Friday, February 25, 2011

Cafe Sabarsky - 5th Avenue at 86th

My new favorite romantic spot in NYC!

Located in the Neue Gallerie (just written about in the NY Times this week) is tucked a romantic little restaurant specializing in Viennese cuisine. Lee took me there this week and it couldn't have been a nicer surprise on a Wednesday afternoon between unpacking, grocery shopping and getting ready for a Thursday meeting with a client. It is on 5th Avenue at 86th street (so only a 6 block walk for us.)

Here's a shot of my crab / avocado salad and the lovely interior:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conversations in Florence: A Couple's Retreat - Coming Fall 2011

Will keep you posted...


What is it that needs to be loved?

The Emotional Bank Account

Tolle's Pain Body

You are not attached at the hip.

What set of problems do you want to deal with?

Structure of Creativity

...and Florence .... the David ... Brunelleschi's dome ... the Giottos .... the Massacios ... the Donatellos. Shopping for antiques south of the Arno, the Ferragamo Shoe Museum, La Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella. The food, the wine, the fashion, the architecture, the gardens, the people - the romance.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Standard builder home gets some "lipstick"

It's been a good week. Here are a couple of images from a home I installed on Friday. Cheers to this great client! I'll have more later.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Food Issues

Here's a link to a piece I wrote for Artful Living magazine in Minneapolis called "Food Issues." It is about my dear father, who has been diagnosed with terminal lymphoma of the bone marrow. Hope you'll like:

Here is the piece - but seeing it in the mag is especially nice - the art director, Mollie Windmiller is terrific!


This is about love, power, and death. And macaroni and cheese. It is about food.
Food is never just about nutrition. It is emotional. It magnetizes your neuroses and unconscious patterns. It calls forth the best and the worst, our sense of entitlement and competition and grandiosity. It is worthy of a therapist. And, yet, it also induces intimacy. How many of us have not been lured to love over a glass of wine and pasta? How many women have enticed a lover in the kitchen with roasted chicken and garlic mashed potatoes for dinner with the intention of meeting them in bed for dessert? How many men bring chocolates and champagne to their lover?

Well, I have recently discovered that my father, 81, is dying of lymphoma of the bone marrow and I have a burgeoning sympathy with the complex intermingling of food and psyche. Cooking became his hobby when he retired at 65. For the past fifteen years, when I drive to my parents’ home in Northfield, Minnesota, it has been about the food. It has been the calling card for my children, Alexander and Isabelle.
“Is Grandpa making macaroni and cheese?” Izzy would ask heading south on the highway.

“Probably. He always does when we come,” I would reply.

But, my father had a couple of senstive points around food, which might be called neurotic by a good Freudian. It had to be served hot. It had to be served at a specific time. And, there had to be enough of it. To these points, he heated our coffee mugs in the microwave and heated all plates in the oven. I can’t tell you how many times I have burned myself picking up my plate or touching my coffee cup to my lips. I prefer the continental style – lukewarm food – so this was never a match made in Heaven. It simply meant that I had more time to drink wine while my food cooled to a temperature that would not send me to the trauma unit with third-degree burns.

Relative to the timing of a meal, he was unambiguous. As a farmer, born and bred, supper was at 5:30. We didn’t have dinner. We had supper. (If there was dinner, it was on Sunday at noon.) On a special occasion, we could eat at 6:00 or 6:30. But that was only when several of us were coming to visit on the weekend, perhaps. We were chastised on many occasions for arriving at 5:35 after a long day of work. Not only did we need to be prepared to eat supper at 5:30, it was clearly his preference that there were no appetizers. This habit of “eating before supper” was surely introduced by the lazy upper classes and would spoil one’s appetite. If he went to the trouble of cooking supper, he wanted us to eat it, goddamnit.

