Artnotes Italy Daily

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Frost Orchard Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 54 x 20 inches SOLD
Artnotes: Swings

"Swings!" Immediately after eating sandwiches and chips, our two-and-a-half-year-old twin friends went for a ride on the swings at Parker Park, the beach in Branford. My own lunch lurched ominously in my stomach as they hung their heads all the way back, watching the trees and sky careen above. "Higher!"

There are things one can do at the age of two and a half that will never be the same again. Their mom, our friend, H, asserts, "they'll only be two and a half once". Chasing pigeons; wading into the water in blue jeans, up over your knees; squealing with delight… I really enjoy that refreshing attitude, and try to incorporate into my own life. But there is something about knowing, understanding, and planning that can put the kybosh on spontaneity.

We are a bit more spontaneous this week, our coffers jingling ever so slightly again. I won't say it was the letter to God, but it could have been. I also tossed a penny into the Chinese Super Buffet fountain: the result came just an hour afterward. This was the same fountain, into which my mother, a rabid Yankees fan, pitched a penny, years earlier, willing them to win the world series, but, through an unfortunate slip of the tongue, exclaimed, "I hope the Red Sox (the other half of the family’s team) win the world series!" The Red Sox won. Ever since then, our family goes to then fountain whenever in need of a miracle. (This week’s wellspoke penny seems to have clinched the race for the Yankees).

On Thursday, the famous Branford library book sale opened its tents. It's a huge affair, with thousands of books. We paid the extra ten dollars to be "friends of the library" and gain entry a day before the general public.

Blair got in line at a quarter to four, behind others already waiting for the five o'clock whistle. These, it turned out were dealers, some from as far away as Brooklyn. When I got there at 4:45, nobody would let me join him, and I was relegated to the end of the line.

A man chatted up the crowd with his African Grey parrot, Rudy. Rudy's tail was such a brilliant red it hurt your eyes to look at it. Rudy, 4 years old, could play dead on command, to the delight of everyone in line. He wouldn't talk to us, but Blair says he spoke to those at the front of the line, no doubt recognizing them as book sale winners.

We'd already scoped out the books we wanted: Klimt's landscapes, Steichens photos; American Impressionists, an Indian cookbook... we immediately bought those and a few others. The Julia Child I'd seen was gone -- her first book, done with Simone. I suspect the book was hidden by someone for a later pickup. On Sunday, we went back for “donation day”, filling a box with all sorts of books (Turtles, Nicholas and Alexandra, New England furniture…) for a $10.00 donation.

I made a fish cooked in salt, a recipe from one cookbook: the whole fish, scales and all, is covered one inch deep with coarse salt and cooked at high temperature. It was a dramatic presentation, with Blair cracking it open with a hammer. It was not salty at all and the only really good recipe in that cookbook, which is why I have a five dollar maximum cost rule for cookbooks. I already made one of the Indian recipes, justifying its one dollar price tag.

We had a raspberry clafoutis from a Julia Child recipe online, with the twins, and sent them on their way with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When we see them again, I am sure they'll be completely different and new and wonder just who we are.

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