Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Freeze frame...

It seems I have had a camera in my hands for a really long time. I may not be good, and I may not know exactly what I'm doing, but somehow, the moment was captured.

For the three of you who have been following this blog, you'll know that I have posted a few pix from the past. You also know that I joined Facebook back in September for a job-related reason. I was asked to learn the ins and outs of FB. So, I did. I may have mentioned this before, but through FB, I found a lot of old neighborhood friends. Recently, some folks I used to fly with have been joining. It is so nice to catch up with everyone, and yet it is funny how my life seems to be broken into segments of location.

The most important location has been that of my pre-teen years... or, as we called it, "Wilmont Turnpike". In 1969, my family, along with many others, moved to a new Levitt development on Long Island, fondly known as the "W" section. We were phase 2 of Strathmore East. We all came from different backgrounds, left our familiar schools and friends and merged in this magical moment of 1969. Together, we watched Apollo 11 land on the moon, and the phenomenon that was Woodstock play out on radio and TV news broadcasts. The Mets won the World Series, and we were turned on to Jethro Tull by Mr. T. ;-)

We erected tree forts and mud constructions, played in the foundations of the sections still being built. If our mothers only knew what we were up to... no cell phones, no SMS, no GPS... we were out there, on our own, and no one worried.

These days, it just isn't the same. As one friend said, this just doesn't happen anymore... it's Wii... PSP, iPhone, iPod.... iWhatever....

I haven't posted since President Obama's inauguration. (Yeah, I said, "President" Obama!) It's been just over a week since he has been in office, and there seems to be a trend to get back to basics. (Haven't I written about this before? [Yes.])

I just want to say, go build a tree fort with your kids. Take the time to share some music. Watch a ball game together. Plant some potatoes, carrots, root vegetables. (I wish I had a garden.) Slow down. The world is in a recession. As another friend said, "Eat pie."

This freeze-frame moment can't be wrong...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It’s a beautiful day...

Change has come to America! Peace, dignity, integrity... a new beginning.

I'll write some more later; today has been a moment in history. Had calls from the US, friends on Skype and Facebook... it feels like we are unified once again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Glass Ceiling...

Lunch, mentoring, and a good boogie...

Yesterday I had lunch with Stephen at Le Printemps under the stained glass dome. If you recall, I met him in December when my flight was canceled out of IAD to CDG. We stayed in touch through email and finally had a chance to get together for a meal and conversation. He's a great guy, witty, intelligent, and gracious enough to allow me to bounce some ideas around.

My life has taken some twists and turns over the last few months. I am a strong believer in fate, and I believe that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Which brings me to where I am today; learning a new metier. Perhaps it isn't so much learning as it is putting into use what I have already learned, but didn't have need for, or so I thought. Timing is everything.

Over the years, I have had the great fortune to be blessed with several mentors; those people who come into your life, take an interest and give you a mind meld like no other. Many of those lessons I hold close, others... meh. (Sometimes the "reason for everything" just doesn't hold water.)

My most recent venture is one that I have been preparing for for most of my life. If you've been one of my faithful three readers, you'll know that I love typography and layout. It is a coming together of words and fonts, the message and media, the serif and sans serif. In 10th grade, my art teacher gave us a sheet of acetate, a font book, a pot of paint, a paint brush and said "match a word to the font; give it style!" My word was Boogie. I used a serif font. It was orange. The well-rounded o's became bodies with jiving stick legs. The capital B and gorgeous, squiggly lowercase g gave it rhythm. I was so in my element.

It wasn't until decades later, after I had been living in Paris for a few years, that I had the opportunity to revisit my letter love affair. At the same time, I learned about computers, desktop publishing and layout... the pieces of the puzzle that make a page come together. That led to a bit of copy writing and editing, which brings me to the present.

I have been entrusted with the role of communications for the folks I am working with. I have the wonderful opportunity to define the position and learn from experienced professionals. Once again, I am in my element.

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
~Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better...

As part of my quest to "Make it Better" this year, I finally tied on the apron, donned the rubber gloves and deep cleaned my kitchen. I learned two things. Dust and grease... nasty combination... but Mr Propre, the new "Eclair" series... I'm in love! The kitchen is gleaming! Kinda like his shiny, bald head!

In my former life (Before Paris) I considered myself to be quite the chef. I loved to cook! Wherever I had a layover, I tried to scope out the local markets and bring back a cool gadget or an exotic spice. I was a cooking show addict before the Food Network existed; I loved watching Julia Child and Graham Kerr. My roommate and I hosted some pretty tasty dinner parties. Then I moved to France.

One thing you need to know about French apartments, the only thing that comes equipped is the sink. My first apartment had a round wall (the other side of the stairwell), a large ceramic sink and an empty light socket hanging from the ceiling. Our 50 boxes of belongings had not yet arrived and all I could think was 17 of those 50 boxes is my kitchen stuff, where am I going to put it?

You very quickly learn how to downsize. I didn't know what to pack, so I packed everything; from a paper towel holder (too big!) to a turkey roasting pan (also too big!). I ended up doing a massive sort and figured out how to angle a medium size roasting pan into my small size oven. I now have a larger oven, but I still don't have a paper towel holder!

Which brings me to the deep-clean process. Three of those 17 kitchen boxes were just cookbooks! While I pulled them down and dusted them off, I reminisced about where each one came from... The Joy of Cooking was given to me by my grandmother, (I also have her personalized copy of The Gourmet Cookbook from 1950.) The New York Times Menu Cookbook was my mom's, my aunt gave me The Way to Cook, I picked up Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques following some classes I did there and Saveurs Américaines is signed by the author, Connie Borde, another American in Paris.

Connie's book is great in that she took American favorites and translated them into French, measurements and ingredients included! Another treasure is The A-Z of French Food, a descriptive bilingual glossary from Scribo Editions.

These days, it is easier to find a recipe or technique on the net, but I still find joy in leafing through the pages, grease spots and all.

It's getting better all the time...