Dear Mr. Chiarello,
When I watch the line up of Food TV shows on a Sunday when I should be
doing laundry or actually cooking a meal instead of watching someone else do it, getting ready to go to church, I watch in the following rotation:
Paula Dean because I lived in Memphis for years and she reminds me of my friends and although she does great "back of the box cooking", I would never make anything she makes because she could not pronounce "marinara" and had to get Molto Mario to do it for her.
During the next hour (Semi Homemade and Rachel Ray) I
take a shower, floss, paint my toenails, go to church.
At noon, I watch Giada because she's adorable and pronounces all the Italian words with a perfect accent and if Mr. Pom wanders in, he studies her rack.....of lamb.
Barefoot Contessa comes on next and I put off preparing lunch because someday I will write a best seller and buy her house in the Hamptoms with the hydrangea bushes all around and have a few guy friends come over for brunch lugged onto the beach by undocumented workers.
About this time, my family wanders in and wonders if I am ever going to finish getting dressed and maybe prepare Sunday dinner myself.
And I always end my culinary porn with you, Michael Chiarello, because you have that Napa lifestyle to die for, make great grilled meals, have access to all that California wine, and I can see myself making and serving almost everything you prepare. ≈
Sorry, but parents who are concerned about the ingredients their children are eating are not parents who will make chocolate peanut butter cups. Maybe soy-based cocoa cups with homeground cashew butter. And the banana chips? Clever tie-in with The King, but any kid with any self-respect would flick those babies off the candy and into the bushes when nobody was looking.So really, I think it was a clever but superfluous addition that some upstart junior production assistant talked you into.
But cool to show up in my comments.
P.S. Don't let them bump you off the 1:00 slot on Sundays for that sexy twit Nigella! Men are not watching Food TV at 1:00 on Sunday (football) and no woman wants to see her vamping around in that silk robe, preparing raspberry trifle for breakfast with friends. I'd much rather watch you grill corn with rosemary brushes and cayenne pepper and kosher salt. See, you've got me all hungry and all we have tonight is Chinese.....
Let's still be friends, kay?
Is going directly on my hips. What is it about the change of seasons, especially autumn's lengthening that causes the body to crave carbohydrates, slow-cooked dinners, savory stews, pancakes, bacon, and all the comfort foods that kill us?
Comfort but kill.
But I digress.
I am chained to the art room this weekend, finishing the artwork for the magazine's next issue. I am, as usual, hating what I've done, but sticking with it because it's due IN TWO DAYS!
Sorry to yell. I've just gotten used to it as I remind family members that no, I can't go to the movies, take them shopping, buy groceries, cook, do laundry, pick up the dry cleaning, deposit checks, or pay bills. Instead I am .....well, all I say is that it involves fruit and beads. Seriously. I am sick. I always pick these labor intensive projects and then wail and cry that my hand is permanently bent into crablike pincers, my eyes are killing me, and my back is cramped up. Wah Wah Wah!
Actually, it's been fun to be moored in the house with The Princess and The Young One. The former is working on her resume and staying in her pajamas all day and the latter is working on a powerpoint presentation about Campagna, Italy. At several points during the day, we were all on laptops in my room, with a cooking show on, tea cups at the elbow, the bed spread with the Sunday papers and the yards of fabric and beads. Mr. Pom walked in the bedroom, looking for a space on the bed to lie down and read the paper. We just looked up and he turned in disgust and went upstairs with his tail between his legs and hung out in the kids' TV room (adults who enter are given inoculations to ward off disease). It was at that point that I realized I had finally recreated my own childhood, which consisted of various combination of sisters and my mother hanging out on her bed and waiting for the low sister on the totem pole to bring up a tray of tea and cookies. I love it!
We watched Giada make Halloween candy - a brittle of almonds and dried apricots. The girls said gross and I said it was gourmet TV idea of candy and not fit for handing out to costumed children expecting good old fashioned rot your teeth out Milky Ways and Starburst
As an an aside, the Pom household will not be handing out anything healthy at Halloween, including little pots of Play Dough. If you come here, you will get candy that will make you fat, make your teeth erode, but will not contain razor blades or pins. Enough said.
