Thursday, April 28, 2011

TIDBITES SAGA:

CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP

No, I'm only referring to the cost at the new CAKE BAR in Lewes!
It's very nice. It's in the former Second Street Grill space—redecorated to a fare-thee-well: wood floors, a long bakery case in the main room and new fancy wallpaper. I was attracted to it by Robert's recommendation, commenting they were featuring Raspberry Bellinis for Easter.

Ted and I went!
Easter dinner at only $29. was a treat. I had Roast Leg of Lamb with Scolloped Potatoes in Creme Fraiche, Asparagus Bundles, Cesar Salad and Key Lime Pie.

Ted had the Easter Ham with a scrumptious Raspberry-Almond Cake for dessert.

  ---all delicious—even the coffee (except the iced tea was way too weak).

Definitely a destination!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

MY ITALIAN ADVENTURE SAGA 22:

GRADING

I set my alarm for early, but failed to get up. Venetian glass, who cares. It’s so 'Barococo’. (My invented word for Baroque and Rococo taken to the nth degree—penultimately yucky.) I thought there might be some other studenti around the hotel, who hadn’t gotten the message about the schedule change, but I couldn’t find anyone. I began feeling sorry for myself, but then thought that that was ridiculous. Here I was in Venezia—enjoy yourself—so off I went to the Gallerie dell'Accademia—the largest collection of Venetian paintings in the world, from her heyday.
CANALETTO, 1742.
There was room after room of them—some very fine. While sitting at an outdoor trattoria nearby, I wrote about most of the day before in my journal, soaked up the sun and watched the people. 

(I found this nice video!)
click to see: Italian Adventure

Near the corner of the Accademia was a palazzo that had a carved lion on every fence post.
Then I noticed several domestic cats lounging around the area in front. After counting 16, I had to go get my camera!

Then, off for a simple lunch in the heavy-duty, crowded tourist area. I told the waiter that I didn't want any bread, but he left the breadbasket anyway. I'll bet he was surprised when I took all four pieces. I took them for the ‘doves!’ (I had seen a postcard of the pigeons in the Piazza San Marco, with the caption: "The Doves of St. Marks".)
Ever since, I've called them doves, and I've had to explain every time. I fed them every morning with my breakfast bread. The Doges had declared that they should be fed at public expense, and they were from the 10th until the 18th Century—so, I felt they might be hungry.

The next morning, I had sketching to do, for reckoning was soon—grading time! I was anxious about my mark, because it was my first post-graduate credit.

Giuliano had said that I would have my review at noon after their trip to Murano. Andrea, Marie and I had been ready and waiting at our appointed times. When it became 1:45, Andrea whose appointment was at 1:00, left to go look around Venezia. Marie (1:30), decided to wait with me. At 4:15!, Giuliano finally appeared. They had enjoyed Murano so much; they decided to tour several other islands! I was mad, and Guiliano knew it. Sometimes, Giuliano's Florentine sense of time and my Germanic preciseness clash. He just swept-in and started the reviews. Marie went first. After about twenty minutes, she came out in a huff. I wanted to ask her how she did, but Giuliano was already motioning me in. I sat down at the table, and he was very warm and gracious. He asked me, "In a few words, what are the differences between Venetian, Florentine and Roman architecture?"

I responded, "Venetian is decorative and surface treatment; Florentine is mass, light and changing forms; Roman architecture is a mixture of time."

He then asked, 'What do you think of San Miniato?"

"The siting is beautiful, the facade magnificent and the interior, one of the best in Italy." Then we talked about Venezia and her architecture for a while.

Finally he stated , "Ok. You've been one of my best and most enthusiastic students." I asked if he wasn't going to look at my sketches, explaining it was the first time I had ever sketched. He critiqued each one. His comments were very helpful, and he liked many of them. He gave me some hints for future sketching:
Learn Proper Detail of Scale. Pointing to a portion of one of my Venetian sketches that had the shudder slats of a window rendered, Giuliano said, "If that's what drawn, then even the bricks must show. And, also, another important window isn't shown in enough detail." I must learn to render an equal amount of detail.
He Complimented Me on my Massing, Good Proportions and Perspective—real potential for being a good sketcher.
Use a Larger Piece of Paper. Being so small, it limits my drawing. (Several did look cramped.) Use a larger, non-lined sheet and start in the center. That way I can expand it in a particular area if I wanted, or leave it small.
Take a Basic Drawing Course. "You know you can learn to play the flute yourself, but an instructor can give you basic fingering technique, thereby shortcutting the learning time."
Practice.

