Tuesday, March 10, 2015

a country weekend

We are climbing the walls around here, so it was nice
to escape to the Catskills for a weekend.

There's plenty of snow there too, but hey, it's country snow.
I haven't been in ages, because the pipes burst and
our kitchen flooded and had to be ripped out, too depressing to see.
But it's almost back together now.

The waterfall is frozen, which always amazes me,
the water rushes so fast I wonder how it stops in space and time,
what is that instant when water becomes ice?

Saturday we drove to Table on Ten for breakfast.
Conde Nast Traveler wrote about them in this article on food in the Catskills, 
which made me suspicious, but the article does a pretty good job of describing
the western Catskills, our neck of the woods.

And there were eggs with brilliant orange yolks
and fresh sourdough bread, and delicious treacle cookies.

Saturday night we had dinner with friends,
and Sunday I made the rounds in Margaretville, where I had my store,
saying hello to friends and buying a few books at the Bibliobarn.

And then home Sunday night, to cats, books, and a pink quilt
that I am disproportionately fond of.

Remember the greenhouses in my last post?
I brought home some begonias. Touches of pink
brighten up the bleak late winter.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

grilled cheese and greenhouses

For me, coping with the winter blues requires big books,
 cats, tea and grilled cheese sandwiches. 

When that doesn't work I force myself
to get out and see something new.

Like a splashy Joan Snyder painting

and greenhouses filled with flowers and foliage.

print by Mary Cassatt
A few days ago I went to the Harvard Art Museums
and felt like I could see again.

and today I visited the greenhouses at the Lyman Estate.

Is there anything like the smell of a greenhouse?

It was as though I'd been holding my breath for a month
and finally I could breathe again.

Monday, February 23, 2015


15th century, from Faenza, Italy

I seem to have hit the bloggers wall. I drafted a post
about the ceramics museum in Faenza,
but it seemed too impersonal.

With four feet of snow in my yard, I've carved out a little haven
for birds and squirrels by day, and rabbits by night.

I drafted a post on overcoming my fear of flying,
but it seemed too personal.

Masa and Aji
I am engulfed in winter, but all is well and
I just wanted to say hello.

xo, Jen

Friday, February 13, 2015

snow days

 November, December, January,
I was constantly on the go.
Brooklyn, Catskills, Brooklyn, Italy.
Art, food, people, landscapes, cityscapes,
so much new to experience.

Now I am back in my familiar world
traveling through books
observing cats and birds
painting, writing, wondering, wandering.

Right now it's all about the snow.
66 inches in 16 days.
Too cold to melt, more on the way.

It's as though we in the Boston area, live in a science fiction novel;
it begins to seem possible that is will snow forever.

We tell ourselves that spring will come,
but there is a tiny corner of doubt.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

around here

Winter has arrived in a bone-chilling fury,
the snow is piled high

 and all I want to do is burrow under the quilts
with cats for extra warmth,
drink hot tea 
(my favorite evening/no caffeine variety)
read fat books, 
(I'm reading this right now)
and maybe nibble a cookie or two or three.
(I'm making these chocolate chip cookies tonight.)

We have a new cat in the family.
My son Luke adopted Taki and  
I hung out with her when we went to Brooklyn for Christmas.
She's a sweetheart and so happy in her new home.

I left the quilts long enough for a visit to Bow Street Flowers
saw Shelley and the bunnies,
and brought home some beauties.

Taki likes to burrow too.
(yes, that's a pant leg)

I hope that you are warm and cozy,

xo, Jen

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Venice in Winter

Canal Grande
Twilight soccer, Campo San Giacomo 

Titian, Basilica dei Frari

Canals, calles, and campos.
The continuous echo of church bells and lacy palazzos. 
Venetian red.  The Bridge of Sighs.
Boats and cobblestones, no cars.
An empty museum.
 Ethereal, fragile.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Learned, The Fat, and The Red

Bologna: La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa. 
The Learned, The Fat, and The Red. 

The famed university, oldest in Europe (and many bookstores). 
The food! (more on that later) 
and (depending on who you ask) 
its red rooftops or its far-left/Socialist/Communist political leanings.

A vital, thriving, non-touristy city. 
Exceptionally walkable with 40 km of porticos,
and severe limits on center city traffic. 
Beautiful, medieval, small, complex.

La Passeggiata,
that occurs every evening in villages, town, and cities throughout Italy.
Families and friend stroll, gossip, chat, flirt, pause 
for a gelato, espresso or aperitif, to admire a baby or a small dog.

I adore this ritual, observed it, happy and envious.

I got sick right after I returned. A cold, a virus, but also 
my reluctance to return here from there, 
my way of stretching out the space between,
 savoring it, imprinting it deeper, 
so when I fully return I will be a little different than when I left.

And the food. Oh, the food. The freshest, most flavorful pastas, 
deeply savory cured meats and cheeses. 
The challenge of ordering from salumerias and formaggerias
with my thirty words of Italian.

Fruit and vegetables from hot wild places to the south.  
Every day I bought clementines from Calibria, 
the leaves still fresh, the fruit so sweet.

The scent of political engagement everywhere, especially in the university quarter.

Memorial to the victims of the 1980 Bologna train station bombing that killed 87, 
and the victims of two train bombings. 
The horror in France occurs while I am in Italy, 
and I am reminded how small and strong and vulnerable and unique these countries are.

A room with a view.

(If you missed it, my previous post was about New Years Eve in Bologna.)