Autumn Has Arrived in Annapolis

Today is one of those fabulous brisk fall days you can only have in the Northeast. The sky is a brilliant blue and the leaves still hanging on the trees are various shades of red, orange, and yellow. The brown crumbly ones make a carpet to step upon as you walk down the street.
Systematically I’ve been cleaning out my partner’s desk drawer by drawer, which is tedious work. but I’ve found some interesting things such as a very small watercolor my father Herman Maril painted for me as the card on the top of a present and a tiny sketch of a horse he did that somehow ended up in my possession. I’ll have to get these little items framed for their protection.
As a reward to myself, I’ll take another walk this afternoon but only after I’ve done a certain amount of cleaning, organizing, filing, and sorting that I am reluctant to do. This is how I keep myself motivated.
We had a fairly good turnout for the monthly Writer’s Breakfast yesterday, a total of five of us though not all at the same time. We spent more time catching up then talking specifically about the craft of writing, but maybe next month the conversation will be more focused.
It has now been five days since I’ve put on my brace, and as I sit here at the computer I am focusing on sitting straight and tall. Happy autumn and enjoy the weekend.


Physical Therapy Can Be Painful

This morning was my first Physical Therapy session since the accident. I can’t do anything with my back, this month, so the focus is on my neck. I already know the drill, having been through PT after surgery on my broken left wrist two years ago. Heat first to loosen up and relax the muscles, then some stretching or exercise, followed by ice to reduce the pain.
My neck is so stiff and still in healing mode, so its too early for exercise. I’m limited to a touch of stretching but primarily just a neck massage. After it is all over and the day is progressing I feel those tinges of pain all over again.
When I feel pain, it’s time to think of other things such as the beautiful view of sunlight on the water and the sailboats I admired, while crossing the Eastport Bridge yesterday. Yesterday I also poached a whole salmon for the first time and discovered it was very easy. (I was so afraid I was going to overcook or undercook the fish.) While I do not own a fancy fish poacher, a large baking pan that could hold water and plenty of tin foil are all that is needed. After reading multiple recipes, I settled on creating the court bouillon in advance with fresh herbs and vegetable broth. Boiled and then cooled I poured it in the pan for poaching unable to totally cover the fish, so we turned the fish midway through the process. The foil on top, locks in the heat. As to how long to let the broth boil or to immediately turn it off and depend on the residual heat– well, that depends on the size of the fish. Fortunately my husband was available to help flip the fish and later on he helped with the skinning and deboning. But it was delicious. So I am certain to try it again.
I didn’t take a photo of the poached fish, so you’ll have to settle for the spring flower market.

New York 911 Memorial, Batman Movie and Occupy Wall Street

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The latest Batman movie was being filmed near Wall Street, where we were staying this past weekend, so we got to see several bat mobiles parked in the distance. Littered on the ground was fake snow. It is crumpled up bits of white paper. But the multitude of guards and police made it difficult to see anything up close. So Sunday after our focus on art the previous day, we decided to do some exploring in the Financial District. In our group was my son Chris, his girlfriend Laura, and husband Peter. (Just in case you’re wondering who are those people in the photos.)
I’ve been seeing the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters on the TV news for several weeks. Up close the occupied zone looked a lot smaller, and yes there was a large amount of commercial enterprises connected to the demonstration as vendors sold buttons, flyers, and T-shirts to interested onlookers. Having recently lost my job, I could certainly identify with the protestors. But the most moving part of our Sunday tour of New York City’s financial district was the 911 Memorial. Remember, if you go you’ll need to get tickets for an entrance time. (The memorial is free but donations are accepted). Sunday was the day of the New York Marathon, so probably there were less tourists interested in the memorial and we were able to get tickets that morning by standing in line at the store/check-in location.
I tried to read all the names inscribed on the edges around the two pools and what struck me immediately was the diversity of names. Every nationality is represented, although the attack on the Twin Trade Towers was supposedly an attack on America. There were names that were obviously Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, English, Irish… it was very moving. And in the background was the sound of rushing water and visually the sunlight being reflected off the water.
Battery Park and the Museum of the American Indian (Free) are other sights in the area we visited and enjoyed before heading back towards Penn Station to catch a train home. A very late train I might add. But other than the late train, it was an fine weekend.