Then, he gave me a 'B'! I was so upset. I saw on the ledger that Marie, who was very good, got a 'B' also! I could now understand why she left in a huff. I was upset for several hours and then I decided to get over it. Several of us went to Harry's Bar and had several Bellinis. I went home without dinner and fell into bed exhausted. I awoke refreshed. I went down to the garden for my breakfast. There were no chairs left. So my usual, matronly waitress brought me, all by herself, a big velvet upholstered chair from the sitting room and a small marble-topped mahogany table! She set them upright where I liked to sit with a view of the tables and the garden.

Great! I began writing in my journal. Next to me were two middle-aged spinsters(?) from New Zealand. I said, "You're a long way from home."

One replied, "Yes. If we went any farther, we'd fall off" Later she added, “We'll have to wear our 'Wellies' today." Now, that one I had to have explained. It seems that the Duke of Wellington had worn large rubber-coated boots when he defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. After that, the boots became so popular, especially for the rainy British weather, they became known as 'Wellingtons' or 'Wellies' for short. She was right, the weather was looking pretty threatening.

At breakfast, the next morning, several of us were sitting around talking about the course, I began talking about how I was already missing Arnette. I thought, we should do something, so I sent a telegram to 'Jenny Zerbe, Royal Ballet School, London': “CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK (STOP) LOVE, ARNETTE'S PARSONS SCHOOL FRIENDS (STOP)" Then I had to sign my name and address for reference. (I was glad, because I was the one who thought of it.)

I saw Mario in the lobby and asked him what grade he got. He said dejectedly, "a 'B'." To console him, I told him that I did too. But he said, "No! You got an 'A'!" After I said that he must be mistaken, he explained that we were graded in two areas and then given an overall mark for the course. He said that I had gotten a 'B' for sketching and an 'A' for interest theme, with an overall

  ---'A' for the Course!

Wow-what a lift! I had seen only the first mark. When I saw Giuliano later, I almost hugged him. Boy, was I 'up' all day.


Next, More Giuliano Fiorenzoli enthusiasm.

Monday, April 25, 2011

TIDBITES SAGA:

THE VINTAGE CAFE

This cafe in downtown Milton, DE at 113 Union Street is the best!

A stop for excellent breakfasts and lunches—fresh ingredients, excellently prepared and served with a smile.

Amy, the owner, offers good food and company.
Ted and Amy.
It's small and cozy. Neighbors appear everyday to enjoy the food and camaraderie.

Emily helps—with a smile—to keep it going.
Omelets are excellent—fresh, full and perfectly cooked, with interesting ingredients: Fresh Spinach, Goat Cheese, etc. They'll bend over backwards to provide what you want. For instance, I always ask for sliced tomatoes with my omelet instead of toast.

They're always trying new and different items: for example extremely rich Hot Chocolate, a grilled Breakfast Sandwich, a Cuban Sandwich and the best Cinnamon Sticky Buns in three counties.

All-in-all a great place for great food.

         ...Don Voth, your friendly reviewer.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

LONDON TRIP CONTEST SAGA 2:

WHAT HAPPENS?


Well, on the way to work, I told Keith, "Let's go to the newspaper office and get some more copies."

When the receptionist asked how many I wanted, I said, "Oh, a dozen."

But when we went around to the dock to pick them up, the man exclaimed, "I've got a lot of returns. I'll give you a lot." We ended up with 52!

Keith didn't want to mess with a lot of them. I did! It took quite awhile to fill out 42 entries—lunch time, break times and finally finishing them at the airport. Each required an original newspaper coupon and a separate, stamped envelope. Forty-three were mailed from Washington, DC.

Then we waited. Ed told his parents who said excitedly, "If you win more than one, we'll go with you!"

     WELL, WE WON ONE!!



It was for a trip for two, in coach on a 747, leaving Dulles International Airport on March 30, 1984, with a three-night hotel stay and a return flight within a year.

