Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Savoring Beauty, Savoring Life

Not especially OT-ish, but heartfelt:

This is a very trivial post on a day full of images of devastated Paris in the papers. However, it is about bringing a little bit of beauty into and savoring life, which is what I hear the people of France are so good at doing.
A few weeks ago a work friend gave me a very antique power cord for a refurbished computer, thus saving me about $80. When I drove to her home to pick up this gift I spent a few minutes in her kitchen, which had been renovated by her science teacher husband--Paul. Entering her home was what I imagine an Italian home to be like. All the colors were earth-tones or vibrant, like jewels, and her kitchen--her kitchen was a place where you could imagine making homemade sauces and crushing fresh basil every evening for enhancing your mother's and grandmother's recipes.
Her husband had designed and built a coffee bar where her kitchen "desk" used to be. It had an archway of tile, highlighting a high counter of marble where her box-like coffee/espresso/other things people do with coffee machine sat amongst coffee-ish accessories and tools--each one somehow related to the business of making coffee so delicious you spent time relishing it.
I left Italy and came back to my no-frills home. Plopping my purse down on the 2'x2' counter where I keep my Sunbeam drip coffee maker I suddenly felt hungry for texture and color in my life. Over the last three weeks I've tried to figure out how to regain that sense of richness that I felt when I was in my friend's kitchen, yet be true to my personal guide to home decor--only fill space, especially horizontal surfaces, with what is beautiful or functional and, preferably, both.

Scouring my cabinets I pulled out everything related to coffee that I occasionally use and arranged it all around my coffee maker. Yesterday I realized that the Couroc tray What is Couroc? I'd found at Goodwill so long ago might be a decent substitute for the Italian tiles I did not have on hand, so I added it as a backdrop to the coffee scene.

Having these extra items on the tiny counter has pushed me to keep my purse and going-out-the-door stuff somewhere else, which hasn't been easy to get used to. 
I confess that I haven't used any of the unearthed equipment since I've put them out on the counter.
No, wait. I did use the french press that #1 son gave me a few years ago. I know he likes using one himself because when he left RVA to move to his job far, far away he took Uncle Grumpy and me out to brunch at CanCan just before he left town. I remember the server bringing #1 son's coffee to the table, the boy waiting the allotted number of minutes for it to sufficiently brew and then depressing the plunger to separate the grounds from the thick, dark liquid. He savored every minute of the waiting and the drinking, along with his pear-imbued beignet. Where did he learn to appreciate food and drink like that?

Enjoy these photos of my little slice of Italy, with a nod to France. I've never been to either country, but don't we all feel like a little part of our hearts are there today.

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