Friday, October 07, 2005

"But, does it please you?"

We're back to ice skating lessons. Problem is, the rink is 40 minutes away from home. I think about the gasoline to get there and feel guilty, but then I wave it off. I want her to skate and there's nothing closer. We took lessons last fall and I knew then it was the perfect activity for her. It has all the elements she likes: theatrics and costumes, it's pretty to watch and you don't get dirty, and it's a solo sport. I'd like to see her learn to twirl and jump because it would make her proud. She needs an opportunity for performing. I have recognized this for quite awhile.
So it's lessons once a week for now.

We changed our minds about baking that cake and decided to make a extra nice dinner for her daddy. Menu:
Chicken Marsala
French herbed quinoa and rice (from a box)
Steamed broccoli

I let her help. She pounded the chicken under wax paper. She dredged it in seasoned flour. She stirred the quinoa and set the table. She knows where all my stuff is. She brings out the linen napkins and pokes her finger into the centers pulling them through napkin rings, a skill she mastered "when I was little!" Out come the woven chargers, the silk coasters, the white plates, the water goblets, the pretty salt and pepper shakers, and the "centerpiece." This she created by snatching three jack-o-lantern candles away from their spot on the Halloween table: Behind them another tall candle which I had to light. That and telling her which way the knives go was my only contribution.

I'm kind of proud of her meticulousness in what I call the art of "staging." She learns from the master! I remember loving the discovery of dimmer lights as a child. And background music! Early on I was a closet
critic of other people's domestic environs. There is so much ick out there. Why not make things lovely? I long ago accepted my need to luxurize my surroundings.

"But does, it please you?" Meryl Streep (as Karin Blixen) counters back to her lover (Robert Redford) when he criticizes her lugging her lovely accoutrements to the African plains; her fine china and sterling silverware, her club chairs and mahogony high-boy, her irish linens and her victrola. Obviously it pleased him much because he was always hanging out there on her cushy sofa drinking from her wine cache and thumbing through her l
eather-bound books.

The desire for controlling a little piece of our environment combined with a natural artistic flair lures many of us into the decorative arts. I don't apologize for liking it more than say, accounting, or medicine. Now, finally with a daughter after years of raising sons, I have my ally. My little comrade in gracious living.

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