There is always pie…

September 10, 2012 § 21 Comments

This summer, there was pie. And funny little tablescapes. Apple pie, cherry pie, French silk pie, peach pie…
Sometimes there pie was for breakfast, which seems like the only breakfast entry that could possibly rival a delicious bit of  bacon, one egg cooked just so and a lovely piece of French bread with sweet butter.
Such late night thoughts…

(what’s in the little white dish? Why, raw sugar of course, to sprinkle on top of the pie when it’s hot from the oven…)

What’s your favorite breakfast?


Good Friday, great Friday…

April 6, 2012 § 13 Comments

Mowers out early. (but not us)
Pollen. (but took allegra)
Holiday. (so lots of traffic, but who cares? no clocks.)
Headed out on a tour of errands and stop-offs.
HM actually DID pull over at Starbucks (no line!) and had my first ever cherry tart from there (along with main-line coffee) and I’ve been eyeing those mini things for weeks. Not bad! Taste even better when you’re flying off-schedule!

Then, to the Hill.
For our annual pilgrimage.
First stop, Steve’s.
It’s a hot doggery run by singer-rocker Steve Ewing. Having interviewed him for foodie mag, I was curious about the “dog” menu and HM was hungry and so in we went, and there he was and order we did…

HM got the “mac n’ cheese.”  I got the “Madeline.”
Yum. These aren’t just any old dogs. These are smoked and babied and wrapped in fresh made rolls from right across the street. Really. You gotta go there. Ewing started this business a few years back as a food truck after his concerts. Now he rocks the place in the daylight, closes it up by 5 pm and heads out to play a gig 5 nights a week. Meanwhile, he’s in the studio with The Urge, getting a ready to put out a record at the start of summer.

Then to St. Ambrose.

and HM and Nor’s fave pizzeria on the Hill… ( we didn’t stop there today; HM will not resume eating pizza ’til Easter Sunday!)

and then off to an urban flower shop, where I asked the owner if deer would eat the marigolds we were thinking of buying. She smiled and said “I have no idea.”

to be continued….Must go mop the floor and tidy up the rooms – kids are coming home!
and you KNOW I”m going to insert a bunch of flower pictures in the next post!!!! (as I do every year…at least I didn’t make you sit through pictures from MoBot’s orchid show. We didn’t get there!)

stay tuned.

And rather than getting bogged down in a book (and happily so, may I suggest a look at one of the season’s flower and garden magazines? guaranteed not to make you sneeze and guaranteed to give you some ideas!)

Tuesday…rather a cartoon of a day

April 3, 2012 § 13 Comments

I did NOT miss the Downton Abbey finale though I was on the road.
And that, my friend, is when TV is a treat. When you’re out there disconnected and it reaches out and grounds you. It normalizes wherever you are, dishes a little ditzy comfort, talks in your background so you’re not lonely, so you don’t recall how the waitress removed all the other place settings when you sat down to dinner (for one) earlier and so you don’t notice how big the hotel  room is, big enough for your entire family and their friends…and relatives, including second cousins.

You turn on the TV and there it is, a favorite show, a telling moment of entertaining drama. You do not have to lift a finger, your self moves into comfort mode; you just sit there and suspend your belief. Of course it’s far better if you’re the type (and I am) who enjoys social TV watching, with you and your friends making commentary, tossing out questions like “what did she say?” or “would you ever do a thing like that?” or “Doesn’t that gown look fabulous?” and etcetera. 
Yes, TV has its place, its places.

Though cartoonist Dave Sipress has published plenty, I’ve noticed him most often (and found him hilarious) in The New Yorker where he has published more than 350 cartoons since 1998. He plants the seed of laughter; we have to ponder it first, and makes us laugh at the truths of ourselves. That’s not a bad thing.

Sunday, sneeze-y Sunday

April 1, 2012 § 11 Comments

Celebrated Palm Sunday.
Also, drank buckets of coffee in order to get up early and stay up even ’til now.
Updated my reading list.   
And…worked outdoors cuz it was just too gorgeous to stay inside like a baby in a bubble.
Resultantly,I have half emptied nearly a complete tissue box. My sneezes (albeit covered by trapping them in my sleeves or paper mouchoirs) would bounce you right out the front door. Such vigor.

Between those obnoxious achoos,  and with a steady hand (despite them and the coffee!), I started snapping “domestica” wary still of returning outdoors.

And yes, there’s yet another project undertaken and not yet done – getting the artwork in this house grouped and properly mounted in rooms where they will be seen to their best advantage. No, no, nothing flashy or insured. Just some giant pieces and some no bigger than a 4″x6″ photo that we’ve found  and adopted over time.