Michael Chiarello made his own peanut butter cups with banana chips. Yes, banana chips. Allegedly a throwback to Elvis. First question: why the hell would anyone make peanut butter cups when Reese's did it first. Second question: Banana chips? Get over yourself.
There is a lamb roast and mashed potatoes planned for dinner. The early rising Poms have already been out to breakfast and back. (Loving this gain an hour until it gets dark). I had Greek yogurt that stood up to a spoon, and bacon, an egg, and seven grain toast. The Young One had silver dollar pancakes and bacon. I see toast and grilled cheese in the offing at teatime. (I'm watching Nigella and my Anglophilia is at full tilt.)
Thank you all for the comments regarding my watercolor disaster. I will do something with it after I am done with this project and then I'll let y'all see it. God knows what torture she has planned for this week. I did so well the first two weeks - fruit and then glass bottles. Shoulda quit when I was ahead. But then what kind of art wimp would I be?
Cheers from Your Most Competitive Amateur Artist,
I know, dear readers, that you picture my life as a series of Polaroid snapshots of beaches, sketchbooks, pots of tea, metal pans of paints, and rooms scented with the citrus of Earl Grey and buttery with shortbread cookies.
But no. I spend my days in a suit, pound the pavement, and surprise judges and impress clients with my wit and wisdom.
Or something like that.
And worse, lately I am more management than litigator, stuck behind a desk, in meetings discussing skill sets and new hires, and documenting hours spent by staff at tasks.
So Wednesday is the night I live my real life, and I measure my week in befores and afters. My night to escape, dear readers, to watercolor class, a luscious evening of paper and paints and concentrating on nothing more than the granulation of Prussian blue across the page and watching salt crystallize my alizarin crimson. For that two and half hours I am neither awake nor asleep, but in a heady daze as I stare at whatever I am painting and down again at my board.
It is like a one night art retreat and last week, when I had a migraine, I almost cried to miss the evening led by the lovely Laura, our teacher par excellence.
So I went last night, ready to feel the uplift of artistic camaraderie and the rush of opening my palette and making the hard cakes bleed color across my page. Leaves, we were to paint leaves. Wet on wet. A scrumptious exercise in the triad of red, yellow, blue.
Wet the entire page if you are brave, she said. Drop in blobs of color. If you can't bring yourself to do it, just wet the leaf shape.
I such a sucker for a challenge.
So I wet the paper. The entire paper. I began to drop in blobs of color, which spread across my carefully penciled in leaf shapes. And spread. And spread. And spread.
Oh! What delightful shading! What granulation! What color!
Where the hell are the leaf shapes?
What leaf shapes?
The lovely lady next to me was carefully mottling her beautifully shaded maple leaf. The woman across the way was skillfully reproducing the exact shading of a cluster of oak leaves. The instructor was fine tuning her own painting, adding dramatic shadows.
All right. I can rescue this. I took some salt and spread it out. I watched it suck up paint, leaving crystalline tracery across the paper. Then I used the blow dryer to dry the pooling paint. I began loading my brush with indigo and painting in the negative space between the leaves and suddenly, my random splatters became yellow, magenta, and sap green leaves that jumped off the page as bright as a day under an October bowl of sky.
Until, until, I began to relax and feel the knots of the day and the weariness of the hour ease and I painted as busy as a bee in one corner, lifting the leaf by deepening the shadow of midnight blue that appeared to lay under it and, while my awareness fell away, one leaf gave a shudder and broke the dam and the cad yellow escaped into in the Prussian blue and the magenta followed and my sky of flying leaves turned into a sea of mud.
Picture, you would like a picture, dear Reader? Just imagine if you will a big smear of greenish gray befouling an already blurry canvas of shapes and fields of deepest blue. Imagine a gash and a bleeding artery across a swath of silk.
My instructor is immediately at my side. Dry it and paint over...crop it, this side is nice, it's okay, you can rework it, or start anew.
Imagine me too tired to fix it, too bleary-eyed to go on, and packing up my painting kit and slinking off to my car, throwing the board in the back, not caring if it ran or smeared.
