Originally published June 5, 2010
While I was working on the painting of Rich described in “Dead in a White Sauce” (below), my then six-year-old friend Ana was so inspired by the subject that she decided to do her own interpretation. Working for five minutes with just a crayon, she somehow captured the true essence of her subject. In fact, it has a Picasso-esque vitality that I can only envy. Is it better than my version? That’s for future art historians to decide. All I can say is, “Well done, Ana!”
Originally published June 5, 2010
Seville still has those sleepy, old-fashioned clubs where ancient members nod over their newspapers in dim, high-ceilinged rooms. Although far from ancient, Rich and I occasionally stop to rest our feet in one that’s open to the public in the downtown shopping area. The hushed atmosphere and air of slightly seedy grandeur reminds me of a club we once belonged to in Ohio. It was an old Scottish manor house, brought over stone by stone in the 1920s. The plans for reassembly were lost en route, so the results were somewhat quirky. As was the staff.
There was a butler from Trinidad named Charles, who sported a threadbare tuxedo, white cotton gloves and a glass eye. He couldn’t read and tended to garble the evening’s specials. Once, hosting a business dinner, we asked Charles about the special, and he told us, “Halibut.” How it was prepared? He said, “It’s dead in a white sauce.”
A moment’s stunned reflection suggested this was good news; who wants to eat live halibut? Eventually, we worked it out: he was using some convoluted past pluperfect of the word “done,” that is, “It’s did in a white sauce.” The phrase took immediate and permanent root in our vocabulary. Now, when something is clearly doomed (a bill in Congress, the kid who runs back to save the cat when everyone knows the killer’s in the house, a fading techno trend) we turn to one another and say, “Dead in a white sauce.”
Originally published May 30, 2010
My husband is blessed with the ability to sleep anywhere, up to and including the dentist’s chair. Once, when we were seated separately on a flight from California to Norway, his seatmate later told me, “I’ve never seen anything like it. He fell asleep on the runway and slept the entire time. At one point he was kneeling backwards on the seat, with his forehead resting on top of his seat back. After dinner, when the flight attendant removed his untouched meal, he put his head down on the tray table and slept on. The guy in front of him reclined his seat all the way, totally trapping your husband’s head between the seat back and the tray table. He scrabbled around and fought his way free . . . still without waking up! When the wheels touched down on the runway, he sat up and said, ‘What a pleasant flight.’” It’s no wonder a man like that appreciates living in Spain, where we get to take siestas every day.
One particularly frenetic day during the Christmas holidays, a gift package arrived in the mail just as I was heading out the door. With no time to open it, I tossed it under the tree. Hours later I arrived home to find our dog lying on her back under the tree, paws in the air, a blissful expression on her face. It turned out the package had contained an entire rum cake, which she had ripped out of the box and devoured. She was fat, drunk and happy for three days. I’m sure it was one of her most cherished holiday memories.
About this blog
I love to talk about my paintings – and often do, as my long-suffering friends will attest. These are some of the stories I tell people who ask, "So what were you thinking about when you painted this one?"