2018 was a helluva year. This is my personal, highly idiosyncratic take on the Best of 2018. I hope you enjoy the list and I hope it inspires you.
Best Movie: A Star Is Born. I cried like a baby at the end. Love always contains loss, love and loss nest inside each other like Russian matryoshka dolls. And how great was the music?
Best Book I read: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PhD. This was a tough choice, I read a lot of great books. I’ll mention Jordan Peterson‘s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos; The Coddling of the American Mind; John Medina’s Brain Rules; and Scott Adams‘ Win Bigly. Oh, and I’ve been working my way through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. In the end, I chose the book that resonated most deeply for the way of the human heart. Dr. Gottman’s work is amazing, and he rocks!
Best Song: Shallow, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I mean, right?!?!
Best TV Show: The Big Bang Theory. I’m binge-watching. I keep plunking down the $ on Amazon Prime for each season. It just makes me happy to snuggle up with my husband at night and watch a few episodes–giggling at my own inner nerd as much as at Sheldon, Leonard, and the gang. “Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery…”
Best Place to Visit: The Dolomites. A world heritage site. Awe-inspiring grandeur. And after a day of hiking up and down the mountains, you get to eat Italian food! How great is that?
Best Restaurant in Manhattan: The Fairway Cafe. The service is spotty, the noise rattles the windows, and the food is tasty. Go for the yummy eats, not the ambiance. It’s New York for New Yorkers.
Best Yoga Studio in NYC: Yogaworks UWS. Thoughtful teachers, a caring community. Alas, it closed at the end of November. I miss it.
Cutest Grandson: Mine. ❤️
I am so delighted to announce that my husband, classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, was profiled on Fox Television in their beautiful Modern Masters series. Modern Masters: Sabin Howard, Sculptor aired on Friday, March 11.
In this wonderful segment, Sabin relates the story of his origins and being influenced by the powerful and gorgeous architecture of Torino and Italy. He talks about how he dropped out of college and then decided, at age 19, that he wanted to go to art school. He laughs at how his parents, who are both PhDs, wanted him to go somewhere like Harvard. “That wasn’t going to go down,” he says.
He was filmed sculpting, showing his process of breaking the body into cubes. The camera pans over him drawing. He speaks of the importance of the figure, and how it shows us as we can be. “Art has the ability to transform and elevate your spirit,” he states.
The World War 1 Memorial also came up. “World War 1 is a war that needs to be remembered because it changed the course of history,” Sabin says. He talks about how the figures in his design concept are relational and taking care of each other–the glorification of the human spirit.
Watch the piece, it’s amazing!
Day 11: Letter to a friend
Lynn and I dined at a restaurant that has been in business for over 400 years.
“I haven’t eaten here in years,” Lynn confessed.
“That’s easy to do when the restaurant stays in business for centuries,” I noted.
The thing about dinner with an astrologer who is also a Jungian therapist, and an Ericksonian, is that conversation is multi-layered. It’s rich in metaphor. We discussed the praying mantis gene: Venus conjunct Pluto, those who must prey upon what they love. Sometimes consuming the other is beneficial for the love object. Sometimes it is destructive. Context is everything; what is the relationship?
“You would never want to sleep with someone who has that conjunction,” Lynn commented.
Graciously, in response to my curiosity about this part of the natal chart, she talked about the 8th house: the house of the fall (not the season, but the act of stepping away from grace), the house of hidden power, the house of mysticism and deep sexual union.
After dinner we loitered in front of Notre Dame, which is lit up only in front, and not on the sides–so those gorgeous flying buttresses were not shown off to any advantage at all. Dommage; but the socialists are saving money.
Lynn snapped an “atmospheric” photo of me. I was more interested in the facade, Le Courbusier’s “pure creation of spirit.” Alas I lacked a zoom on my phone to focus in on the figures of Adam and Eve, high up, to the right and left of the rose window. Eve holds an apple.