But then, come morning, it doesn't look quite so bad. I could crop it, or maybe rework that corner.....or just paste a damn leaf over it.
After all, that's why they call it a watercolor "class".
And no -
there's no photo!
Several people have written to me that they are having trouble with the word authentication that Typepad employs. I have turned if off for now and if I don't get pinged to death with spam, which is why I turned it on in the first place, I'll keep it off.
Thanks to all who let me know - I thought my comments were way down!
Almost there. Spent yesterday and today working on the artwork for the next issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. The idea jelled yesterday morning after I discovered two other projects I had worked on. I stuck with it most of yesterday afternoon and managed to get past the critical point when I absolutely hate what I've done. And then it survived the morning after test, that being that I didn't want to puke when I saw it the next morning.
I write about creativity for every issue of the magazine. And for every issue, I go through the excruciating process of making the creativity come true for me. I am confident in my writing abilities, but I am a relative newbie, totally untrained, in all aspects of art, and the confidence to publish artwork for all the world to see, well, I usually don't think of it that way or I'll never send it in. I like to just think I'm doing a little illustration for the editors and they can reject it if they think it stinks. And then I see it there when the magazine is published and take a big gulp and hope nobody will throw any email tomatoes at me.
So I do practice what I preach, and believe me, I try to remember what I've written because each time a commission is due, I flounder wildly until i make myself go back to what I know best and take the time to sit with it. I write and make art from the inside out. I never have an outline, though I do sketch thumbnails and try out colors and techniques in a smaller format. But there's usually at least two discarded projects that don't make the cut.
It takes both guts and foolhardiness; a soft heart and a hard head; experience and innocence; rebellion and trust.
You need a thick skin to put your soul out there, whether you dance, sing, write, paint, sculpt, weave, garden, act, or play an instrument. It's much easier to remain quiet on the sidelines and keep to what is safe and known.
If for nothing else, my husband and I will always share a love of house and home. We met a long time ago, first loves for both of us. And when we were just teens struggling through high school, college, and first jobs, we already knew that we wanted the whole white picket fence American family dream.
And I think we achieved it.
We were the only ones of our crowd that spent Sunday afternoons driving in the country looking at houses. I can still recall a drive through the upper reaches of Westchester County, and a particular house near the road, with red siding and a low stone wall, and the yellow daffodils that popped against the red walls. I wanted that antique farm house, the ancient wall, the frilly daffodils, the gravel driveway, and the grapevine wreath on the heavy oak front door.
Our love for houses had us taking jobs all over the United States so we could experience a ranch house in California with a black bottom pool and our own orange tree. We didn't know we had to prop up the branches of the persimmon tree when it fruited and one of them broke. I felt we'd failed as stewards of that land, but we muddled on, planting Sago palms, wondering when the white peaches would ripen - they don't turn orange - they're white peaches - and we coveted the neighbor's lemon tree that hung tantalizingly out of reach across the fence.
But before that, before we left New York, we bought our first house up county. It wasn't in the swanky horse towns on the east side, but in the scruffy, car-in-the-yard summer communities near the Hudson. It sat on half a level acre, with "park-like grounds" or so the ad said. The entire first floor, ceilings and walls, were paneled in a thick, knotty pine that had turned orange over the years. There was a large brick fireplace, a tiny kitchen, a bay window with nooks and crannies for books, and a sunny small enclosed porch that looked out on the ancient sugar maple that blazed all fall.
How could I not buy a hosue where the owners were picking blackberries when we arrived and showed us the bee hives and the shed where they collected their own honey? Down the street was the lake and we owned a little sliver of a dock plot and rights to the community beach. The houses were half summer residents and half year round and most were hidden behind a wall of pine or towering privet hedges.
It would take us through the first year to discover that the septic backed up into the cellar, that the waterline from the street froze if it went below ten degrees, and that the romantic casement windows leaked air like a fan on a hot summer's day.
