Monday, November 26, 2007

post Thanksgiving post

This Thanksgiving I again have much to give thanks for:

A new house growing into a home and the friends who have graced it
Basil and tomatoes grown from seeds
A sunny porch, blooming flowers and hummingbirds
The laughter of my daughters
Pleasant work with great clients which affords a steady supply of good coffee, hot showers, gas for road trips, great books, dinners with friends, guitar lessons, DSL, the occasional weekend excursion, pair of boots, gifts for loved ones and sometimes strangers, music, potlucks, picnics and thrift store surprises.
My parents, siblings and in-laws, nieces, nephews, and Grandad, not near but never far
Our new cat Libbles
The neighbors our kids will grow up with as extended family
The creative energy and inspiration of friends old and new
The school bus
Time off
Bonfires, bikerides and hiking trails
The Rocheport General Store
The handsome, funny, creative and loving guy who ensures my life is never dull
The One from whom all things are given

We had the luxury of spending an entire week with family and friends at my parents home in Dallas. Hayley informed her teacher that she would be "flunking" Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. On the trip down, we spent a night at the Raphael, our favorite hotel in Kansas City, shopped, ate sushi, caught the opening of a friend from Columbia's photography at a gallery and toured the new wing of the Nelson-Atkins. While in the DFW area we shopped, ate more sushi and visited the Kimball Art Museum in Ft. Worth and their exhibit The Earliest Christian Art which included works never before moved from their origins, works from the Vatican and rare works dating to the 5th century. After that we walked over to the Modern Art Museum and saw the exhibit Defining Spaces which included works by Rothko and Yves Klein among others. But the best time was hanging out with family around the kitchen table, a simple and profound pleasure too few and far between as we're scattered over several states. Also, a day spent with old friends from Houston which included lunch with my friend Karen over a bottomless mug, delicious for much more than my grilled sandwich and the conversation which outlasted the coffee. A long ride back, hitting the Flint Hills of Kansas as sun set, arriving in Rocheport in the light of a full moon, walking into the house that is, finally, thankfully, home.

This from the current issue of Sun:
Enter each day with the expectation that the happenings of the day may contain a clandestine message addressed to you personally. Expect omens, epiphanies, casual blessings, and teachers who unknowingly speak to your condition.-Sam Keen

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The word of the day is

These luxuriously languid days of autumn, later than usual, still burnished with sun and fair breezes, are slowly receeding, evening chill arriving a little sooner and staying a little longer, the calendar beginning to evince the demands of the gauntlet that lurks between Thanksgiving and New Year's. I've cut back my dead plants, ceramic pots sit on the deck empty and forlorn, the porch stripped of its lush greenery. The bulbs I collected from my potted tulips last spring are in the ground. Tasks are mounting on the to-do list and the situation will only intensify until the cresendo of Christmas Day. I'm relishing these last moments of (relative) calm, anticipating the celebration of Thanksgiving with family and close friends before the madness really kicks into high gear. Each year I determine to pace things so as to be able to carry out these seasonal tasks with a higher ratio of enjoyment to stress. Which means I should have begun Christmas shopping a month ago. Oh well.
If you haven't checked, the word of the day is "flaneur:" one who strolls about aimlessly; a lounger; a loafer. I'd say that word has shown up about 4 months too soon, but I'm saving a place for it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Last weekend a small group of art junkies from Columbia boarded a train an hour and a half north of here at the tiny La Plata Station and got off in downtown Chicago for three days of SOFA. The train ride was enjoyable enough but when we emerged from the station I practically yelped with joy at being again in a big city. A BIG city. As we hauled our suitcases the four or five blocks down Adams to our hotel I thrilled to the pace, the noise, the vibe, the verticle architecture looming on all sides. It was my first time to Chicago, a great city, something I'd been told by everyone who'd ever visited there but now I can say it myself.

This trip revolved around the SOFA exhibit and extended explorations of the Art Institute (we were there for the opening of the Jasper Johns Gray Showand Museum of Contemporary Art. I had no idea Chicago was so art rich. We could see most of a Calder sculpture from our hotel window, a couple of blocks from that, a tile mural by Chagall lined the bottom of an office building. Frank Gehry's Pavilion/sculpture at Millenium Park, "Cloud Gate", Anish Kapoor's public sculpture known locally as the "bean," the Crown Fountain's 50 foot illuminated glass block towers by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa were among the highlights of our walk from the Art Institute toward the "Magnificent Mile" which, in my mind, was notable not for it's array of endless shops but it's crowds--throngs of people jostling for real estate on the sidewalk and inside every store.

Making our way down Michigan Ave to Chicago Ave, where we crammed our way inside the American Girl and Hershey stores, was a gauntlet, relieved on one block with a performance by the silver man. Between museum visits, we tried Chicago deep dish pizza at Giordano's, had British fare at the Elephant and Castle and shopped at the MCA store where I was happy to discover (and purchase) a Camilla Engman wallet.
I must say though, after three days of banging elbows everywhere we went, it was nice to return to our happy, quiet "little" city and take a big breath of fresh air no one else was in line for.