If I were married to a surgeon, I would hear about cuts and scalpels; if I were married to a movie producer, I would be regaled with stories about talent and above- and below-the-line costs; I am married to a classical figurative sculptor, so I have spent considerable time in Possagno, at Canova’s Gypsoteca and the nearby breath-taking Tempio.
Tonight I wanted to try a new place for dinner. Sabin googled a restaurant and, en route, we passed an Agriturismo.
“Oh, let’s stop there, I love Agriturismos!” I enthused.
Sabin was skeptical, but he was in the mood to please me. I had, after all, endured several hours of waiting for him to emerge from the Canova museum. He raised an eyebrow but drove up the gravel road to the restaurant.
We were greeted by the honks and shuffles of a small pen of ducks and hens. “Dinner,” Sabin observed. But he was happy to note that the immaculate walkway to the Agriturismo was lined with half-life-size sculptures. It was all very neat and manicured.
Once inside, we saw several locals and a few tourists. Nice-looking young Demitri waved us to a table in welcoming fashion and then informed us of the day’s offerings.
The antipasti consisted of two plates of the most delicious salumi. One plate was heaped with prosciutto, pancetta, and salami. The other plate sported paper-thin slices of roast breast of turkey. As a rule, I don’t eat pork. But the salami was mouth-wateringly scrumptious, and I couldn’t resist. I ate every bite that Sabin allowed me—he finished most of it, and he wasn’t sharing, despite the kilo of beef he’d eaten for lunch.
I also indulged in the wine. It was a riot of purple goodness on my tongue, fresh and drinkable and absolutely superb. At night I have one glass of wine at dinner. But tonight a few glasses vanished before I belatedly realized that I really should pace myself. It was just so clean and yummy that I wanted more, and more. Oh, and have I mentioned that the wine is home-made?
Then came the pasta: home-made tagliatelle with duck ragu. Ohmigod. As a professional writer, I really should have a better way to say it than Ohmigod. But that luscious primi deserved devout praise, an exclamation of the purest pleasure. Again, as a rule, I don’t eat pasta. But this was a divine exception.
Sabin devoured his pasta without saying a word or even breathing.
Then I had the steak, and it was fantastic, clean and lean and perfectly cooked and exquisite. Sabin and I shared the secondi because he had, after all, eaten a kilo of beef at lunch.
We passed on dessert. I couldn’t have wedged another bite of anything down my gullet. So Demetri brought me home-made limoncello, and it was another mouthful of bliss and paradise. We fell to talking to him, or rather, Sabin spoke Italian and I understand a lot more than I can say, so I followed the conversation. Then Demetri introduced us to his wife Jessica, a lovely and talented young woman who keeps a sparkling kitchen and cooks like an angel. We begged her to allow us to take a few pictures, because it was overwhelmingly impressive.
And then Demitri brought me a glass of an herbal liquor that he claimed was a digestive, something they make themselves. Have I already used the words delicious, divine, scrumptious, and bliss? Because they all apply to this liquor, which must be tasted to be believed.
So next time you are in the area of Asolo or Possagno, or anywhere in the Veneto, stop by Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo. They’re located at Via Fusere 7 – Fietta di Paderno del Grappa, tel 0423 190 14 57. Restaurant open Friday and Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch and dinner.
Two of my men were featured in the Huffington Post within a day of each other.
Yesterday, my dear, longtime, brilliant, accurate, and very feisty friend Paul Brodeur struck back at American Hustle. He was roundly defamed in the movie, and he didn’t stand for it. He spoke with a HuffPo reporter and set the record straight.
Catch the article here, at
The form of beauty Howard pursues is the Greek beauty, awful, unmerciful, scouring. There is no more hiding from the crushing demands of virtue or from the stark final nature of things in his conception of the figure. Howard is, after a manner of speaking, a servant of Apollo, and not just any servant. He is trying to become Tiresias; he scarcely requires eyes to see what he sees.