We took it in stride. We were busy having babies and making friends and planting gardens and growing tomatoes and even corn one year. We transplanted dozens of hostas from my parents' back yard and planted a pastel garden of bearded Iris. We waited for the giant mountain laurel to bloom against the garage each spring and we looked forward to roasting hotdogs over a bonfire at the neighborhood Halloween party at the lake. I spent snowy days at playgroups at friends' houses where we let the kids run wild from morning till night when the husbands all slogged home from the train from the city. We babysat each other's kids, learned to quilt, spent too much money at the new mall that opened a few miles away, consoled each other through divorces, nursed each other through illnesses, brought casseroles and pies after births, and became a family of friends.
That's the one thing I miss since we've moved back to our hometown. We are too far from our first house to go back regularly and most of us moved out over the years anyway. I have my sisters and a few very old friends from law school, but there's no community here for us. We barely know our neighbors and our kids are mainly grown so we don't have the carpools and baseball games that brought us friends. I miss having Friday night wine and cheese on he front lawn with whomever was out walking their dogs. I miss knowing the names and ages of all the kids in the neighborhood. I long for the society of women that was mine in Memphis.
Perhaps it's time to move on again.
It's been a busy two weeks, what with the birthday party at one end, the two trips upstate, and now the deadline for the next issue of the magazine coming up. My ideal plan for today would be to sit myself in a cafe and paint whatever I'm eating, a la Paris Breakfasts, but I can't. I have to come up with the artwork for the magazine and I am woefully behind this time. I have two ideas: one is too ambitious for the time I have left, and the other is very simple, but that means it has to be very, very good, and I'm not sure my watercolor skills are up to it yet.
Should be a very interesting weekend. I'll see how much I can procrastinate before I begin. Like writing this post, for instance! Told Mr. Pom to lock me in my bedroom and then changed my mind since there's the TV and laptop and books and mags in here. So he needs to lock me in the artroom and there actually is a lock on the outside since it once was a nursery and I guess the owners wanted to ensure their bedroom privacy....not that we need to!
Only kidding,Mr. Pom.
So I went to the attorney conference, which in years past is usually when they tell us they're cutting half the staff or increasing our pendings by 100%, and the rest of the time is for seeing how many shots we can do. This year, there were no dire announcements, and cutting it down to one night cut down how much damage we could inflict on ourselves at the bar. Being a total poop head, I cut out at 9:00 to watch Grey's Anatomy and to luxuriate in having a clean, decorated, quiet hotel room with a king sized bed and no one in it but me.
Unless you have a partner who snores, you may not appreciate my reveling. Alone.
But it was glorious.
So you guys get out in the autumnal splendor and rake some leaves for me, roast some hot dogs over a leaf fire, collect some acorns and chestnuts and have a beer. Me, I'll be staring at my art desk and pleading with Mr. Pom to tell me where he hid the laptop so I can surf and play Bubble Shooter.
Sorry to be so quiet this week. We are at a conference and the first part of the week was working 12 hour days to catch up so we could leave with all our cases covered. I even missed my watercolor class because I had a little virus and was in bed one night at 8:00 p.m.
Today we drive home early and don't have to return to the office. I swear I am not even going in the building even though I am carpooling with my boss. No, I will not. No. She can't make me...right?
Actually, she's as anxious to go home as I am. Working and going away has left my house and kids in shambles. We've had one home cooked meal in the last week and The Young One has declared a moratorium on any more pasta and salad meals. She's asked me to teach her a few basic suppers that she can prepare or get started when I am working late. The other night I showed her how to make a one dish meal of rice, chicken, mushroom, broccoli, and asparagus (or whatever vegetables are in the oven. I might get a cook out of this! The Princess is sending resumes and beginning the scary and exhilarating process of figuring out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. And Mr. Pom is working as hard and long - longer - than I am, so I envision the weekend as quiet, some leaf raking, some fires, and a lot of bottles of red wine.
I will be taking a walk in the neighborhood I grew up in because I know there are chestnut trees there and I've promised Joelle a conkers package.
I am woefully behind in answering emails and comments and I hope to catch up this weekend. I have a fiber art project that's due Nov. 1st, so I'll be home sewing. One more breakfast meeting to go and we're hitting the road home. It's raining and dreary, but on the way up, the trees were magnificent!
Parkways lined by trees in a paint by number box.
October sun slants shadows long as knives across the fields.
