About Me

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Master Chef

She has a new cooktop, at enormous expense;
The latest Jenn-Air model, with electronic controls.
Does everything but put the dishes on the table;
Makes the kitchen look truly professional, which it is.

One of the joys of my second marriage
Is consuming the culinary creations of a master chef.
A fabulous recipe is often our evening plat du jour.
Even the familiar dishes receive an unusual touch.

I function as sous chef and scullery maid.
When the pace is fast, I jump to obey barked orders
To hunt, fetch, hold, stir, whatever is needed;
Often to find exotic items stored in obscure places.

For we have a large pantry, a full length cupboard,
Cabinets and drawers, a side by side fridge,
A deep, deep freezer, all containing enough
Items to carry us through natural disasters.

To the outsider, this might seem odd.
Who needs over one hundred spices?
But you have to understand the philosophy
Of my queen of the kitchen.

She thinks and acts like a professional chef.
When she sees an attractive recipe, she expects
To have all or most of the ingredients on hand.
We shop at food markets only about twice a month.

Lately, we have been sampling Julia Child's
"Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and
Ginette Mathiot's "I Know How to Cook,"
The French counterpart of "The Joy of Cooking."

When the cooking results in a lot of pots and pans,
I do not mind cleaning up afterward.
We are in culinary paradise;
The chef takes a well-earned toes-up on the couch!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cruisin' in 2010

We have been considering for some time
A cruise in the Adriatic from Venice.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is the only large
Operator of same with frequent departures.

So I've been flirting with what they offer
Until we decided to get serious.
Our original idea was to spend a few days
Exploring Venice before the cruise.

So that would involve booking air travel,
Hotel in Venice, and the the cruise.
Not a difficult project, but time-consuming
As it was on our trip to Tuscany in 2009.

Just idling around the internet,
I happened to hit the Grand Circle Travel
Website, which I had used before,
And what do you suppose I found?!

GCT has framed the NCL cruises in the Adriatic
With brief stays in Venice and Rome.
At a significantly attractive price
Including air travel and transfers.

That solved all the booking problems
And puts us in a managed group,
Which is a significant help to people
Of a certain age like us.

The trip is still not inexpensive,
But it fulfils the dictum of my offspring:
"Do it while you can, Dad,
Spend your money on yourselves!"

We will be leaving May 19th,
And returning June 9th, three weeks in all.
More on the itinerary later,
As we do research on the destinations.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Met HD Opera Telecasts

This new production was widely panned;
Particularly for the stark brick set instead
Of the opulence of old Rome.
Tosca was a poor role for Mattila.
She lacked the passion and the fire,
And kept her head down, looking away.
Too bad, because she has a powerful
Presence in Salome, and was full of
Gritty determination in Fidelio.

We missed Aida; that was the weekend of the
Tenafly high school reunion.
Barbara had never seen Aida, and was sorry
To miss it; so I bought her a DVD with
Pavarotti singing Radames, in San Francisco.
Aida is static, almost an oratorio; but the SF
Version was spiced up with dances, including
The perky little ballerinas in sheer tops.

Turandot is static, too, that is the characters
Simply move around a little and sing.
The star of the show was the fabulous setting
By Franco Zeffirelli, thus making a clear
Contrast with the new, and less expensive,
Settings of the old warhorses.
We miss the former, but we must get used to
Contemporary ways of looking at things.

For example, the new production of
Les Contes D'Hoffman envisions all the action
Taking place inside Hoffman's head, while
He regales the crowd at Luther's with his stories.
If you were informed of this beforehand,
You might be able to fathom the goings-on.
Otherwise, the scenes seem like a hopeless
Jumble of sets from one scene to another.
A new star arose in the role of Nicklausse
And the muse: Kate Lindsey.

Everyone and everything about
Der Rosenkavalier was superb.
All the singers have performed these roles
Over and over again.
They inhabited their characters.
The trio of the three sopranos at the climax
Was breathtaking.
One wonders what it would be like if a
Countertenor sang the role of Octavian.

Barbara and I agreed that this was the
Best performance of Carmen
That we had ever seen.
Besides displaying a remarkable voice, Garanca
Acted the part, danced the flamenco,
Wrestled with Alagna in the final scene.
Critics were unanimous in praise of them,
And all the other performers.

This ends our subscription series, but we may
See one or more of the remaining operas in
Sunday encore broadcasts.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Exhibitions

Barbara's retrospective at the
Cape Cod Museum of Art
Was a smash hit!
Many people told us that
They saw it, and were impressed.

Few seemed to know
That she could paint so well,
Including the museum director.
The curator, who hung the paintings,
Remarked on her ability to use
Different media in a variety of styles.

The Cape Cod Cultural Center
Asked her to contribute two works
To their first annual exhibition.
Barbara's was the only figure painting
Among eighty or so on display.

The Cape Cod Arts Foundation
Sent two visitors to select
A single painting for a
Comprehensive showing by
Professional artists on Cape Cod.

Their mounting included a
Description of the genesis of
"Clothesline," which we
Noticed was carefully inspected
By the artsy crowd in attendance.

As Barbara's agent and business manager,
I am open to expressions of interest
In the paintings hanging or stored in our house.
The total was sixty when last we counted.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Cardiologist was Sacked

Cardiology is a big business on Cape Cod
Where the demographics are skewed to medicare patients.
Two big groups of heart care specialists
Vie for the business of senior citizens.

A letter from the head of my service arrived recently
Announcing the departure of my latest, and third cardiologist.
The first two departed to Boston and more prestigious posts.
The latest has no known destination, according to the letter.

This is strange from an additional viewpoint:
When a physician leaves a stable of patients,
He/she usually writes a personal letter to them
With assurances that they will be well cared for by someone else.

I can only conclude that he was sacked.
What for, remains a mystery.
He was (is) an odd duck, looking and dressed like
A software programmer from Silicon Valley.

During the first visit, he asked for my forecast of the stock market,
Offering no particular comments on my heart condition.
In the second, he bristled at my questions on the safety of statins,
Asking me if I wanted to die of clogged arteries.

Now someone else "will be chosen for me."
Who can be exchanged for a physician of my choice.
Does it really make any difference?
Nothing more of significance can be done for me.