Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer is officially over in Providence

OK, summer is probably pretty much over in most of this hemisphere, I admit it. But if we needed any evidence of that simple fact, it was plainly evident this past week.

Humidity is back to tolerable levels, temperatures have been almost fall-like and cool evening breezes seem pretty much to be the order of the day, every day.

Work is going well for both of us -- but not a day goes back that we're not struck with the incredible coincidence of so many things in our lives. We complain constantly and have to hug each other frequently to remind us just how really strange our lives have become. For years Susie's pastries were known only within a small, select circle of hunger-driven medical types who wolfed down everything she brought in to meetings or to those much-lamented night shifts as if she were Julia Child herself. Now her pastries consistently bring top-dollar at one of Providence's finest restaurants.

As for me, for years I have focused on the power of photo-imagery, often my own of course, but also the priceless value of old photos. I developed, somewhere, somehow, a fixation on properly identifying and marking old photographs to make them ready to hand off to successive generations, providing a visual lesson in their origins. And now I am inexorably drawn into the creation of just such an appreciation of "historical" images for strangers. Amazing.

Other than the ongoing lesson in perspective our week has been quiet.

Susie said goodbye to Cammie, one of her assistants. An incredibly curious young woman, Cammie graduated from high school early, took off to Le Cordon Blue in Paris where she completed the basic and intermediate pastry programs, talked her way into a short stage at a local pastry shop, returned to the US, went off to college (Middlebury College and there's nothing middle about it), and then sought work as pastry assistant at Gracie's. She seems to be equally fascinated by neuro-science and lemon curd and is equally at home in the lab or the kitchen.

How many high school kids do you know who not only love to cook, but love to cook really, really well? This one can.

Labor Day weekend has come and gone. The official end of summer which has nothing to do with Labor per se -- that would be May 1, or May Day in Europe -- our labor Day is like the rest of our holidays: it serves as a simple point of convenience on the calendar. Susie and I conveniently spent last Sunday at the beach in Narragansett. Friend Barbara invited us down for lobster rolls and fresh corn on the cob, to be preceded by a stroll along beautiful Scarbourgh Beach amidst one of the last truly gorgeous days of summer. How could we say no?

In case, you'd like to see a bit of what we saw -- the incredible sky, the infinite horizon -- here you go (or click here):

On Monday, a general holiday recognizing the importance of sending the kids back to school, and a holiday not shared by my present client, I spent most of the day at work. Late that afternoon, however, Susie and I hopped into the car and sped northward out of the city and into the wilds of Douglas, MA, just 30 minutes north of Providence. There we joined some of Susie's family at Dick and Dorothy's house for a brief holiday get-together.

Frank and Cathy:

Larry and Mary:

And we didn't have to labor over a stove at all.

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