Smoky evenings lit by the glitter of moonglow.
Drunken bees gorge on our paper cups of cider.
And The Pomegranates play with squash.
If you never let them play with guns, this is what happens.
Oh, that's better, cell squashes are much more friendly.
While the rest of the family is scientifically selecting the best Pom Pumps,
Some are playing with their food.
And although The Pomegranates subscribe to the No Pumpkin Left Behind Program,
no matter how strong you are,
or how much you try to stare me down,
gosh durn it, the pumpkins
still have to fit in the damn car!
I know - it's just overnight, but I'm 2/3's through Broken For You and don't know what I'll be in the mood to start next.
For car viewing:
I love this magazine. It's the UK Country Living and puts all our "Country....insert home/cottage/house, etc" to shame. Gorgeous and with actual articles about the country, not just three layouts of three houses you can never afford to own and if you did you could never afford or have the taste or time to furnish. I finally found a subscription source in New York - but of course, it never came this month so Thursday I bought it at Borders and you know - it came on Friday. So now I have an extra copy and the first person who comments here will get it! My, this is my first contest here at pomegranatesandpaper. I'm all a tingle.
I have to pack now as we're leaving in a half hour. And wash my hair. And round up the knitting, camera, watercolor Moleskine, and my watercolors. See you in the funny pages and all that.
We are headed upstate this weekend to visit Mystery Man for Parents Weekend. We are even going to go to the frat house, which we've never visited because The Princess went and warned us that we'd freak out at the mess. It was cleaned and polished this year, and even all the holes in the wall from frat boys putting their first through them were patched by MM himself. No, not for our visit, but because the national council is coming. [What's up with the punching holes in the wall? I remember Chris K. punching his fist through the wall in my girlfriend's room in college. What's up with that, college guys?]
We haven't been to Parents Weekend since first year, and Mr. Pom has never made it. We had reservations to go freshmen year, but Mr. Pom's back was so bad I had to go alone and we were all pretty bummed by that. But this year, his back just hurts at it's normal level, so if I drive both ways, we should be able to be out and about the campus and eat in a few restaurants. I'm really looking forward to seeing the foliage and picking up some apples and pumpkins.
And we will be going out to a nice restaurant Saturday night because lo and behold Mystery Man was offered a full time job for the spring and summer semesters! As part of the program, the engineering students are encouraged to find full time jobs in their field. The Job Fair was a few weeks ago and we bought him a new suit, and he got an offer last week. He'll be working for a company that specializes in water....yeah, I have no idea what that means, but it involves providing "water solutions" all over the world.
Ironically, he got the job because he did a project last year on water distribution methods in third world countries. At the time, he was pissed that he was assigned this project, while other kids got sexy projects like redesigning the Frisbee. Now I ask you, how many companies were there looking for Frisbee redesigners, huh?
I don't know whether Mr. Pom is more ecstatic that the boy got a job or that we don't have to pay tuition next semester. It's a toss up.
Me, I'm thrilled for him, but wondering how he will adjust to working full time and living alone in the wilds of Connecticut and whether he'll ever have any clean, unwrinkled clothes to wear. Oh, and food besides McDonald's. The transformation had already begun from boy to man when he first grew those thin sideburns and skinny goatee so popular with the late teen crowd. It took me months to get over the rite of passage of college. I didn't expect him to enter the real world so quickly, the world I'll have no control over. It was hard enough to leave him at the dorm, and then the frat house, but now, a full time job a few hours away, in housing we cannot select or approve, with meals, and laundry, and bosses, and demands? No one to tell him to change his shorts after five days??
I did have a moment's pause when he called me and told me he had a job but didn't say where it was. My God, would he be .....living at home??? Because now I've totally adjusted to his being away. And this year, it was Mr. Pom's turn to take on the job of cleaning the boy's room after he left, and it was quite a job, and I had just gotten used to keeping the door open and looking at the lovely walls and carpeting - they're usually not visible during the summer months - fog and all that....But no, he won't be moving home and in fact won't be home all summer it seem except on weekends.
Now we just have to break it to him that he and The Young One are switching rooms. Luckily, I know he never reads the blog. But The Girlfriend does. K., be kind - tell him for us!