Ultimately, it’s part of Spring cleaning.
So is this sneezing.

(cereal bowl from this morning)


March 14, 2012 § 15 Comments

 It is rare that I shop.  Really. 
You would think that when in town, I’d bust out of my office and zip over to the three-layer mall that is stacked no more than a mile from my commuter parking lot and get some shopping done (you know, when you need a new white blouse or your sister-in-law’s birthday gift or some artisinal olive oil from D’Olivia).
But no.

And this weekend, when HM and I did shop, was really more of a stroll and a leisurely conversation on foot, we ended up at the Record Exchange on Hampton. What? records? of all things! But the Exchange is a library of music, of vinyl (records), of CDs, of tapes and I think there are 8-tracks in there, too. And posters and stacks and shelves and tidy piles of records and records and more records. But truly, picture a well-kept library, that zigs and zags with shelves immacuately maintained and most  records sleeved in those awesome heavy plastic envelopes.

Yes, we found some music (cuz HM newly restored and set up the Yamaha round table we bought way back when the kids were little and CDs were just coming on the market). Itching for that vinyl “sound” because we have only a few albums that have made it through the various moves, basement-warping existences and petitions for more space,  we thought to purchase one or two old retros and get the house hopping. Still a Stones fan, I found an album with “Waiting for a Friend” on it (forgot the album title – sheesh) and an Arlo Guthrie album that I had once owned but has been gone lo’ these many years.

Then HM whistled me into another area of the store where I found him flipping through “author” albums.  These, he thought would be good to have, to listen to while we’re chilling on the lower level, maybe working, maybe painting, but above all, poised to listen.

Actually, it’s the kind of thing that makes you want it to rain, so you have a good excuse to stay inside and chill and just listen to the written word, being spoken.


March 4, 2012 § 14 Comments

We love our little corners of the world.

(Book moment: Check out the gorgeous little book by Paul Theroux, THE TAO OF TRAVEL.)

art journal TOOLS…

January 29, 2012 § 7 Comments

(you’re right – the rubberbands are wrong.)




Tops in ’11…

January 21, 2012 § 25 Comments

Because it’s still January, and also because I told Arti that I would do  it(!),  herein a quick reflective write up on (only certain) categories of “tops in  2011.” Of course this is entirely subjective and duly note that some of  “things” mentioned herein may not have occurred/premiered/published within 2011 after all. I tend to arrive late at “what’s hot” selections yearly.

Top Books (a very subjective view)…

   A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson ….I, too, am surprised to see this book at the top of my list.  But there are two (subjective) reasons: 1) He writes about the Adirondack Trail, a great part of which includes my old stomping ground on the East Coast; and 2) he made me laugh out loud. And furthermore, it’s a book I wouldn’t normally pick up but it was a gift and it turned out to be a perfect gift.
   The Help – Kathryn Stockett… and I don’t usually fall for “mass” bestsellers but there you go, I loved this book (as mentioned several times).
   A Roomful of Hovings and The Pines – John McPhee…just happened to discover McPhee’s writing. The way he can write about the length of grass on a tennis court or what Pine natives think of outsiders will stop you in your tracks and have you reading every detail. He’s an essayist, a storyteller, a writer who puts a variety of things under a writer’s microscope and just goes and you can’t help but follow.
Truth is, when I look at the list of books I read last year, I am pressed to tell you that most were read for sheer entertainment, like page turners, easy stuff OR books on art and journaling!
PS  And I did love Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I really liked the Major.  He seemed to have the right moves at the right time. And all was well.

Top Magazines…

   The New Yorker – still holding its (personal) top position on my magazine list but that’s because of its local, its pace, its ads, its embrace of cartoons and fiction along with Talk of the Town.  The magazine, its covers, its staff are all stories in themselves.
   Fast Company – this one rose quickly to the top of my list because it scratches a “professional reading” itch but moves and jumps and flashes around so that I don’t get bored with any pedantic pages.
  GRANTA – love it. Introduces me to new authors. Makes me read stuff I normally wouldn’t. And the photo section is full of stories in itself.
  VOGUE – ah, my beloved VOGUE. Still hangs in there but is slipping. It’s look/layout is  heavy-footed; some photo stories are annoying rather than breathtaking and overall, other than some (Euro) fashion pages, it’s not taking any chances with its articles or photos. ELLE magazine may surpass the big V in terms of presentation. Still, thank goodness Grace Coddington is still chez VOGUE  or the wind would definitely be out of the sails on this great old schooner.
    Poets&Writers – This one is for writers who don’t need to be told every issue how to do something. This one goes deep, is thought provoking with its essays on “Why we write,” its updates on the lit mag world, its spotlight on authors you might have heard of but then again, ah, maybe not and its complete section on contests and awards.  This magazine feels good; the paper is excellent, the layout is fresh and readable with decent visuals/graphics.  I carry this one around for a couple weeks before I even start to read it. And then I save them all, dogeared and annotated.