 ---Hooray!

Unfortunately, I was very busy at work. Therefore, I could only spend the weekend. But neither of us complained. A weekend in London would be splendid!



And on Friday, March 30, off we went. The British ambassador to the United States sent us off in a big ceremony. Ed wore a tux! 
We had champagne.



















Next, LONDON!

Friday, April 22, 2011

TIDBITES SAGA:

Yesterday, Thursday, April 21, 2011, Ted, Bob , Robert and I went to the opening night of a new restaurant here in Milton, DE.

It was great!!!

It's called the "BROADKILL BOATHOUSE." It's located right on the Broadkill River, next to Wagamon's Pond—excellent and pretty location.
They're trying real hard to bring good food to Milton...and succeeding. It's not haute cuisine but it's better than most: I had raw oysters, a Caprese Baguette (buffalo mozzarella and tomato sandwich on a great roll) and chipolte mashed sweet potatoes (hot). For dessert I had creamy cheesecake topped with creme brulee! and delicious coffee.

Ted had a "Hudson Hot Potato" with lots of toppings. Bob had a "Gouda Melt" with steak, mushrooms, onions, gouda and tomato aoli...delicious. Robert had a lovely pork chop that he raved about.

Other items include: "Ratoes" stuffed jalapenos with shrimp; several interesting salads; a Cuban sandwich; Fried Oysters; Monte Cristo; Fish Ruben; Pulled Pork; Flounder; Salmon with a strawberry sauce; Fish and Chips; and two pennes: Tequila-Lime and Vodka. All-in-all, an interesting menu worth exploring.

They didn't skimp on the decoration either. A BIG improvement for this space: a nautical theme with many buoys.

Ray, the owner, is very nice, eager to take suggestions and vigilant about the quality.

Wrap-up: a very enticing restaurant with good food and a very nice atmosphere—a great addition to Milton cuisine.


                 ...Don Voth, your friendly reviewer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

MY ITALIAN ADVENTURE SAGA 21:

HIGH FASHION 




The next day, I took the Numero 5 vaporetto around Venice. It’s the only one that circumnavigates the entire city. It took us through the Arsenal, which was very interesting for its munitions factories and shelters and its lion gates. Another stop was an island called St. Michele. One doesn’t casually walk around this small island because it’s the cemetery for Venezia! Stravinsky had just been buried there along with Sergio Diaghlev, Canova, Robert Browning and Ezra Pound. Then the boat stopped at Murano, the glass-blowing island. I thought it would continue on; but when we made that stop, they made everyone get off. I hate the Venetian glass designs so I wasn’t interested in touring the shops. So I had lunch at a very pleasant floating trattoria. Then I continued on around Venezia in another Numero 5. This part was interesting because you see the industrial area, shipping warehouses, and the living areas for the non-wealthy Venetians!

Ran into Massimo on my way home. He invited me to dinner on our last night. I was really surprised and delighted as I had grown to like him a lot. (That made three dinner invitations; how was I going to stay on my fast?) I later found out from Arnette that she and several other students strongly recommended that he try to hire me next year as a teacher! Back to the Florian for Caffe Hag.

Around three in the afternoon, I stopped by Missoni again. Sure enough, they had brought the shirt from the Danieli. The shirt was made out of cotton in a rainbow plaid and was see-through. 
It was a perfect fit, so I decided to buy it!—88,000 Lira! Boy, I’d have to keep my slim figure now! Then I tried on beautiful pants. They fit perfectly. They’re made of 100% wool, basically dark avocado-green with blue, orange, and yellow nubbies.
They looked great on me. While I was trying them on, a rather large, matronly American lady came out of the dressing room in a beautiful silk dress that was beautifully multi-colored. I said, “Bello” to her. She just grinned from ear to ear, and later bought it. Then, I said to the saleslady, “What would I wear with these pants, a solid-colored shirt?” She said, “He (meaning the designer father of the family enterprise) designed a sweater/jacket to go with this.” She got it and put it on me. Well, I was transformed and transfixed! I looked beautiful.

   ---LIKE A MODEL!!