Herman Maril Exhibit Brings Family to New York

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Saturday I walked over 100 city blocks in New York City. Fortunately I brought my TCO (Total Contact Orthosis) brace ie clamshell for when I started to feel fatigued. It was also great protection elbowing our way off the train in crowded Penn Station. The occasion was the opening of the Herman Maril exhibition, entitled “Sense of Place” which opened November 5th at the David Findlay Jr. Gallery’s new location at 724 Fifth Avenue, across from Trump Tower and Tiffany’s. It’s beautiful space, larger than the previous gallery as you can see from the photos we took. One of my favorite paintings is “Kitchen” (I hope that’s the correct name or Cape Kitchen). At any rate, it was always one of my mother’s favorites– inspired by the house in Provincetown and I find it very appealing because it is an interior with window. The canvas gives both a view of the lush landscape greenery beyond the window, while the strong colors of the red frying pan and the purple/blue sink draw the eye and mind to thoughts of home, household objects, and intimacy.
Peter and I took a super early train and arrived in the city at 9:00 a.m. After walking up to mid-town to meet up with my cousin Ron, after breakfast we proceeded to walk along to the edge of Central Park to pay a visit to the Whitney Museum. I particularly enjoyed “The Real Surreal” exhbit and the David Smith Sculpture exhibit. After walking back to the hotel for a brief rest and just enough time to change clothes, it was on to the Herman Maril opening.
The exhibit will be up through November 26th and is open six days a week from 10:00-5:30. If you get to New York after the exhibit is down, please take note that the Findlay gallery always has some work available to show to clients if you inquire.
More about our New York adventures in another posting.

Cheers to Good Health

Last night it was time for a celebration as I move forward with my life. I’m pretty much free of the brace. Yes, there is quite a bit of pain as my muscles readjust and it is a deep pain, generating from my back, which is a part of the central core– but I can live with it for now. I’m staying very focused on keeping excellent posture, whether sitting or standing.
So where did Peter and I celebrate? Well we went to the very lovely, off the beaten track for us Annapolitans, Cafe Bretton on Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. in Severna Park. I indulged myself in comfort food: A bowl of onion soup with french bread and melted cheese on top and a half portion of Beef Bourguignon.
Peter selected the special of the evening, wild rockfish with clams, mussels, and scallops. All was delicious. There was absolutely no room for dessert, although the dessert tray looked tempting. We were stuffed. However if you do have a big appetite and can arrive prior to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, they have an early evening special which consists of a three-course meal from the selected menu for $30.95 which is also available prior to 6:00 on Friday and Saturday and from 4:00-8:00 on Sunday. So if you haven’t tried Cafe Bretton, it has been around for a long time and is certainly a restaurant which provides both excellent food and attentive service.
This weekend is Historic Annapolis Foundation’s candlelight tour and the neighborhood where the tour takes place is Murray Hill. This worthwhile event raises money for Historic Preservation in our fair city of Annapolis and always provides creative inspiration for home decorating. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, visit their website.

Great News:The Back Brace is Off!!!

It’s been exactly eight weeks and three days, trapped inside the TCO Total Contact Orthosis jacket( also known as the Clamshell) and I have been given my release papers so to speak. I am close to tears as I type this. I’ve been waiting such a long time for this day. I can finally stop wearing it, most of the time, and can thus drive a car and wear “real clothes” again. This is excellent news as I continue to recover from my injuries sustained in the equestrian accident that took place on September 4th. I have to be careful– no bending over at present, no lifting, or exercise other than my usual walks, but progress is taking place. My next step towards recovery is physical therapy to help the recovery of my neck muscles and tendons that are still tender and stiff. Physical therapy for my back will come later.
So my next plan of action, after I spend some time working on my job search, is to reorganize my closet. The weather has turned cold and I’ll now be able to wear some of those wool slacks, skirts and sweaters I purchased on sale last spring for the fall/winter season. (I do have a weakness for fashion.) Probably I will need to put the clamshell back on for protection, to remind me not to lift too many garments at one time. I’ve got at least two more months of being cautious and careful regarding my spine, but I feel confident I will become strong and whole if I can stay patient and in a positive frame of mind.

Soggy Saturday Pre Halloween

Today is a soggy Saturday. At least we didn’t get snow. But, by the time we walked over to the Maryland Avenue City Dock Cafe and back again, I needed a fresh set of clothes. Today is also the Saturday before Halloween, the night for Halloween parties and the night when all the bars have their costume contests. The last time I checked their website, Fado’s at Park Place in Annapolis was still having their yearly contest and as I have blogged before, watching all the contestants is lots of fun. I’ve always enjoyed seeing all the neighborhood children in their costumes. But adult costumes are even better. Whether you decide to go with a low effort costume such as “Branch Manager” dressed in a business suit with a branch in your back pocket or something more complex such as dressing in green and decking yourself up with all your Christmas ornaments, there are many possibilities. My daughter Alex sent us a photo of her boyfriend Crosby dressed up as a Coke Head. He followed through on her idea of creating a hat with a circle of Coca Cola cans. Pretty clever. I’m looking forward to seeing other folks’ costumes. As for myself, well I am dressing up and I will be utilizing my TCO Total Contact Orthosis jacket, only I’ll be wearing it on the outside instead of under my clothes. No, I am not going as a clam. I’m going to be a Crash Dummy.