Our family loves to gather around a table. Cooking beautiful food and sitting down to enjoy a leisurely meal is one of our favorite ways to spend time together and mark special occasions. We recently hosted a seafood feast, served outdoors in our backyard, in honor of Grandma (my fabulous break-every-mold mother-in-law) who just moved here to Virginia all the way from California. The meal featured grilled shrimp and calamari, homemade aioli, clams with fennel and pomegranate, seasonal salads, a whole grouper baked in rock salt, and of course, some great wines. I wish I could take credit for the cooking, but it was master-minded by two dear friends who are so much like family that they can take over my kitchen as if it were their own! Uncle Rick was another special guest, really the hero of the day, who had driven Grandma (his sister) across the entire country with all her stuff in a Penske moving van, delivering her safely to her new home. There was a lot to celebrate. Having Grandma here to share in our lives is a wonderful new era for our family. Loved ones gathered around a festive table on a beautiful crisp Fall day makes for one great party.
This collage is inspired by my 20+ year friendship with my dear college friend, J. P. I went to visit her recently in New York City, planning to help out after she underwent some major surgery. She is recovering beautifully, and as it turned out, her humor and spirit lifted me up as much as my cooking and caring was comforting for her. She is a city-dwelling actress, writer, and musician, while I am a suburbanite visual artist. We have always enjoyed sharing our creative ideas, finding parallels between the performing and visual arts, and cheering each other on as we follow our own paths throughout our careers. As I worked through the collage, the image of diverging and converging paths emerged, sometimes going in separate directions, but often doubling back to intersect or follow the same curve, at least for a while, before taking off again on a new course. We have had very different journeys, but can appreciate and enjoy our differences as much as our similarities, celebrating our friendship on our own unique common ground. She is one of those special friends that makes me feel like no time has passed since we last got together. We talk about food, art, politics, relationships, family, and careers, and always seem to be on the same page. Did I mention she is also one of the funniest people on the planet? I am so grateful for my friend.