Several people oohed. The sweater/jacket is like a quilted, tapestry rug: very thick, long various length pile making various size rectangles in beautiful blues, greys and greens. 
Maybe clothes do make the man? The saleslady then showed me that it was reversible to a solid navy, quilted, waterproof jacket—super. I also looked great in it that way. I never really thought of myself as good-looking, but this almost did it. 

I knew the jacket would be expensive, but when she said 920,000 ($750), I gasped. She showed me some other (just) sweaters, but none came up to the elegance of the first one. I debated (not too long) and decided to get it and the shirt and the pants! The bill was over a million! My first really good clothes. Ed had told me when I left for Italy to get some nice clothes. He said I was beginning to look ‘frumpy.’—not anymore! I took them to the hotel to show Arnette but she wasn’t there, so I showed several others who oohed and aahed.

I called Arnette from my hotel later and invited her to go for a drink on her last evening. It had been rainy all day and was kind of on the cool side, so I wore the sweater/jacket! With my navy pants (my Missoni pants were being altered) and a light-colored, blue shirt. I looked terrific! As I was walking towards the group’s hotel, several people turned and looked. I wondered if there were thinking, “What’s that guy doing in a sweater?” Or, could it have possibly been, “Doesn’t he look neat?” It was too cool to be in short sleeves, but the sweater/jacket was actually a bit warm. (I had told the lady in Missoni, “Now we need snow!” She enjoyed that.) Arnette was molto impressed. She looked lovely, too: long dress and a long, pretty shawl. We went to sit in the Piazza San Marco and listen to the orchestras. 


As we were approaching a café, a young Italian who was taking pictures turned around, saw us and took our picture, making an OK sign with his hand! Then we sat down and had beautiful, large Bellinis. Two waiters brought them, a very distinguished one with white hair, and a young apprentice. After ordering, the older waiter pointed to my sweater/jacket and said, “Quanti?” (“How much?”)

“Tsk, tsk. You’re not supposed to ask that,” Arnett injected.

Molto Bellinis,” I retorted. We all laughted. Then I showed the waiter the Missoni label. He gesticulated that he knew.

He persisted, “un milione?”

I said, “No,” and held up nine fingers.

“Oh,” he said, “Novecentromila.” Then he added, throwing up his hands, “Eh! Un milione!”

A few minutes later Arnett said, “Don’t turn around now, but several waiters have gathered behind us, three rows back.” They were talking about the sweater/jacket and gesticulating.

 ---What fun!!

We had dinner with Mario, Anna and Fernanda for Arnette’s farewell dinner. Anna admired my sweater/jacket so much that I had to let her wear it. She looked smashing and played like she was going to keep it. Later, we had another drink at the hotel and said our farewells. 
I hugged Arnette saying, “I’m just going to say ‘Ciao, not ‘Arrivederci. (‘See Ya’ instead of ‘Goodby’.) The day before she has said she wanted me to meet her ‘wonderful’ children. I was already looking forward to our continued friendship. Massimo happened by and announced that the schedule for tomorrow had changed, and we were going to go to Murano early the next morning. Shucks! I’m always a day ahead. I was chagrined, because I had wanted to see what was on the original schedule.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TIDBITES SAGA:

Yesterday evening, Tuesday, April 19, 2011, "The Old Geezers Night Out Club" went to Nage! This is probably the finest restaurant in the area. I had a 50% off coupon, so it was't TOO expensive.

We all had a great time, enjoying the wonderful food and conversation.
Ron, Me, Bob and Ted anticipating dinner.
We all had the filet mignon! It was cut-like-butter delicious. Special potatoes wrapped in a deep-fried casing was served—unusual but tasty. The three others had an interesting dessert: Lemon cake topped with balsamic ice cream and fried strawberries! I had chestnut tiramasu(sp?)—delicious and different.

The picture of me show me how much weight I've gained in two months.
I now vow to be more careful AGAIN! I've had trouble with my weight since high-school! I have a chart showing my high and low weight for EVERY month since 1966!! That's how obsessed I am with my weight. It's been an everyday struggle my entire life! I wish they'd let me have stomach-strapping surgery, but alas, they won't. (I tried.) I digress. I would't have missed the Nage dinner for anything.


