Embrace Women In Art

2018 was quite a year. The most difficult thing was losing my father in March.

After my father became ill, my mom, brother and I started having family dinners every Sunday. Sometimes extended family would have dinner with us too. It became a real source of comfort.

Nothing fancy. Quite the opposite. It needed to be easy, so we would get take-out from a few local places. The main thing was that we were all together sharing a meal. That had been so important to our family while my brother and I were growing up.

After my dad passed, we decided to continue the tradition, but we decided to eat at out at some area restaurants. Over a couple of weeks, we tried a few, but nothing felt right. I think that we were feeling too sad. My father was a huge presence and energy in our lives. And he was gone.

Even though I felt broken, I strongly believed (and still believe) that when a major person leaves your life, someone else will appear.  Not to replace them. But just in keeping with the nature of physics. It has to happen. Energy doesn’t disappear. It’s a constant and just transforms.

My brother mentioned that we should try Bertucci’s. There was one near where he lived, so it would be easy. We had always loved their food and especially the rolls. None of us had been to one in many years, but we thought it was a great idea. Especially after just hearing that many of the restaurants would be closing.

So one Sunday in April, we went to Bertucci’s and our server was a lovely young woman named Kassy. She had just started working there and was so friendly and sweet. We all bonded immediately. We started going back there every Sunday and Kassy was always our server. For the first time in a while, our dinners started feeling happy again.

So why am I telling you this? Well, Kassy doesn’t work there anymore, but she has become like another member of our family and I have been mentoring her. She has an artsy side like me and also making her way in the professional world.

Recently she started a blog called Embrace Women In Art, where she interviews women who are involved in the arts. Her latest post is an interview with me!

Since it’s also Christmas Eve, to those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas! 🎄

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Updated 5/16/20: The interview is no longer available online, so the link was removed.

A Collection Of Moments: December

A Collection Of Moments, is my attempt to actively notice the changes and beauty within each month. Because what is life, but a series of moments strung together like twinkling lights on a string?

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DECEMBER is …

Hot coffee in a festive mug.

Mistletoe, holly and candy canes.

Winter solstice

and rebirth of the sun.

Menorahs, kinaras and Christmas lights.

Ritual and religion

all seeking the light.

The end

and the beginning.

Nostalgia and melody.

Brown paper packages tied up with string.

Rudolph’s shiny nose and Charlie Brown’s tree.

Zuzu’s petals and the promise of a wonderful life.

Recently Read: A History Of Chowder

While I haven’t done any chowder tastings lately, I did read a book about its history.

A History Of Chowder is a tiny, tiny book that dives deeply into all things chowder.

Boston Magazine says that “clam chowder (even cheffed-up clam chowder) will always have less sex appeal than fried chicken.”

Maybe that’s true. But does it matter? Is the comparison even fair? Chowder is a comfort food that reminds us New Englanders of home.

The book says that it’s not clear who created the first bowl of chowder, but does provide the earliest published chowder recipe.

Dated September 23, 1751, it’s actually a rhyming poem! Below is part of the recipe.

First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning,
Because in chouder there can be no turning;
Then lay some Pork in slices very thin,
This you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish oer crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt and Spice;

Because chowder began as a soup made at sea, it was first considered to be a masculine food. It was made by men, for men and consumed with rough manners. While this makes sense, I had never thought of chowder that way.

As different ingredients are added to chowder over time, it changes and who eats it expands. Regional variance also start happening — particularly the addition of milk and cream by some and the addition of tomatoes by others. It seems like New York and Boston never agree on anything!

A good portion of the book also analyzes how chowder ingredients are intertwined with the colonial past of this country. History brings its remnants forward. And the next time I do partake in a bowl of chowder, I will see it in a bit of a different light.

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Photo: Amazon