ferocious." Not uncompromising at all times, not "nobody else gets nuthin!", just ... no more confusion about priorities.
So I've been thinking about this as navy-strength self care, "navy strength" being the quality of gunpowder that will still light if you get rocked by a rogue wave and spill your gin on it. Nowadays the term refers more to the strength of gin (strong!) than gunpowder, but I like the original definition. Like, this is how strong you would want to be if you were going on a sea voyage and your inner fire could possibly get misted. You want to be navy-strength strong.
Obviously, it's related to provisioning, to mantles, and to Operation Passport.
(And to Operation Higher Ground, which is about figuring out where we want to live, when all we know is it can't be landlocked.)
It also has the quality of being the Most Ordinary Thing in the World. It is a question I am asking all day, every day now. What does ferocity of self care look like? What would navy-strength self care do (WWNSSCD)?
Turns out yoga is involved. Turns out that shit that is not fun is NOT INVOLVED.
Updates on past experiments
I got a really unpleasant email this week. Instead of making the sender into the Great Satan and wondering what I had done to provoke her, I made an entry on my Pride, cha cha cha! list when I calmly revived Operation Johanna Mason, and put all future such emails on the kill list. No need to explain. No need to respond. Definitely no need to wait for three strikes. Just, WWNSSCD?
Simple: 86 that shit, forever. So easy. No need to fry down any villages, either.
Destination: Date night
What has happened? Mr Jones and I went to Primo, in Rockland, Maine, which is harder than ever to get into on account of all their recent James Beard awards. As we approached the door, we saw into one of the smaller dining rooms, one we'd never been in. It was hung all around with Igor Galanin paintings of mermaids. Each of us thought, privately to ourselves, Oh I hope we get seated in there! And we were, under the best of the mermaids.
We also went back to Suzuki's, home of Old Ladies Still Killin it in the Sushi Business. Mr Jones had a beautiful bowl of scallop cakes and jewel-like vegetables that made me vow to pick up my Everyday Harumi again.
- Alden & Harlow
- Alinea (Chicago)
- Area Four
- Battersby (Brooklyn)
- Beast (Portland)
- Bondir Concord
- Coppa (for brunch)
- Franny's (Brooklyn)
Kirkland Tap & Trotter
- Myers & Chang
- No. 9 Park
- Pok Pok Noi (Portland)
- Puritan & Co. (for brunch)
- Roberta's (Brooklyn)
- West Bridge
Then there is a short list of places I shall not soon tire of, and always want to go back to:
- B&G Oysters
- Brick and Mortar
- Miracle of Science
That should keep us busy for a while, but please feel free to suggest additions.
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