  ---A Good Time Had By All!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MOM'S THREE WISHES SAGA 6:

ANECDOTES


1. My friend, Steve Dykstra, who won the first prize, almost lost it! He was getting ready to go to Connecticut for Christmas, when the phone rang telling him he had won the trip for two to Hawaii. "Sure I have," he said sarcastically. When asked who he planned to take with him, he replied, "My dog" and hung up! On the way to the train station, he suddenly remembered that I had asked him if I could use his name in the contest – though dimly, as I had asked him at his annual Winter Solstice Party, when he was already three sheets to the wind. At Union Station, he called the magazine and said, "I understand that you just had the contest drawing."

"You must be Steve Dykstra, because he's the only one we've called," they answered. He had to confess. I wouldn't believe he waited two weeks though to tell me. I have given up on first prize.

2. For Jack's prize money, I put cash in a card underneath the Christmas tree. Since He knew nothing about the contest, he was so shocked and thrilled that he gave me a hug and a kiss, which surprised everyone with his delightful spontaneity.


3. My two poorest friends won the contest: Jack is an unemployed actor and Steve was on unemployment for four months. So, no taxes were due!

 ---Luck up on luck!

4. One of the contest pictures was of a hand, holding a cigar. I was virtually sure it was the hand from Winston Churchill's statue in front of the British Embassy. But in driving by to verify, someone had placed a branch of holly in his hand, hiding the cigar

 ---an honorarium or an obfuscation?







(I produced the manuscript on a "Mag-Reader" machine—pre PC.

Assembly of the book was quite an ordeal—requiring the assistance of Liza!)


Monday, April 18, 2011

MY ITALIAN ADVENTURE SAGA 20:

VENEZIA tour

On Sunday, several of us were off to see the Biennale (the renown, bi-annual exhibition of art from around the world). Interesting but most of the art was of that new, wild, impenetrable style that most of us had trouble with. The Biennale is held in many buildings. Each one houses a particular country’s exhibit. It’s enormous.  Ninety-five percent of the artwork, I didn’t like. Saw several Eastern Block country’s exhibits:  Poland—ugh! And Czechoslovakia—also ugh. They’re still in the 1940s with their staid representationalism! However, Belgium had some neat, very lightly sketched studies of Venezia. There were some other interesting exhibits such as Japan, the U.S. and several other European countries. Ran into Mario while I was walking home, and we walked and talked for an hour, discussing all manner of subjects. He’s very special. He read my Hawaiian short story and loved it. We walked to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum—a must see for her wonderfully restored palazzo filled with the modern art she collected.

Monday morning we met for our first Venetian tour: first, a nice talk on the steps in the Piazza San Marco 

about the founding of Venezia, San Marco Cathedral 

and the casas we were about to see. ) A Doge had decreed that only his palace (the Palazzo Ducale)

could be called a palazzo, so all other residences—no matter how grand—had to be called Casas (or Ca’ as a contraction before the name). We tend to call them palazzi today due to their grandeur.) It was a nice talk, but after an hour and a half of Giuliano talking, about what we were going to see that day, I piped up and said, “You promise?,” which brought big laughs from the group. Several patted me on the back for helping to move him along.  We walked to Ca’Loredano. This casa is an old 14tCentury prototypical Venetian palazzo: Fronting on the water, it has a large central two-story corridor opening to a rear garden. It is a total of three floors high. The floors followed the Florentine convention:  ground floor was the entrance, servants and storage; first floor—piano noble—family living rooms; and secondo floor had the bedrooms. After our tour, we were to take a vaporetto to the next place. I suggested gondolas!  
Everyone was delighted, except one woman for some inexplicable reason. It was fun. After visiting the unremarkable Fondaco dei Turchi, a Turkish market, we had lunch. 

At the evening session, Cornelia’s lecture on Venezia was excellent, well prepared and informative. She was now a refreshing change. Then an interesting Milano furniture designer lectured. He showed us slides—one of a beautiful plastic ladder he designed that when folded created a beautiful pattern. I would have found out how to get one for my kitchen in D.C., but he told us that because of the high cost of plastic, it was out of production.

