Saturday, January 4, 2014


       Just picked up a magazine.  Tuscan Style: live in relaxed elegance.  The cover features an elegantly relaxed family room.  Four pale ecru rattan woven chairs, pillowed in a powdery cyan, are grouped around as if to venerate a rather Spartan, square marble-topped table supported by black, round, wrought iron legs.  The table hosts a rather prosaic ceramic bowl of five chubby baby blue hydrangea and two Moroccan leather, gold embossed tomes.  They are slightly angled one to the other in an otherwise tidy pile on which one  of a set of carved wood, blocky candle holders  holding an off-white, round, fitted candle sits.
       (One imagines that perhaps the occupant, returning from taking a breath of fresh air on dewy wet toes in the contiguous EL fresco emporium late last evening, having used a candle to enhance the mood and prevent an uncharacteristic spill transitioning from grass to brown-shaded woven tile flooring, had placed the impromptu walking light on the books adjacent to its partner, while still basking in the refreshment of the cool, stone exterior border wall, exuding its perfumery from its brim of greenery and buds. Nary a thought was given to its proper marble resting place.)
       The tan interior adobe walls were broken by a surprised expression to hold a small fireplace.  Three artfully arranged clay pots cradled infant blooms to one side of the opening.  The entire  expanse spoke of youth - indoors and out. This combination of age and decoration brought to mind that canvas we painted in our first apartment.  He was finishing medical school and I was working and there was precious little of anything else.  We did, however, inherit a lovely suite of furniture from his family.  It was all of the furnishings from his father's first medical practice in 1934.  Extremely well made and Deco in style, it nevertheless presented a challenge when it came to function and arrangement.
       The handsome scale, waste basket, and desk - truly seaworthy - with its four matching chairs, provided both comfort and a feeling of playful "op art".  Our own purchase, a hexagonal Formica dining table, was placed opposite a spacious and attractive sideboard.  This last had been transformed from his Dad's roomy, attractive examining table.  With its many different-sized drawers and interesting knobs, it was always a focus of lively (if not unusual) conversation.  Its one ungainly drawback, functional as they may be, were the matching stirrups.  I daresay they had more costume changes than Helen Hayes during their 'dinner at eight'- role.  Imagine, if you will, Japanese flower arrangements or strobe-lit, Lego-engineered figurines painted steel gray and you'll have a legitimate appetizer if not a full five-course meal of their morphings.  (Did I mention the fact that the table was carved from one piece and the stirrups were soldered on?)
       The favorite AFTER dinner game, however, was "Let's take our guests' EKG's".  Perhaps that's one reason our parties were so popular.  It certainly wasn't the cuisine.  AND, each guest got to leave with a personalized souvenir.  Have you guessed?  They each took home a rhythm strip of their very own heart rate.  Of course we'd tell them it was normal.  An if it was 'funny-looking'?  Well, stuff happens.  (Medical Style: living in feigned hardiness.)
Later, Lorane. . . .    
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