Coming to Portland was a way to start my life all over again. The massive economic crisis that gripped the country forced me to reassess my own future. I always knew that I would leave New York, and the timing seemed right to me. Moving into a house with elbow room after nearly forty years of cramped apartment living is very liberating. While I cast about for a way to continue earning a living as a freelancer, my house constantly occupies my attention.
The plan was to have my kitchen and dining room repainted, but the person I selected to do the job, never showed up. I found another painter—who is actually my yard man. He told me he actually enjoys painting—one of my least favorite chores. And even if he was saying that to get work, his enthusiasm for the job was enough for me. This week I’m actually hanging pictures around the house. There’s not much wall space to hang art in the living room, so much of the bigger pieces will have to be disbursed around the house. Worse, there is little room to actually “view” art from any perspective except straight-on-and-close-to the works, which is not very conducive to enjoying them. But like everything else, it’s trial and error and the pictures will probably be moved around several times before I’m pleased with their final arrangement.
The refrigerator arrived and I’m over the moon about it. My closest friends are beginning to worry about me. Such a fuss over a refrigerator. My last one in New York was functional—hardly handsome—and certainly not worth talking about except to say it did yeoman service for about fifteen years. The new fridge is a shiny, sleek and commodious cold container with French doors allowing for roomy storage, and a drawer freezer space below. This one makes ice cubes—an improvement over the last one which did not. I like the white shiny, as opposed to a rough, surface. I actually like the white. I’m violently opposed to the current mania for stainless steel. Besides, the stove and dishwasher are already white, so the decision was made for me. I moved the old side-by-side which came with the house, out to the garage (it was too fat for the basement), where it will do honorable back-up duty with additional freezer and cooling space for entertaining outdoors.
Had dinner last night with friends, Jean-Francois and Jay at the Davis Street Tavern in downtown Portland. A simple pared-down and modern restaurant in warm green tones, the Davis Street Tavern serves up straight-foward, flavorful American fare in a pleasant atmosphere that isn’t frantically noisy. The food is delicious. I had a tender grilled double pork chop, painted with a slightly sweet, slightly salty mahogany colored Asian sauce. It was served with a puree of potato and zucchini and surrounded with a ring of quickly sautéed Napa cabbage. I started with a green salad of butter lettuce, baby spinach, radishes, grape tomatoes and Rogue blue cheese (the State’s award-winning Blue chesee is outstanding). This excellent-value $25 prix fixe menu ended with a large scoop of coconut sorbetto with a shower of chopped, toasted, sugared hazelnuts. We all loved it.
Had a funny looking chandelier at the bottom of my stairs and didn't much care for the look of it. Then I decided to try these black shades in a square shape. Made all the difference in the world.
And now the painting is done in the dining room and kitchen. The color is gorgeous. Gordon, my painter, is a meticulous craftsman, who patiently applied three coats to the walls. It's got incredible depth and at night it is really romantic looking. I put my old hanging pendulum clock on the walls and all that is missing are the bookshelves for the cookbooks. They are due from the manufacturer soon.
I couldn't live with the bugs any longer and found these handsome bronze-colored screen doors to keep them outside. I hate the idea of killing bugs and have rescued any number of butterflies, spiders and other "critters". But the straw the broke the camel's back was a huge moth that alighted on the wall behind my big TV chair. I had visions of my sweaters with big holes and he had to go--down the toilet, that is. I felt awful afterwards. So I now have three new screen doors, which make the house a bug-free zone.
I'm really ready to entertain now.