Taking Stock

November 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Maple

Times flies quickly when you are having fun…and when you are non-fun busy to the point of insanity. That is why Thanksgiving can be a good pre-cursor to the inevitable New Year, New Me thing.

I’ve personally been feeling a little lousy and exhausted these last few weeks, but I am trying my best to Just Get On with It. And every day I try to remind myself of the good things in life that cannot be undone by something annoying or upsetting that will pass. And it will pass. Or you can change it, right? (To be clear, I also have my less-that-stellar moments, but thankfully, I have people who are there to listen.)

So, one goal of this Thanksgiving is to remember what I am truly thankful for: Mr. H, my friends and family, my health and the health and happiness of those around me. Oh, and that Micro-Glycolic Peel that I mentioned earlier this year. ūüėČ

The other goal I have for this holiday is to Keep Going. Things cannot always be exactly how you want them, but I am not going to let it stop me from enjoying the good things of the season, from ice skating and dinners with friends to cocktail parties* with more friends and decorating ginger bread houses with my god daughter. And I refuse to not enjoy the twinkle lights, fresh pine and paperwhites that will be scattered about the house, or how lovely this year’s wrapping paper selection will be, or time spent by the fire with Mr. H and A+O just doing a lot of nothing.

Hmmm…I sound feisty. Well, I guess I am feeling that way a little today, but I don’t think it is a bad thing. In fact, I have decided that in addition to all the other things I am thankful for this year, renewed feisty-ness may very well top the list.

Have a wonderful stuffing and latke-filled holiday!

xx

* One c/o Larder and Mr. H’s drink making abilities, the other c/o of my fantastic assistant who is planning a great one for the company.

(Photo of our amazing maple: Mr. H)

Empty Fridge? No Problem

November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Just got to the beach for the holiday week and we were both too pooped to do a proper shop in time for dinner. We were also not especially motivated to leave the house for a meal, but we did need to eat.

I scanned the pantry and was pleased to find some plain breadcrumbs and felt especially fortunate that there were a few sprouts of parsley still alive outside. These items, along with some salt, pepper, olive oil and red pepper flakes will be dinner tonight. Oh, and some pasta, which I am never without. (I think it is a rule for Italian-Americans.)

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So, Pasta with Garlic and Breadcrumbs: While your are getting your pasta ready, saute some garlic cloves — five or six — and red pepper flakes (to taste ) in one tablespoon of olive oil until the garlic begins to brown. Then add about 1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs to the mixture until they are also nicely browned. Next add salt, pepper and parsley to taste. Once your pasta is al dente, strain but keep a few tablespoons of the pasta water on the side. Pop the cooked pasta into the breadcrumb mix and add a little of the reserved water to loosen it all up. And now you are ready to eat!

Super easy and super tasty, especially with a nice glass of wine and a fire.

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Enjoy!

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

I Thought I Knew You…

November 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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As you know, I am a big art lover, as is Mr. H. There is little that I enjoy more than being moved by a piece that is brand new to me, and I find it extremely comforting to visit the “old friends” that I never tire of seeing, even after two decades or more. But one of the most interesting experiences for an art nerd such as myself ¬†to have is seeing a piece in person for the first time after spending years seeing images of it in classes or other reading. Sometimes, it can be be a non-event but in the best of circumstances, it kind of blows you away.¬†

This week the latter happened: Mr. H and I were at the New York Historical Society’s exhibit that was meant to recreate 1913’s ¬†famous Armory Show (actually called the¬†“International Exhibition of Modern Art”)¬†100 years after it was first mounted.* The show was meant to promote modern paintings and sculpture to U.S. audiences, and while it had a profound impact on modern painting in this country, it was considered quite audacious at the time. Seeing parts of it today makes that last statement sound odd, but 100 years ago, it was simply not.¬†

There were many terrific paintings by artists with whom I was not very familiar and several that I had seen before or knew a little about. And most of them were really very lovely. Alas the one piece that knocked me off my feet was one that I had seen countless times, and it is possibly one of the most debated paintings of the last century: Marcel Duchamp’s¬†Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, from 1912. In college, I had studied this painting in depth. I memorized its creation date, why it was important and all the other details that an art history student must remember. But I was never especially moved by it, although I like Duchamp’s work tremendously.

Ah…but to see it in person is another matter entirely. Sometimes when you get caught up in the academics of a thing, you lose the best part: its beauty. This, my friends, is a truly beautiful painting. And I was completely unprepared for that to be the case. I saw things in it that I’d never noticed before and was completely taken with its line and color and purpose — things I thought I’d “seen” before, but I hadn’t really experienced it. I was genuinely moved and delightfully surprised.