The casual elegance of summer has faded and the house is calling for some attention. All the beach towels were washed and packed away in the canvas beach bags in the attic. One by one, the air conditioners are popped out of the windows and the beach equipment was put up on the joists of the garage. After Mystery Man left for college and The Princess went on her trip, Mr. Pom and I took the leaves out of the dining room table and closed it up.
I decided to make more of an effort with my eating habits. Breakfast (most days) is no longer coffee and a roll in the car on the way to court. I try to get up early enough to eat yogurt and fruit and sit at my table like a civilized human being, or just not a busy mother. A nice cloth, a little still life on a tray, and the antique oak table that we've had for 25 years becomes a quiet spot to eat and draw, with still enough room for dinner for four.
These plates belonged to my grandmother, along with the green Depression glass sugar and creamer. I've been looking online for more of the dishes, but I can't find that pattern. I love the border of acorns and leaves.
This side-by-side or Victorian what-not is in the corner of the dining room. My platters that don't fit anywhere are peeking out from underneath. We bought it at the same time as the table in a great antique store in Cold Spring, New York. Over the years, the oak veneer starting chipping and peeling off and when I had some time on my hands two years when I had knee surgery, I decided to go all MacKenzie-Childs and paint it. My mother in law still blanches every time she sees it. I think it came out cute and, hopefully, it won't take me another 2 years to paint the feet and scrape the paint off the mirror....
Aren't these polka dot beauties adorable? My friend, Rachel a/k/a the Cookie Fairy, sent me these one day when should thought I need a little pick-me-up.
In the other corner is a table draped with a cloth that belonged to my mother. On top is a big blue bowl that my sisters gave us for our 10th wedding anniversary. Behind it is a new platter I bought in Cape Cod. It's destined to hold seafood on Christmas Eve.
Someday we'll blow out the wall all this furniture is on and extend the dining room. We'll knock down the wall on the other side of the room and open up the kitchen. We'll extend the porch and glass it in. We'll redo our horrid kitchen. But first, we'll win the lottery. Or not. And just enjoy our cottage.
I love these smoky days where the sun hides behind the grey of low level clouds and the smell of cut grass is replaced by the tang of leaves decaying. My lawn is riddled with holes as the squirrels search for grubs. Acorns rain down on my porch roof, sounding as if someone is throwing marbles at the roof. I succumb to the season and buy two big, fat, bloody red mums and plop them on the front porch steps. Mr. Pom hangs his spider lights and the dotted, plastic, chubby creatures encircle the leaves that remain on the weeping cherry tree by the front door.
No frost yet, so we have the best of both seasons: the impatiens are leggy but brilliant, and my sister has a beautiful stand of Montauk daisies that are in full bloom, but everything is raggedy and slowly losing the brilliant greens of summer. Last week we had an 80 degree day and as I sat on the porch after work, I could pretend it was summer if I ignored the few flashes of yellow and orange in the trees. I noticed that my mountain laurel seems to think it is spring and the tight buds are unfurling purple. Now I worry that they will be winter-killed and we'll have none for spring.
The sage is still green and will stay so at least until Thanksgiving, when it will go under the skin of our turkey in a pretty pattern.
This rosemary bush over-wintered last year, but that's the first time I've managed to keep rosemary alive from one year to the next in New York. It's up against the garage wall and gets the southern exposure. If Fluffernutter doesn't dig it up, we might have it again next year. The creeping thyme that surrounded it seems to have not survived the Fluff's last digging adventure. Lately, she goes out into the yard in the morning and begins to dig and then starts barking into the hole incessantly. Neither the Young One nor I care to see what she's found and are afraid she'll appear at the door with whatever she's dragged out of the dirt. But yesterday she went to the groomer's and she's at her loveliest, and has been banned for any off-the-leash forays into the piles of leaves, though I know there's the scent of something feral she's dying to uncover.
Tomorrow is Columbus Day. I always remembered the leaves in full color by that day in lower New York, but we've only seen flashes of red this year. The dogwoods are turning first and the display this year is muted. Next weekend, we're going upstate and I expect a Technicolor ride.
