Spontaneous Homage N0. 3

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The purity of ingredients; the fine, laser-like focus of flavors; the dense, high-butterfat creaminess;  the supreme elegance of an all-natural composition that eschews fillers and stabilizers; the wisdom in producing a pistachio ice cream that is chock-full of pistachios (necessary in an ice-cream where the nut itself is the main flavorant) and a sesame brittle ice cream that takes a reined-in approach with the candy;  the consistency of quality, decade after decade, and the consistency in maintaining an impeccable style (this brand has resisted the gotta-lotta-candied-junk-in-the-trunk approach that seems to be the norm in almost anything anymore; for decades, it has produced ice-cream that is refined in the sense that it focuses on a very small list of ingredients, yet while keeping this signature approach, it is a brand that has a boutique-like hipness about it, achieved by being innovative in smart ways – most recently, through the addition of its “destination series” of ice creams which feature flavors inspired by the decidedly global and cosmopolitan times we are living in). So yeah! For all of that, and for keeping old-fashioned flavors like rum-raisin, strawberry, and butter pecan going strong all these years while making way for new flavors like mango, I’m raising my silver spoon to you, Haagen-Dazs.

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All images are from the Haagen-Dazs website. (I’m not affiliated with the company, btw, just a very happy consumer.) 🙂

Spontaneous Homage No. 2

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Image source: the Saskatchewan website SaskTel.com

The wind grazing my cheek, lifting my hair, and something more: an intimate awareness of everything I am moving through — air, weather, distance, scenery, elevation, and the path beneath my feet -– every point of connection and all of it changing from mile to mile; the way it quiets my mind, whether I’m coasting along easily on autopilot or whether (more often than not) I’m focusing on keeping myself going until I reach my goal; the amazing way it constantly challenges me (it never gets easy) and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of any run, even the slow run where I had to slog my way through the discomfort of aching joints and tired muscles; the feeling of being connected to the seasons of nature -– to the northeast’s dramatic change-ups between winter, spring, summer and fall;  the go-anywhere adaptability of it, which requires no venue other than access to an open path, or barring that, a treadmill; the low-maintenance cost of it in terms of dollars, because the largest purchase it requires is for running shoes; the way it keeps my blood pressure low and my weight down (comparatively), and how it has been a part of my life from my late teens until now, my fifties; and most important of all, the intense way it connects me to scenery –- not only to the broad view but the detailed view of the bumps, bends and twists in the road – making me feel like I’ve been somewhere, on a jaunt or a journey, every time I do it, such that this isn’t exercise, it’s a liberation of sorts, and the cause, celebration and reason for this, my spontaneous homage to Running.

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Image source: photo by Jay Black for Outside.online.com

 

Spontaneous Homage No. 1

The surprise of them when they show up in your mailbox each month, a bright spot amid the pile of junk mail and bills ● The delight of them when you have an hour to while away at Barnes & Noble and they are lined up in their glossy covers, sorted by category, along an entire wall: the artsy, the seriously newsy, the celebrity trashy (ripe with gossip) and the celebrity chic (slick to the nth degree, every picture, every word) ● The knowing-just-what-you’re-going-to-get quality about them that is more than appealing on a day when your tastes are specific or time is at a premium ● The way the sheen of the paper makes the photos pop and the words come alive ● The lusts they inspire – for things as small as the perfect lipstick and as large as a private yacht – and the lusts they fulfill (to see the woman beautifully naked, the man handsomely attired, the way to make a croquembouche, the schematics for installing an automatic irrigation system in your greenhouse) ● The easy way they fold over at the spine so you can keep your page as you get up to fetch a second cup of coffee ● The equally easy way their pages tear out when you  want to save them in a file for later reference or tack one onto your refrigerator door for inspiration ● The way they are cheaper (far cheaper) by the dozen when you subscribe to them, and how they seem like a sweet indulgence (sweet because you haven’t gone overboard) when you pay a more princely sum at the newsstand because one has caught your eye (which they are rather good at doing – that is their strength, but also, that is to your advantage: how many things that catch your eye can you pick up so easily – no trying on for size, like clothes; no hangover effects and excess calories, like booze or food? No etc, etc, etc … I could go on but will stop now, in this, my little homage to the magazine).

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