November 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
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. 😉
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!
* 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)
November 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
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.)
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.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
November 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
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.
(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.)
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.
* 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.
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.
October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
Happy Halloween! When I was a kid, this was the Superbowl of holidays. Mostly because I was able to be someone else for a day. And spend tons of time planning who this new me was going to be.* “Bad” Sandy from Grease? Cleopatra? Cyndi Lauper? And what were the details that were going to make it clear to others who the new Me was that day? These were the things I fixated on until the Day of Transformation…Halloween. Gosh, I loved it, even when I got the dreaded apple with a coin in it for a treat, or somehow felt bested by someone else’s more inventive costume.
It is funny that the things I tend to like about Halloween now are more about witty jack-o-lanterns and things like this most excellent and insane pumpkin decoration (above) that I saw while walking around the Upper West Side last week. I don’t know…they are all just so happy and full of whimsey. And the notion of becoming someone else on a specific day seems, well, unnecessary. I am who I am, and that is always changing as time and life requires, so I guess I no longer see the fun in doing it for a day. But slowly transforming yourself over days and weeks and years into the (better?) person you’d like to be…that does seem fun.
So, I guess I’ll just stick to candy corn and pumpkins for today. Enjoy whether you are being you or someone else this Halloween!
*Props to my Mom for being game on the costume front. Really…there was nothing she would not make for me. And I asked for some pretty crazy stuff.