One could draw a line between this kind of moment and how important it is that we live as much of our lives “in person” as possible, but I’ll focus on something else instead…even if it is slightly related:

Last night, Mr. H and I were at a dinner party and the show itself came up in conversation with a friend we won’t see very often. He’d seen it as well, and I brought up the Duchamp. Our friend replied that he, too, found it rather amazing that in spite of it being such a familiar image — but one that he’d never seen in person — he was also surprised to find it to be so beautiful. “Yes…it it really a beautiful painting…” was how the conversation ended. But in a way, the end of that conversation was perhaps the beginning of our getting to know this person a little bit better. Maybe that is the final fantastic part of art: sharing with others and how it allows you to share more of yourself with them. ¬†

xx

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armory_Show

(Image of Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2: Via Fair use/Art;¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Duchamp_-_Nude_Descending_a_Staircase.jpg#filelinks; Marchel Duchamp, 1887 – 1968; Painted in Paris, France; 1912, Oil on Canvas; 55 7/8″ H X 35 1/8″ W; part of the permanent collection of the Philadelphia¬†Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, United States.)

 

When is it Cheating?

November 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

This isn’t what you think it is about. Unless you, like me, don’t wear fur (or feathers or exotic skins or calf hair) but sometimes find yourself confronted with a coat or other item that is “faux” but awfully convincing.* There have been such major advances in textiles these last few years that I find myself tempted to give it a try, but I never quite get there.¬†

Why? Well, I sometimes feel as if these advancements are almost too convincing, and therefore someone may see me walking down the street wearing a really great faux item and think that I am wearing something that I am not. And confusing anyone regarding my feelings on this issue is not something I want to do. (Yes, I know this is a little nuts.) And so, I pass. 

But this year folks have been doing amazing things with alpaca, which is wonderfully warm and based on my research, perfectly ok for me to wear. Still I can’t help but notice that lots of the alpaca garments are leaving the strands of the material longer…which starts to look a lot like skinned fur. In the words of Charlie Brown “ARGH!!!”. So do I or don’t I? Right now, I am replying on looped yarns for that texture I’ve been craving, but still, I just had to order this alpaca coat today that, upon closer inspection, may be one of those deceiving items. Or maybe it is totally ok. I guess I’ll know whether it is cheating or not when I slip it on. More in two to three business days.¬†

xx

* Alas, I do wear leather shoes and bags, and have a piece of leather furniture or two in my home. Oh, and I eat meat. But only from certain places. Ack. It is hard to draw the line. And I know that line is different for everyone, so no judgement here. It is just what I do…or don’t do. You get my drift.¬†

Living Your Life

November 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Do you ever find yourself saying things like “once this is settled, I’ll travel more”, or “I’ll take that class when this thing is done” or anything that seems to push off doing something enjoyable¬†now because you have things going on in your life can range from completely demanding to awfully concerning? I know that I do, and I am coming to realize that while it is ok to just roll into bed and watch The Real Housewives until you have to start over again the next day during challenging times, it isn’t the best long-term coping mechanism.

This past year has taught me a lot about that notion. Definitely a Development Area for me, but I really feel that I am getting better at the whole thing. Where I might have postponed a vacation or skipped a show that I wanted to see, I lately find myself saying “f*** that…doing this will not change anything that is going on in my life right now (yes…provided I am on top if it…I am still me).¬†Not doing it, is actually keeping me from living my life. So, I do it. And if you sometimes find yourself in that position, as we all do from time to time, I suggest you consider same.

xx

American Beauty: Jackson Hole

November 2, 2013 § 2 Comments

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You’ll recall that Mr. H and I were in Wyoming earlier this fall, and I only shared a few photos with you from when we landed. That trip is quickly becoming a distant memory, so I thought I should post a bit more of our time there, as it was spectacularly beautiful. And we rode horses!

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A view of the clouds and the Grand Tetons outside our room. I took great pleasure in watching the sun rise and clouds reveal the view in the morning. Talk about clearing the head…this does the trick.

As did our wildlife excursion the next (very early) morning, where moose and antelope were on order. Look closely and you will see them, I swear!

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There was a quiet here that one rarely experiences, I think. Just the wind lightly blowing…

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I especially loved the sagebrush. It was everywhere…

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And the incredibly green lake. Naturally, I can’t remember the name because, as I mentioned, it was very early in the morning, but it was just so very green…

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And we saw a raven…

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And by the time the sun was actually up, it was still magical…

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Truly magical.

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Giddy Up! The next day was the Tetons on horseback. And I swear, this was the first time in my life I thought I didn’t have enough fat on my bottom. Four hours on this baby kind of made sitting difficult for a few days…

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Alas, Bottom Discomfort was quite worth it…

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More closeups of the sagebrush and a pop of red. Albert Hadley would have been pleased…

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Going down was harder than going up from time to time, but missing this was not an option. (Also, I am not super clear that walking down this part of the mountains was a great option, either.)

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Next Up, Jenny Lake. This time we hiked and in addition to comfy hiking shoes and a hat from Orvis, I made sure that I was prepared…

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I also had bear spray and a lesson on how to use it. As pretty as this all is, it is Bear Country, and the Woody Allen in me was not taking any chances. Still, even in the rain that later arrived, this hike was worth it…

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And we made it all the way to the top before the rain really kicked in, so I am scoring this as a win. In fact, the whole trip was a win and one of the only places I’ve ever been in the States where there was an earnestness and level of mellow that didn’t appear to be chemically induced or a cliche. Perfect!

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

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