January 5, 2013 § 8 Comments
Putting away all the holiday decorations should go quickly.
Yes, many decoration are still up because we traditionally wait ’til Little Christmas.
Most things have been moved to one table to next be tissue-wrapped and put back into the Christmas boxes.
One by one, surfaces are cleared and returned to Pottery Barn-type minimalism. (No, we do not have Pottery Barn decor. We’re still on the “this-and-that” plan – we like this and we like that, including old pieces from our families.)
But I’m leaving the greenery (not pictured) along the back fence. The critters like it, and so do I when I’m in the kitchen and look out into the back yard.
Below, before and after on the piano.
But the “after” is gonna get even more uncluttered. (You know what I mean; it’s something about this time of year. Form and Function, those things combining both, are put at the top of the list and remain, while anything considered “clutter” gets relegated to a closet…or a waste bin.)
December 4, 2010 § 16 Comments
There is still a great deal of decorating to be done, mostly because the household loves Christmas, loves living in the midst of it, the green, the gold, the red, the reindeer, the Christmas trees, the angels, the creche, the fire in the hearth.
But tonight, having written a few cards and strung lights on the balcony and enjoyed a long lunch at a cantina after a week of full tilt corporate projects and really early mornings alone in the kitchen, writing, writing, writing ’til the freelance piece was handed in yesterday, tonight I’m recharging, writing notes to old friends and just saying “hey” out there in Blogworld.
One of the bookshelves in my office just fell apart as I tried to move it just a little to center it under a painting. Fell. Completely. Apart.
Annoyed I have sworn not to ever buy one of those DIY things again. It’s already out back by the garbage can. And every book on it is stacked in one of three giant stacks agains the wall where the shelf was. What’s my point? I can’t think of a book at the moment. I can’t think of one that should join this stack. Surely by morning, my bookshelf-failure-and-concomitant-mess- annoyance will have dissipated. I am somewhat concerned that this is a sign that I shouldn’t have anymore books. Til I’ve read all the ones I have. That can’t be, can it?
OK, ok, who are we kidding here? But I’m going to go a little off track and rather than a book, mention a magazine.
Martha Stewart’s LIVING December 2010 issue.
Just got it yesterday to celebrate being out at lunch with a writer friend.
Will I do any of the recipes within?
Will I set the table just so, copying the pages?
Maybe, maybe not.
But a holiday magazine is a powerful indulgence and I recommend it, whether you’re an Art, a Lifestyle, a Crafts, a Lit or a Hollywood magazine lover, this is the month to have one; they’re all glitzy and decked out.
March 16, 2010 § 11 Comments
What makes a bookaholic’s breakfast?
A cup of coffee (make a full pot, because when mixed with reading, the coffee will turn cold halfway through the mug and will need refilling from the pot. So, to say one drank a whole pot of coffee in this case would NOT be true, really, but rather that one drank an entire pot of half cups.) Still, bookaholics (with underlying writing tendencies) tend to exaggerate for good effect.
A piece of toast or bagel or scone, which is dry but still a bit more dressy than the first two. The bookaholic does enjoy a light but upscale breakfast and might even spring for a yogurt “sundae” , that being yogurt, some fresh fruit and some granola because it’s healthy AND pretty. However, the bookaholic will not consume a huge breakfast, knowing that he/she will not be running 5 miles but more likely will be reading for five hours (obviously, on a weekend day because during the week, like everyone else, the bookaholic is out there earning in order to be able to purchase more books and other bookaholic parapharnelia – to be discussed in a separate entry.) Still, the bookaholic knows that a good breakfast is important, but in the excitement of actually getting to the table with reading matter in hand, is very likely to have a bowl of cereal which takes the least time and so allows for getting down to the reading faster, eating and reading.
The newspaper, for those who were raised on any one of them and still have a morning paper (really? where do you live?) is a wonderful companion.
A magazine like The New Yorker for those who used to live there and now don’t, OR any other mag with real stories. But fashion and decor mags do not a good breakfast mag make.
A book (and this is the time of day when it’s good and fun to crack open a new book, OR gambol through a page-turner already underway.
Breakfast companions are not required. Should they arrive on the scene, the bookaholic will greet them heartily and briefly and return to reading. Such companions are best if they are not garrulous in the morning, if they do indeed enjoy a good read with said meal or if they have merely stopped by the kitchen for some juice and will then be returning to whatever room from whence they came.