His specialty was macaroni and cheese, following his own mother, Myrtle Krebs’ recipe, which wasn’t a recipe at all, but just a way of making the delectable dish that she figured out at some point in the 1940’s on an Iowa farm. It is transcendent. It is not runny. It is not sloppy. It is the ideal combination of pasta, chunks of cheese, and saltine cracker topping. I have never had better. There is no other dish on the planet that my own two grown children prefer over their grandpa’s Macaroni and Cheese.

But, its days are numbered unless we learn to make it. So Isabelle has taken it on as a personal mission to hang with her grandpa to get this recipe down – just the right crush on the saltines, the right size chunks of cheddar and Colby cheeses, the right amount of milk and butter and right amount of love poured into feeding one’s wife, children, and grandchildren. She will be the carrier of the torch and the stories. Because that’s what food is – a caldron of a complex stew of nutrition, emotion, neuroses, preferences, lust, and love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shadow work

So there's Egypt. There's the weather. There's my favorite little children's toy store, Wonderment, closing because it can't make it...but oh, the toy store that sells all the plastic crap isn't going anywhere. And I'm really angry. Don't worry - I'm probably not angry at you. I've just been doing some "inner work" - reading, working with my acupuncturist and learning about anger. I have learned that you don't have to be mad at anyone in particular. Dr. Hafner explained anger this way, according to Chinese medicine -

Anger (or frustration) occurs when one's energy meets resistance.

So, you can imagine this. You want to do something - your energy is into it - and something or someone is in your way - is a block. You want to make Chicken soup and you are out of chicken broth and your car is in the shop so you can't go to the store. You get frustrated or angry. By contrast, you DON'T want to do something and there is pressure to perform. You are tired, frustrated, angry. This happens every day in everyone's life. It is the three year old in all of us (the "id" as described by Freud.)

I LOVE this - because it is maybe the first time in my life I felt like anger is normal - not something to "manage", avoid, control, etc, etc. I mean, yes, I talked about anger with a psychoanalyst in my 20's - he was a wonderful Freudian / Bionian and was all about anger expression. But, it did me little good then. I was raised by a Norwegian mother - anger was NEVER expressed. Instead you made kringla. All anger was repressed (and maybe occasionally projected.)

So, here is what motivated me: I've had this painful back for nine months - like crazy painful - I can't bend over, I can't do yoga, just nutty because I have never had a "bad back". I've seen chiropractors, osteopaths, a massage therapist, and my acupunturist. It's never gone away. So my friend Mark Powell recommended a book by Dr. John Sarno, an orthopaedist at NYU, who wrote a book called the Bodymind Connection. Over the course of 20 years, he has come to believe that MOST back pain (including shoulder, leg, knee, and even headaches) is the result of repressed feeling - especially rage. Don't read too much into the word "rage". He points out that we ALL have it. We've had it since childhood - and continue to have it. The question is....what do we do with it? So I began to research anger...

He suggests that once you understand what causes the pain - it will disappear in a rather short time. Well...I can report that mine has dissipated by 50%! I can now bend over without supporting myself on a table, chair, etc. I can roll over in bed without wailing. It's just nutty!

But, the crazy part is that you have to pay attention to your rage, so I am a raging maniac. Poor Lee. I just tell him that I am rageful about having to go to work, having to make up my face, having to take out the garbage, having to put washer fluid in my car, having to look attractive at all when you are 57, having to keep your body in shape, having to keep my house clean, having to change the cat box, having to use a lint brush on my clothes because of the cat, having to get up in the morning! This is just crazy! I am rageful about everything - so I now realize that I am an incredibly entitled brat of a human being. I think I should only do what I want to do when I want to do it.

Now, my dear depth psychologist husband tells me this is very, very good - that Jung said that only a very small percentage of the population "have the moral courage to look at their shadow and do their individuation work." So, bless his heart! he thinks I'm okay - doing my part to become more conscious - and not complaining about my tantrums in the interim. He's encouraging them. God love him. Maybe in a week or two I'll be charming again.