The grandmothers are coming for The Princess's birthday dinner. Her 22nd birthday dinner! We're having a Pomegranate Dinner, the same dinenr my mother made for every celebratory weekend meal: roast beef, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and artichokes, the bounty of the harvest. The Princess will get a strawberry shortcake for her birthday cake and Mr. Pom's mom, whose birthday is a day later, will receive a raspberry mousse cake for hers. I bought a fat, seeded Challah for breaking bread, and there's some sharp provolone to nibble at while the eye round cooks. The sun is out and if it warms up a few degrees, we'll have wine on the porch.
Go outside and crunch some acorns underfoot, find some horse chestnuts, drill a hole, thread with a shoelace and pair off for a game of conkers.
Sometimes I spend my days underground.
In the basement of an office building that houses the offices of court reporters.
Very Urban Bleak House.
With it's own legend:
The giant rat that fell out of a ceiling tile onto the deposition room table and was trapped by an overturned garbag pail placed by a fearless, blonde, leggy, loud-mouthed female attorney.
But usually, it's pretty boring.
Jokes are often passed that when the bomb falls, we'll all be safe.
There could be a riot, explosion, tornado, or all three, and the attorneys would continue with their examinations before trial, not knowing if the sun is out or it's snowing in our windowless bunker, until we emerge like mole rats, blinking in the daylight.
But yesterday, the mood was palpably tense as attorneys and witnesses snapped at each other, rushing through as fast as possible.
1:00 Play Off game at Yankee Stadium postponed by rain delay from the night before.
Which is right across the street.
What a difference a game day makes.
Double decker hordes of people streaming from subways, cars, buses, and on foot.
Who would think this many people could take the day off from work? If you see your "sick" employee here, be kind.
But before you get to the stadium, you need to eat -
That's 5 bucks for a stick o' meat. Gnarly.
And drink, lord, there's a whole lot of beer going down -
It's sunny, get a hat.
Baseball's nasty - get a t-shirt:
Or a gen-you-ine full-color work of art
Well-fed, well-drunk, hatted, shirted, artistically enriched, I follow the crowd to the game.
I don't have a ticket to the game.
I have to go back to work.
I have to figure out how to get my car out of here.
Or maybe I'll just go join the crowd at Stan's Sports and have another stick o' meat.
Last spring I started reading Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries. How could I resist a book that combines cooking and diaries? My plan was to refer to it month-by-month and be inspired by his seasonal cooking with fresh ingredients to kick up my repertoire. Like all good plans, I managed to observe it for awhile and then forget about it. But today I took the book out from under my bedside lamp and dusted off the cover.
October's entries do not disappoint. You can go right to the website and click on the index for the book and just the titles will have your mouth watering:
Damn, I'm out of pigeon! And I have no idea what luganega sausage is, nor do I have any juniper - not sure if the scraggly pine outside is juniper, tho it does have berries. (Is juniper a pine or a fir or neither?)
But the first of October is a day to haul out the stock pot and make something autumnal. A long, dark, rainy Sunday, and what I do have in the larder is all the ingredients for a savory stew: a London broil, Yukon gold potatoes, and chunky carrots from the farmer's market. Rosemary from the bush besides the garage, and bay leaves from a bottle. (How I wish I had taken our little bay bush with us from Memphis. I never see fresh bay here unless I go into the city.)
A bottle of Beaujolais finds it's way in and it perfumes the house like a sacramental wine, but I make sure to leave enough for a glass with Mr. Pom at lunch. My family's touch to the stew: add a bag of frozen peas right before serving. The heat of the stew defrosts them and they remain bright green and crunchy. [Editor's note: I wrote this before I watched Barefoot Contessa do the same thing today. Her stew's got nothing on mine!]
Bread of choice: seeded Italian, but today we are having refrigerator biscuit. Italians don't make biscuits from scratch. At least mine didn't. My one foray in to the biscuit-making country was a disaster. And hey, the kids think refrigerator roll biscuits are holiday cooking!
Go forth and make thee something seasonal.
And if it includes an apple crisp, we'll be receiving visitors between two and four. And please bring the clotted cream: we're all out.