Often, the bookaholic will be careful to discourage conversation, pretending instead to be listening or engaged (all politely done) in whatever any companion on the scene may be nattering on about. It is not with some relief or contentment that the bookaholic returns to the engaging reading matter as the “interrupter” does any of the following – leaves, remains quiet or also engages in reading.
The morning read is one of the great pleasures of life, something pursued before the day stirs and is truly underway, a gorgeous bit of time between waking and running out the door to work or any other schedule.
And while the bookaholic seems to be a bit of a rough go in terms of breakfast companionship, it’s just not true. We won’t talk your ear off, or ask a million questions, or make limp conversation. We won’t be grumpy or overly effusive. And we will always always look up with a smile, albeit a dreamy one, and wish you a wonderful day.
January 25, 2010 § 6 Comments
“color, calor” sort of means”warm color” …
…and though I know it’s not expressed correctly, isn’t it a wordsmith’s job to play with words?
It’s winter dark and dank here in the Gateway and such weather is an oddity really as we all standing around waiting for enough sunlight to see our shadows…
…for now, a little warm color to warm the eye… and the heart.
April 16, 2009 § 8 Comments
As usual, a bajillion things remained to be done. And I had purposely planned the dinner for 2:30 so that we had time to walk off the feast, or do something else for the rest of the day. That pushed prepping the house for guests to a much earlier hour.
And then, in the midst of mopping and polishing, I decided to rearrange the counterscape next to the stovetop. One of those absolutely unnecessary activities. I rearranged the blue KitchenAid mixer, green cutting board, blue andwhite pitcher.
Take my picture, the pitcher said. You know I’m a favorite objet. Come on, take my picture.
So I did. I took eight of them.
You never know when you might need such a photo.
Book Selection …
THE NEW MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK by Mollie Katzen. I cannot remember who introduced us, this book and I, but I loved it, purchased it when we were expecting our son (though I didn’t know that yet).
I bought it and read it. It is the only cookbook I have ever read. No photos; only illustrations. In fact, it looks handwritten which is surprising that having gone through my “back to nature” era in the late ’60s and ’70s, now in the ’80s I was looking at the “all natural” genre rather than ’80s gloss and flash.
And then I came to page 164 – Spanokopita. There is a phonetic spelling underneath that title in the cookbook yet to this day, I don’t know if I pronounce it correctly.
Fortunately, I made the spinach pie (colloquial) several times to HMs acclaim before I loaned the book to a neighbor who was throwing a party at the clubhouse. I never saw the book again. My first reaction was panic. How would I make this ever again? (No internet, no Google yet…ah, the ’80s!)
But it’s not that difficult. It just requires patience in layering the philo and buttering each layer as you go. Yes, it has to be butter. I cannot imagine the havoc you might wreak by using margarine.
I recalled the entire recipe though hesitated on the baking temperature but there aren’t that many to choose from, right? Just increments of 25 degrees (sorry, don’t mean to make real cooks shudder. So it all worked out and never wrote the recipe down after “reclaiming” it through doing it.
I have made the Spanokopita many many times over the past 20 years . I do not rue loaning it to that neighbor, either. I suspect she used and enjoyed it; she was very social and a wonderful cook.
Or maybe the book made it to a garage sale. Or was traded to someone else who asked to borrow it. I suspect it’s making the rounds out there. Something it is happy to do. It doesn’t matter. It did, long ago for us, accomplish one good thing.
April 9, 2009 § 7 Comments
(blue candles in a green glass bowl)
Show me a Pisces who doesn’t like the colors green and blue and I’ll show you a fake fish.
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerny. The ’80s, NYC, with the main character working at a magazine as a fact checker. He hopes to write for the mag; for now, the job is OK. His wife has left him. In the evenings, he parties, big time. It sounds awful. Somehow, it’s not.
The book is told in the second person, using “you”, a rather neat trick and it works. McInerney kicked off his career with this novel. Michael J Fox played the movie’s lead and the story was picked up for a B’way production as well. I digress. OK, the story is sad, fast, true, disturbing, tres urban, good. It’s an impotant book, though, for the eclectic reader. Just remember, though, it’s the ’80s, not “the now.” I adore Jay and have read everything he’s written since.
