Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We've been glued to coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Things just seem to get worse by the hour. It is awful. So many folks who have lost so much are those with the least to lose. It is really sad.

In my head, I keep hearing Lucinda Williams' great song about New Orleans "Crescent City". New Orleans might never be the same, a terrible thing because it is such a unique place.

Everybody's had a few
Now they're talking about who knows who
I'm going back to the Crescent City
Where everything's still the same
This town has said what it has to say
Now I'm after that back highway
And the longest bridge I've ever crossed over Pontchartrain
Tu le ton temps that's what we say
We used to dance the night away
Me and my sister me and my brother
We used to walk down by the river
Mama lives in Mandeville
I can hardly wait untilI can hear my Zydeco and laissez le bon ton roulet
And take rides in open cars
My brother knows where the best bars are
Let's see how these blues'll do in the town where the good times stay
Tu le ton temps that's all we say
We used to dance the night away
Me and my sister me and my brother
We used to walk down by the river

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Today is my baby sister Gina's fortieth birthday, which, to me, seems inconceivable. It was just yesterday that she was riding around on her Irish Mail, a really cool kid's four wheeled scooter that absolutely no one else in New Jersey had. (You have to give my parents credit. Their gifts were always unique and all the other kids always coveted our interesting toys.) Anyway, Gina's forty! Mind boggling! She's probably my best friend. We are very close. The past few months have been great for our relationship. She's been there for me my entire life, but recently we seem to have bonded in a more deep and meaningful way, which is saying a lot because we know almost everything there is to know about each other. She is a great sister, a great friend, and I treasure her. Everyone who knows her will agree - she is a very special, beautiful, intelligent, intuitive and kind woman. Happy Birthday G!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Here are some photos of our new home. Note the kitschy log cabin wallpaper in the living room, which we removed immediately as you can see in the after photographs!
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The front of our new home - 14 Colonial Avenue

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Before picture of the living room

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After pictures of the living room

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Front porch

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The yard

More to follow!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It’s been a week since we made settlement on the house and things are proceeding apace. The wallpaper has been removed and the living room has been painted, no thanks at all to me, who has banished from the job since I was basically told that I suck at it. Chris, Lisa Evans and Gina did the bulk of the work with some Friday night help from Joanna and Tom Bags. It was a gargantuan task made worse by the fact that I was sold the wrong primer and Chris and I being total novices, applied it in error necessitating a crazy amount of coats to go over it. John Baliski was suggesting we take out a Sopranos like contract on whoever gave me the bad advice at Home Depot.

Speaking of which, I have been in Home Depot and Lowe’s every single day since we moved. I like Lowe’s better, but there seem to be more people around at Home Depot. I also really like our local shop, Westmont Hardware, which is very old fashioned and the people really know their stuff. My good friend Reney Coburn, Queen of Hardware, scoffs at us when we shop at the big stores and tells us that we really ought to patronize the little guys. She’s right and I have been doing just that a bit. Their pricing is not that far off the big stores and the advice is invaluable.

Lynne was here all day yesterday helping paint the kitchen. She’s like a whirlwind! It has been great having so many people pitch in to help us. We’re thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity shown to us. Gina has been slaving in the dining room for days, with Lily and Jack even taking turns with the brush. Those kids are amazing!

Today we are supposed to take delivery of our new appliances. We ordered a range, fridge and dishwasher. The kitchen is shaping up BIG TIME!

More updates as I get a few minutes. Photos soon too.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

We made settlement on our beautiful new home in Haddonfield on Tuesday and have been working like crazy ever since then to make it habitable for us. This is not to suggest that it was uninhabitable, but as I posted previously, we wanted to make it ours and by removing wallapper and painting that is what we are achieving right now. It's actually sort of fun when it's your own place!

So, for the moment that's it. I'll be back in a few days with some before and after photographs.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yesterday we bought a used Volvo station wagon from Bill and Melissa's neighbor for me to tool around in. We need a car we can haul stuff around in and were thinking about a small SUV, but are just as happy to buy the tank like Volvo. I cannot wait to have the back of it filled with plants! Yippee!

We settle on the new place on Tuesday. We're getting excited and making all sorts of plans to put our own stamp on it. Fern has it very individually decorated to her taste, which is fine, but not to our taste at all, so we'll be making some changes immediately. The changes mostly consist of painting and wallpaper removal in two rooms. Everything else is fairly neutral. Simple stuff.
Lupa delivered big time. The food and atmosphere were both incredible. It was out the door mobbed so we were glad we had a reservation. We split prosciutto di parma, which was thinly sliced at the bar and absolutely delectable with the most elegant understated taste ever. Mmmmm/ Afterwards, we shared broccoli rabe and sausage with orrechiette. Fabulously simply and utterly wonderful. Then Chris had saltimbocca and I had a pork arista, a wonderful piece of the most juicy and tasty pork loin I have ever had, served with roasted fennel and onions. We shared a bottle of Salice Salentino and really enjoyed our night.

The next day I took two subways to the East Village so I could go to Katz's Deli to have one of their world famous hot pastrami sandwiches. Katz's has been around for over a hundred years and is my favorite deli on the planet. It is gritty and grimey, but you cannot beat their sandwiches. Fantastic! The owner sat down with me and chatted me up. When he found out I was from Philly, he questioned me abour cheesesteaks. It was fun talking to him. I felt like one of the celebrities whose photographs taken with the owner adorn the wall. One bit of Katz's trivia - it's where Sally demonsrates how easy it is for a woman to fake an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Chris came up to New York City on Monday for a week of work and since the company for whom he is consulting is putting him up at The Pierre, a lovely, elegant old world style hotel at 61st Street and Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park, I decided to join him. I came up yesterday afternoon and we had dinner at The Red Cat Cafe, a great little spot we'd enjoyed before, in Chelsea. With red barn wood, and Moroccan lanterns, the Red Cat is warm and comfortable with the din of people chatting and laughing, something I enjoy hearing when I am eating in a restaurant. I hate quiet, fussy places where people are talking in hushed tones. I had a nice piece of Atlantic Char atop a bed of caramelized onions, which was delicious. Chris had a pork loin in a red wine reduction, simple and delicious. I like the restaurant because it's casual and unpretentious, and a bit of a happening neighborhood spot. Friendly and with no attitude whatsoever. I hate when I get a waiter or waitress who deigns to wait on me. I want nice, efficient service witha smile, 'nuff said! The RedCat delivered on all fronts - ambience, food and service.

Today, I wandered up Madison Avenue to the Whitney Museum and looked at the great Edward Hoppers, perfectly American paintings which have moved me since I was a kid. That was a treat. Afterwards, I walked further uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and looked at some of the temporary exhibitions. There was a fun Chanel retrospective which was jam packed, but my favorite was "Matisse: The Fabric of Dreams, His Art and Textiles", which exhibit thrilled me with its originality and ingenuity. It tied his lush paintings, which were often painted with a backdrop of lush fabrics, to the fabric and clothing feauturedin the paintings. It was a great exhibit, a real example of why the Met is one of the world's leading museums.

It's hot as hell here, but I walked all day. To really experience this city, it's best done on foot. I love it here - it pulses and rocks 24/7.

Tonight we are going way downtown to Lupa, Mario Batali's fantastic restaurant, where I had one of the best wine soaked meals of my entire life a few years ago with John, Steve and Peggy. Here's hoping tonight's meal is as good!