Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boats That Won’t Float: Sculptures by Gwyn Metz

Open the door of Chrystoph Marten’s salon and out float dulcet strains of music reminiscent of the sea.  Marten himself may greet you at the door, hairbrush in hand, and, with a welcoming smile, wave you toward a wall along which are arrayed some of Gwyn Metz’s “boats that won’t float.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As Thanksgiving Approaches . . .

With “Temporary Visitors,” we paused to consider the turkey’s fate; with “May I Eat as I Please, Please?” we ruminated about French tarts and frozen peas.  With “Thanksgiving Prep,” we ended up redecorating the house in anticipation of arriving guests.  And with “Thanksgiving in South Africa,” we were reminded that Thanksgiving is not just about the groaning board.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving in South Africa

South Africans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, nor do we have an equivalent to this uniquely American tradition.

I’ve been privileged to experience Thanksgiving with family and friends for each of the fourteen years that I’ve lived in America. This year, we’re in South Africa. I feel oddly disoriented.

It seems strange to be surrounded by Christmas trees and all things Christmas this early in November, as the country gears up for the holidays. It’s as though a crucial step has been skipped. I want to let everybody know what they’re missing. I want to say that Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to prepare for December and the end of another year; whether we celebrate Christmas or not. I want to explain how, every year on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans join together around bountiful tables to share a meal of Turkey with all the trimmings, celebrating their ties to people they love and giving thanks for their blessings; without the stresses and strains brought on by excessive commercialization.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

It all begins, innocently enough, with my simple desire to replace the comforter on my son’s twin bed. After 10 years, it is faded and worn. My husband has a clever idea though – don’t buy another twin comforter, let’s use this opportunity to move the full-size guest bed into our son’s room, since he is now 6 feet tall and not nearly done growing. Our son will be much more comfortable in a full size bed, and we can move his twin bed to the guest room.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

May I Eat As I Please, Please?

Every Saturday this summer, we visited the local farmer’s market—for fresh vegetables, of course, but also for French tarts so good you knew butter suffused every pastry pore.  I waited to have my annual blood-letting until the market closed, for I suspected my cholesterol level might be in doubt.  I should have waited until the holidays were over.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Music to Jog By (The Beatles Remastered)

My younger sister laid claim to the Beatles first.  My idea of popular music back then was Henry Mancini's movie scores and Nino Temple and April Stevens crooning Deep Purple.  When Ed Sullivan brought the mop-headed boys into our living room, I more than feigned indifference—I really didn’t see the point.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Temporary Visitors

I can’t stop thinking about turkeys. A few days ago while out driving, I notice the open field next to my children’s former preschool has become home to a large flock of turkeys. A temporary fence encloses 50 or so beautiful white turkeys roaming the pasture. Who knew turkeys could be white, instead of the typical brown versions that adorn grocery store ads in November?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Weather Game

November is when Winter tries to make an early appearance in Southwest Florida. Summer will have none of it. After lulling us into a false sense of security by allowing a few mercifully cool days, Summer sends the usurper packing with a stealth move – an eleventh hour Hurricane.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The End of Daylight Savings Time

For those of us who are not, by nature, early risers, it’s unclear whether the end of daylight savings time is friend or foe.  In the morning, we make it a point of honor not to rise in the dark.  The end of daylight savings time foils our resolve, for daybreak arrives too early and wakes us up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Problem with Wallace Stevens

Our poet-friend came visiting, The New York Review of Books in hand, with Dan Chiasson’s review of the new Selected Poems by Wallace Stevens.  We pored over the review, trying to find in poems the things Chiasson said were there to see.  I felt I had tiptoed up behind a group of elders, Helen Vendler and Harold Bloom chief among them, peaking over their shoulders for a glimpse of Susanna.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Field of My Dreams

I don’t recall which my dad taught me first – to throw a curveball or hit a curveball. Both skills were necessary for a budding baseball fan like his only daughter. Later lessons, like when to try the hit-and-run and why Richie Ashburn was one of the most underrated boys of summer, cemented my love for the game. By college I was sure I could only fall in love with someone who also understood the infield fly rule.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Leaping Lizards and Sarasota Sunsets

Something leaps off the wall onto my shoulder and we both jump in terror – the lizard lands lightly and speeds off into the undergrowth, I go back to clearing the steamy jungle that is my garden in summer.