Friday, January 29, 2010

Don Soper turns 100 today!

Dad and his older brother Carroll -- I'm guessing sometime in 1910 but, of course, I wasn't there so I can't be sure.


And thanks Dad. I can't begin to tell you how much I owe you for giving me my life back in 1958 and how much more Susie and I owe you for helping to point us on our present journey. The steak we ordered for you tonight brought back affectionate memories of so many dinners we had with you over the years -- almost always involving steak in some form or another -- at the Brown Jug and then at Stoney's in Dalton City. Great food but even greater company.

I love you dad. Always have. Always will.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

A New Year and that means plenty of news

The weather has been very cold here but that’s to be expected – it is January in New England after all. No snow this month yet and that’s key.

The year seems to be flying by and, while it seems very little has been accomplished, in reality, of course, much has happened in our lives – and in the lives of those whose paths have crossed ours over the course of our years.

Much of what we have heard of late is good: family and friends in good health and enjoying the fruits of a life well-sown.

Two wonderful pieces of news came our way: our niece Rachel (above) is marrying her boyfriend Steve in Grand Rapids on May 23, the day after our friend Valerie is marrying her boyfriend Hubert in Paris.

We will sadly miss Valerie’s wedding – having just returned from Paris the week before – but will most certainly be in Michigan for the Bergman wedding (we haven’t missed one yet).

Some of what we’ve heard is not so easy to bear, but that, too, is often the way of the world, and so be it. We just hope that the pain and anguish, the uncertainty, hurt and ambiguity will seep away, and the sooner the better. Life is full of funny twists and turns and we're never sure of where it’s taking us.

And the other big news for 2010 (so far) is that Susie is leaving Gracie’s.

She has always wanted to work in a pastry shop and, frankly, never thought she would end up in a restaurant in the first place, let alone an upscale place like Gracie's. But she has learned so much, about the culinary industry to be sure but also about what she really wants. And, equally important, she has learned so much about baking and about the importance of creativity, especially from Chef Joe Hafner.

And Gracie's has certainly benefited from having one of hardest-working, most reliable, dependable, honest and driven pastry chefs ever to come out of Le Cordon Bleu. The things Susie has created, and shared . . . But she’ll be posting a note here soon with more details.

So, Susie will work through the middle of March before she heads off for Paris on March 23. I join her the third week of April and we both return together in mid-May. We will be staying at Drea’s apartment on rue General Renault in the 11th arrondissment. We love it there and couldn’t imagine staying anywhere else. Further details have yet to be worked out but that’s just fine. The important thing is to slip back into that world, however briefly, and renew our minds and spirits.

Working on her French and possibly taking a short course at Lenotre (outside of Paris) are top on Susie’s list of things to do. She also plans on spending quality time in the kitchen perfectly Pascal's croissants and breads. I envy the neighbors on rue General Renault, that's for sure.

After I arrive my hope is to spend some quality time with Susie in one hand and Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris in the other as we search out new culinary adventures. Trips to Pere Lachaise and the Orsay are next on my hit lists. After that we’re thinking of renting a car and perhaps driving out to Brittany (thanks Marie for those wonderful photos you took this winter – inspiring). And then down to the Gers and Mouchan to visit Richard and Pauline – maybe even a short trip into the Pyrenees. And maybe another quick trip to Siena.

And what's next?

As our friend Aimone would say,

Chi lo sa?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Narragansett on Labor Day

Last year wasn't so long ago. . .

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A very brief look back at Summer in Rhode Island

A few of the many highlights of this past summer in the Ocean State, focusing, of course, on the Ocean:

Scarborough Beach:

Colt State Park overlooking Narragansett Bay:

Barbara's house, overlooking Scarborough Beach:

A quiet spot near the Ocean:

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Eve at Gracie's 2009

The joint was, as they say, hoppin' --

Friday, January 01, 2010

End of one thing and the beginning of another

So, 2009 draws to a close; the end of one year and the beginning of another -- the end of an entire decade and ten years of struggling to figure out what to call it: "the 2000s," "the aughts," lots of ink spilled on this.

It's a brand new year and for all of us, no exceptions, that means change: we lose something, we find something, we move something around. And we get older.

Of course, some things never, ever change. . .

. . . such as love and beauty.

Happy New Year and may you find peace of mind and lightness of heart.