February 24, 2009 § 9 Comments
This is a pile of clocks in my (corporate) office. We are an international company. It’s useful to keep a clock on the wall for each time zone in which we’re working. I moved offices a few weeks ago, and box-filed during the hodgepodge of the move, my clocks are still waiting to be tacked on the wall.
In the meantime, I find I also look less and less at my wristwatch, at time overall. I have tons of light pouring through two giant windows. When it stops pouring in, I know it’s time to go home. Or, that the weather has turned bleak.
The clock on the left shows the time in New South Wales; the middle, clock, I dunno, that is to say that I think it’s cheesey little hands got bumped in the move; and, on the right, the clock shows Central Standard Time, USA.
People still bop into my new digs to see what time it is. I point to the floor. They don’t understand. They ask what time it is in blah-blah-land. I shrug. They say they’re lost without the white-clock-decor, and walk out. Am I really so reckless (feckless?) that I can war through the day without these stark little faces staring at me?
I snapped this shot after 5 pm so that no colleagues were (c)harmed or disturbed by the making of this photo.
Book selections …
TIME AND AGAIN by Jack Finney was a gift from my Gran when I was in middle school. She figured I’d have the patience to read it. And oh, it was magic. It was better than anything of that ilk that I had read by then (Tolkien, Vern, Travers, any of them…) moreover because it was so unexpected.
The book had only a few pictures, which leant them all the more intrigue.
What’s it about? you ask.
It’s a cross-time love story. Turn of the century thing. A guy becomes part of a university experiment (sans cruelty or torture, TG.) You think you know all about those, about such formulaic tales, but no, stay thy impatiece. If you haven’t read it, give it a whirl. Pictured below is the “old” version, the one with the cover I have and beneath the papery intrigues is a dark brown linen-esque cover.
And then there’s a second one: FROM TIME TO TIME. It’s on the shelf next to its quietly magnificent predecessor. It’s a soft cover, thus my unmatched set but you can buy the soft cover duo now.)
I haven’t read this second one.
I haven’t touched it yet.
I’m saving it. I love knowing it’s there. I love knowing it will pleasantly surprise me no matter how it goes.
December 28, 2008 § 6 Comments
This is Jack, Laylou’s dog. When she comes to the house, Jack comes, too. He’s as sweet as a marshmallow and as well-behaved as a teen. Everyone loves him. ‘Cept maybe Huck; it’s difficult to tell who Huck loves.
Like the “house” dogs, Huck and Bear, Jack is fond of bedding, soft things, cushions, pillows. Laylou very thoughtfully brings along Jack’s bed when she visits. This is an attempt to keep Jack off the furniture.
However, (not pictured), it is not uncommon to walk into the living room and see HM asleep in his wing chair and the dogs sleeping there, too, protected by his snoring and his unwatchful eye. In such a scenario, one dog, typically Jack, will be in the other wing chair. Bear will be at HM’s feet, splayed out like an old rug. Huck will take the couch, the entire 3-person couch. The living room morphs from “elegant” to “medieval castle.” Those who enter such a scene are likely to withdraw quietly and find something to do elsewhere in the house.
On Christmas, Jack’s bed was set down in the foyer, still in view of any and everything going on. Little matter, though, as far as Jack was concerned. The humans were taking up all the seats in the living room, but still the dogs stirred about in there – where could they sit? Too many presents all over the place. Where could they climb up and get comfortable? Too many humans actually using furniture.
What to do? What to do?
Bear camped out in medias res. We were all forced to step over him when coming in and out of the room.
Huck insinuated himself in the sun, among some presents, but was restless.
This just isn’t right, he said to himself over and over.
Jack was quietly frantic.
-Could I get on the couch? he implored, using one of his best expressions.
-No, said Laylou.
-Could I at least have Huck’s spot in the sun?
-No, certainly not! said Huck, from across the room.
-Jack, said Laylou, why don’t you just go lie in your bed?
-I’d rather be on the couch. Near you. Jack thought surely this would work. It didn’t.
Huck left the room. Too much conversation, too much noise. That darn Jack stole the attention and made such a ruckus besides.
-There now, Jack, you can have the spot in the sun, Laylou said.
-Thanks, I don’t want it. I’ll just go find my bed and get in it, Jack said, picking his way through the presents. He sighed, his lips blowing out.
We all chuckled and watched. We knew what Jack was about to find in his bed!