Wednesday, November 27, 2013

becoming inclusive

Spoke and I have hosted this, our favorite holiday, for as long as we've been married.  Our two small families gathered for many years spanning sunny, 80 degree days to threats and realities of snow or ice storms.  The afternoons started with champagne and Mom's Puffs which my mother-in-law had the honor of serving on the silver platter while they were hot out of the oven.  We'd later fill a table with all the traditional dishes, served as close as possible to halftime of the Cowboy game for dear, dear dad. 

In the course of the day, before the onslaught of pies, there was a Mystery Can contest, begun when my parents discovered a can of food in the pantry whose label had fallen off in their move to Dallas.  We all threw in a dollar, wrote down our best guess of its contents and the winner took the pot.  We continued playing the game every Thanksgiving, friends providing us a bare can.  One year it was dog food and someone actually got it right. 

Though small, we were a very close family and by that nature, we were exclusive on this day as are many families.  Our Thanksgivings now have changed so much; Eddie, Ellie, Ernie and Colleen are gone, leaving only just as many, barely enough of us to warrant abundance. But from my longing and in the spirit of the holiday, a feast was planned and as we extended invitations, to my joyful surprise, they were eagerly accepted.

Champagne bottles will be uncorked around 2:00 as we lay out antipasti.  Maybe there will be a toast or two.  Football turned on an hour later in one room, jazz in another.  Wines will be opened. 

Strangers will have become acquaintances. 

Turkey and Commander's Palace Crab Cakes will then take center stage at the buffet with many more dishes alongside and many more wines opened.  I'll say a private blessing for this day.

Likely needing a breather, we'll determine the Mystery Can winner.

Pies will then be sliced and affogato will be offered four ways; traditional, chocolate, caramel or vanilla.  Gelato if they prefer, may be topped with warm stewed fruit or Italian cherries in syrup, all served with espresso or cappuccino.  Or more wine.

Acquaintances will have become friends.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

no coins for the fountain

i paused
and when i walked on,
walking along, 
i found a penny on the sidewalk

Monday, November 18, 2013


The moment I stepped into Grethe's house, I knew I'd entered an artist's home.

I was enveloped by paintings, sculpture, sketches, and photography.  Some pieces brought whimsy, a welcome reprieve from the enormous emotions stirred by the strangers I met on Grethe's walls.



The feeling I get when I am in Grethe's home is profound.  I've felt this way only once before, in another artist's house many years ago.  Grethe doesn't just do art, she doesn't collect art, she doesn't showcase art.  She truly lives and breathes it. 

I wish I could have met her husband.  His art fills this house as well. 

Grethe took out her pain and anger on tile when Jim died. 

This post was not planned.  The photos were hurried on a recent afternoon, to be shown in a small, social circle of friends but as I looked at them, their scope, their emotion . . . I had to show them to you even though they don't do justice.

That explained, I saved the best for last.

Here's a sneak peek at Grethe's latest painting, masterful even unfinished.  I adore it.  I adore her too.

Grethe Haggerty

Sunday, November 10, 2013

the day the music died

If they had been open . . .
at four o'clock four days ago, I would have climbed those stairs to claim a stool at the bar.  They are odd stools in a way; pale gray resembling driftwood, bringing to mind places far from here.  But they grew on me, those stools. 

If there hadn't been that fire . . .
I'd have enjoyed an afternoon drink in this place I think of as my neighborhood bar though when the tab is paid, I've a good half-hour drive home.

Instead, I pulled in because I had to see. 

Everything looked and felt out of kilter.  Plants were thriving on pedestals, mail was overflowing, stuffed in a box I'd never noticed.  No one was coming or going.  The cheery sidewalk easel was gone. 

I heard Don McLean tell me the music died.

Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

I made myself peer through the window.  

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile 
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while
That was my plan back in June when Spoke hired the Mark McKenzie Quartet for the night.  From the cramped alcove, they gave us the Great American Songbook, a birthday gift to everyone present, everyone upstairs and down.  It was hot that night but we didn't care. 

Helter skelter, in a summer swelter
I've had great Happy Hours here and even better late nights when
a collective we closed it down, but the best night by far was that night the music filled the space and filled my heart. 
I placed my camera against the dirty glass and took a photo.
And as the flames climbed high into the night 
Don McLean brilliantly weaves the words which tell of my generation's loss, in its many forms.
So bye-bye Miss American Pie
For me, the fire at this bar, after that birthday, seems another day the music died. 