Top Movies…

     The Descendants
– Absolutely not a comedy though certain previews might lead you to think so and yet it was not without its comic moments, just as life would have it. I was surprised in after dicussion of the film how much I did really like it after all. We love to look at families and see what they’re doing, how they’re doing and how they interact. Clooney was good and quite good at knowing when to be silent in this film; the elder daughter had uncanny strength while her younger sister showed the certain delightful guilelessness. All due to the script. Well written, I say. And the setting, Hawaii, was a wonderful treat though not intrusive. (It could have been). Yes, you’ll get into money and greed and the big machine and the play of family politics and although you’ll guess the end, you will be satisfied for having been there for it and will be glad you met this little family.
     Midnight in Paris – Nope, did NOT like this film at first. Thought at first glance it was kitschy. Then, it grew on me. After all, it throws every literary and artistic character from the Lost Gen (expats) at you and then unravels further back and you guess who’s who before they do some clicheed identifier (Hemingway wanting to fight, Dali being weird, weird, weird, etc) but I liked it after all. And will seek to watch it again. Thank goodness Woody Allen believes in a little magic; we need it. His version, a bit lighter than time travel (as in the Time Traveler’s Wife) is fun and we have some laughs while witnessing the truth of the movie: we all are prone to believe that the century/time period prior to  our own was “better.”  Watch it and enjoy. This one is worth owning, to play in the background during a party or even while you’re dusting and vacuuming.
     The Help – I read the book first. Thankfully. I’m sure I’d think otherwise of the film if I hadn’t. But I was terribly judgmental as I watched it unfold on the screen before me, comparing it unwittingly to the book all along the way. Still I enjoyed it. I might have cast it differently, especially Skeeter’s part (Emma Stone), but they did it “right” after all, they did it correctly and they did a good job. I cried where I cried in the book (no, I’m not telling you where or why) and I laughed where the book also made me laugh. The audience in the theater that night was participatory, too, which is always fun – when there’s laughter or clapping and then a collective sigh at the end.  The biggest difference between the screen and the page for this one?  The movie ended and we left whereas when the book ended,  I didn’t to leave/stop reading. The movie was thin; the book was not.
     Cowboys and Aliens – omg, this movie was awful I loved it. So silly, such a mixture of excellent talent (Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig) and sci fi and westerns!!!!!!  It derives from a graphic novel, if that helps understand its mongrel self.  I loved it. Ridiculous, it was. And corny. But Ford and Craig saved it and yes, cowboys have a certain appeal. No one sits a horse better.  Anyway, this was  pure entertainment (with a touch of “impatience” because everyone works together against the aliens of course which is the way it should be but it’s so darn in-your-face.)  Tra lala. This one still wins anyway: horses, dogs and children survive blissfully and our heroes come through for us.
     Harry Potter 7/8
     Pirates of the Carribean Part #4

Top Events – not  “global” events (there would be so many)

   Game #6, World Series 
   Game #7, World Series, and was there!
   Roger Daltry presenting “Tommy” at the Peabody Opera House, STL
   The wedding of Will and Kate
   New Year’s Eve in NYC
  New Year’s Eve in Nashville (both via TV; glad for the latter since it’s in our time zone – at last, a ball (or guitar) that drops according to our central time zone.)

Top  food trends
Salted caramels
Seaside cheddar cheese at Whole Food
Balsamic glaze
Grilled cheese

Hmmm….so many more categories could be contrived here but that’s for another time.

Care to share your favorite (recent) book-of-the-moment with me? I’m all ears!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Got nuts?

January 16, 2012 § 9 Comments

This is Archie the Elder.  There are two other squirrels in our little ecosystem.  Here, the Elder stares down the patio door from whence he knows that some mixed nuts (the kind you buy in a bag at holiday time for people to crack and enjoy while waiting for dinner) just might appear.

Dommage. There will be no more tossed from the kitchen door. They are now placed in the backyard around the wood pile. Meanwhile, Archie becomes quite the character on my storybook pages!


January 8, 2012 § 19 Comments

And so we’ve packed up Christmas.
Seems like the dark of Winter gets darker with the tucking away of the last red, gold and glittery bits.

Not putting it all away, really.
Just carrying it with us into the new year.

The advantage of some of the natural decorations is that they can still hang around outside, having moved from front of the house to back. “Interesting,” said HM.  Mmmm. guess he was thinking of sitting out there.



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