Afterwards, Arnette came to my hotel garden for an iced tea and to read my Hawaiian short story. She loved it, saying I must publish it! We had an intense visit.  Arnette is wonderful. She’s an ‘EST’ person and wants me to take the course. I was very interested. She was a tonic and always tried to help keep me on my diet (even though I’d been tempted by a candy shop nearby). I told her how much I enjoyed being a student again. It made me feel so young and carefree. When I told Arnette that I was almost forty-two, she nearly choked on her iced tea. She thought I was in my early thirties! I found out that she had to leave the course early and take off for London, because her daughter, Jenny, was to dance the major role in Swan Lake in the gala graduation performance of the Royal Ballet School! Jenny was only eighteen and was also being auditioned by Mikhail Baryshnikov for his American Ballet Theater troupe!  Arnette’s husband is Anthony Zerbe, the actor. 

He was going to meet her in London. ‘Saint Anthony’ sounded very special. In the movie “Turning Point”, he played the conductor, whom Shirley MacLaine had an affair with. Also, he was the lieutenant in the television series “Harry-O”, even though he doesn’t like to do television or commercials. He prefers live theater or film. He’s been in many plays. He was going to be doing “Dear Liar” by George Bernard Shaw with Michael Learned that fall in New York. Then off I went to bed without dinner!

Before touring the next morning, I stopped by the Danieli again to see that shirt. I still loved it. So, I went to the Missoni store and asked them to get it so I could try it on. They said they’d have it for me that afternoon.  We all were to meet at the group’s hotel for our daily tour. Then we found out the schedule had changed again.  Instead of seeing several sights, we were going to the Biennale! Well, I wasn’t very interested naturally, since I had just been there two days before. However, since the day’s tour was going to start at the Palazzo Doges, I went with them for that. 
Fernanda and Arnette

Edwina, 'Hat Pat', Giuliano and Carol
After about a thirty-minute talk out front, they left for the Biennale and I went inside. And was I glad I did. Wow!—ornate room after ornate room after ornate room with many famous paintings and enormous murals of battles with hundreds of men and horses. 


I can’t believe the group didn’t go inside.  It’s hard to imagine such grandeur, and the power associated with it. I also went across the Bridge of Sighs 


to the prison, which was naturally, very interesting to me as I’m a prison architect. Got a book on this prison for the office. It wasn’t as bad as I expected for a 15th Century facility. 


Most cells even had outside lights!—I’m sure it was dreadful, though.


Next, A COUTURIER SURPRISE!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LONDON TRIP CONTEST SAGA:

CONTEST

On March 30, 1984, British Airways gave away all the airplane seats from the United States to London to the American people in gratitude of their patronage.

A contest was held by putting ads in city newspapers with coupons. One would send in the completed form for a drawing for a flight that day for two, three nights at a London hotel and a return flight anytime up to a year away! You chose the city you wanted to fly from. Seats were assigned first to the supersonic flights, then first class on the 747s and on down until every seat was filled going from a BA departure airport in the United States to London on that day.


I was in Orlando, Florida working on a prison design the day the advertisement came out, a few weeks before the flights. The hotel happened to put newspapers at each door. When I ran across the ad, I became very excited. I called Keith, my work companion in the next room and pointed it out to him. At breakfast we each filled ours out. I chose Dulles International Airport. Keith, Baltimore-Washington Airport.


THEN I HAD AN IDEA!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MY SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY SAGA 2:

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

A scrumptious meal was laid-out.
Steve, Aurelio, Ted and Steve.
Ted, Me surprised by something, Drew and Bonnie.
A surprise birthday cake by Jen's mother was brought out by Steve.
Not just any birthday cake, but a huge, triple-layer Pineapple Upside Down Birthday Cake!!

Presents were nonexistent as requested, but the cards were a delight—one extra large card had Tina Turner singing, "You're Simply the Best," when opened. What a touching hoot!

There were Steve and Lee, Drew, Ted, Steve and Ray, Marilyn, Aurelio, Bonnie, Mari, Deo, Mary Ann, Jim and Diane, Winnie and Jeanine, Jen, Kevin et Moi there.

It lasted on into the night, breaking up about 1 A.M.

video
A MOVIE!


Diane, Kevin and Marilyn
Me and Steve. Friends for nearly THIRTY years!
Aurelio, Drew, Bonnie and Ted.
  ---a splendiferous start to my eighth decade.