American Pie, Don McLean
Zanata, 15th Street, Plano

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

bistro 3906

She reminded me very much of myself when I was her age.  Petite, introspective mistaken as quiet or unaware. 

We were together in my kitchen, prepping the following night's five-course Creole dinner for my friends, one of them, her mother.  I'd done a lot already that week; specialty shopping, linens pressed and silver polished, corn fritters ready to go from the freezer, BBQ butter for the Gulf shrimp chilling, palmiers baked.  Still, there was much to do and I found myself, before she arrived, timorously wondering if it would be easier to do the rest myself.

We fell surprisingly though, into a smooth and rhythmic afternoon; I moved this way, she moved that way, I probed, she shared.  We smiled often and the afternoon flew by. 

I taught her how to break asparagus at their giving points and how to poach pears in wine.  She introduced me to 'my person', a term new to me, and she told me about a sushi-seafood market she thought I'd like on Greenville Avenue.

We washed lettuce, we made vinaigrette, we toasted pine nuts, we rolled pie dough. 

We went over the sequence of serving plates and bowls and the final touches for the table; honey for the corn fritters, blue cheese with pears, individual ramekins filled with butter, espresso cups stacked. 

"Welcome to Bistro 3906," we said playfully as we greeted guests the next night, she seeming so mature and I, well I, longing to be a kid all over again. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

fly away home

click to enlarge

Thursday, October 17, 2013


See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
Just remember darling all the while
You belong to me

I'm not sure if my mother remembered the song from years past or if she latched onto it because she could, the only song not in French on this Carla Bruni recording. 

There's always music playing in my car.  This penchant of mine brought my mom such joy and this single cut became a favorite that last year we drove around together, unaware the days were numbered.  She'd sing along and usually when it ended, we'd share a glance and I'd knowingly hit the replay button. 

See the market place in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember 'til your dream appear
You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too
And blue

I would wonder, did she simply like it or did the song take her aged mind to other places, other times . . . 

Patsy Cline I believe, was singing when I heard it on Pegasus the other night.  I wished for my mom to be here, to claim her bragging rights as the proud mother of a talented and creative daughter.  Pegasus Net Waves is an internet radio station, newly launched by my sister Robin and her business partner Raul.  They play fantastic music.  I love listening. 

Mom would too. 

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember, till you're home again
You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too
And blue


Pegasus Net Waves (dot com) Tune in from anywhere!
You Belong To Me; Pee Wee King, Chilton Price, Redd Stewart
Carla Bruni, Carla Bruni

three pumpkins

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

oh, i agree!

I have made a practice wherever I go
to ask intelligent amateurs . . . 
who their favorite composer is. 
Almost without exception . . . they will reply
"Puccini . . .  He doesn't keep us waiting.  He gets on with it." 
And that is one of the abiding attractions of "Boheme." 
It doesn't keep us waiting.  It does get on with it. 
Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor, in an interview with Irving Kolodin from Saturday Review (1956)

Sunday, September 22, 2013



The Alchemy to Gold art show was held last tonight at evol society which is the home store of Roma boots and a huge supporter of local artists and causes.  It's an odd name, evol, I thought when I first heard it, wanting to call it evolve from then on.  By all its definitions, evolve made sense to me when I thought about the store hosting this show.

evolve: 1) develop gradually and naturally
I suspect that is how much of the art shown last night came to be; a spark of form or color or matter gradually and naturally became something tangible.  Likely too, that many personal and business relationships had to have evolved as well for this night to come together.

evolve: 2) devise (a plan)
Artists were chosen, this venue was secured, sponsors stepped up, volunteers did too, details were ironed out and disasters were avoided.

evolve: c) unfold
Finishing touches given, doors open, music starts, drinks are poured, food is served, talent is absorbed. 

This night did indeed unfold beautifully and here are a few of my photos to take you there.





In the company of all this wonderful art, there was one snapshot which truly made me gasp.  It was early in the show when I took the picture, a view I like to take, inside looking out.  This time was different.  There was a message and innocently enough, I finally, clearly, understood evol.   

evol society @ The Shops at Park Lane
Alchemy to Gold benefit for AIN, Aids Interfaith Network 
Show organized and designed by David Call
David Call Interiors and Alchemy Arts
(The Oxford American Desk Dictionary)