Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Often, Indeed?

How often do you do something crafty at happy hour?

Almost never, but today was different. I went to the Anderson Gallery's happy hour to meet a friend (and ran into several others) for the final event of the series.

Artist Hope Ginsburg was conducting a felting workshop, known as "Felt-Making for Nomads" and promising the acquisition of a new skill set to craft bowls, socks or a weatherproof house for life on the steppes.

With plenty of bowls, socks and no desire to live on the steppes, all I made was a blue felt ball, but that's all anyone made. Some balls were just bigger or more colorful than others.

The group was comprised of 95% females and the rest confident males. During the extended period where all you do is roll your ball from hand to hand, conversation started flowing.

That's when I realized that felt ball making was the perfect activity to accompany group therapy. As we stood around, talk flowed from all of us on any number of unrelated topics.

How often do you have group therapy at happy hour?

With finished balls in hand, my friend and I walked across the street to Cous Cous for a bite afterwards. The wine choices left a lot to be desired (Siema Pinot Grigio) but the drafts were cheap.

Life is a series of compromises.

We munched on a lamb wrap thick with meat, lettuce, tomato and enough sauce for ten wraps and the curry platas, fries with that divine curry sauce. Felt-making works up an appetite, it would seem.

My friend was telling me about the motorcycle class she took over the weekend but I'd done nothing nearly as ambitious as all that since she'd last seen me.

Does being invited to go skinny dipping count?

When she left to go home and work on a drawing project, I went to the Virginia Center for Architecture for another in their Modern Monthly Movies series.

This time it was "Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler." The architect who sat next to me asked if I knew who Wexler was, but I didn't.

I explained to him that I was there to learn about a desert architect I hadn't even known existed. He nodded approvingly.

As I was to discover, Wexler was a major force in the mid-century Palm Springs architecture scene, both private and public.

His motto of "Stay small and keep busy" was as sensible as his "Architecture is fine art but also a business."

This from an architect who couldn't ever remember a design of his being turned down by a client.

That could be construed as proof that he was a people-pleaser or that he was the right man in the right place. I came away inclined toward the second.

The houses and buildings he designed were notable for their steel construction, canopies, and ability to bring the outdoors in.

Looking at some of his designs for the Palm Springs Airport and singer Dinah Shore's house show an architect with a commanding grasp of desert design.

Placing an airport inside a ring of mountains makes for superb views and dramatic landings. Architectural score.

And I liked his spirit. "In the 50s, 60s and 70s," he said, "There was no fear in architecture." That has to be the last time that was the case.

My final plans were to meet a friend at Amour Wine Bistro to catch up after nearly eight months.

The evening got off to a fine start with Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose.

The Alsatian owner teasingly suggested that I should like a wine from his homeland and he was right. He need not have worried; it had a  lovely creaminess and a lingering finish that I loved.

My friend and I had tons to talk about. At our last meeting, I'd learned she had a new boyfriend (a restaurant-owner, no less) but no more details.

Tonight I got to hear the very romantic story of their first meeting. I was not surprised that bubbles were involved.

We allowed ourselves to be talked into a peach tart and kiwi sorbet, two lovely desserts we did not need, but ate anyway.

To accompany such fine desserts, I had Chateau de le Roulerie Coteaux de Layon, a perfect pairing made all the better for not being overly sweet or highly alcoholic.

Sipping bubbly afterwards, we talked about some of the new restaurants on our radar and she admitted how great it was to have a boyfriend who cooks so well.

She considers herself spoiled, but I'd say lucky is more like it.

And all she had to do was sit there with friends until he noticed her and fell for her.

That doesn't sound too difficult.

How often do you sit at a bar and end up with a boyfriend?


  1. Not often enough, but it only takes one fantastic French restaurant, French wine, French menu, and a French man to make it happen. I will admit the magic isn't necessarily French, so don't go thinking you have to turn Francophile my friend, you turn enough heads I think and it will happen for you too.

  2. The sooner, the better!

    Thank you for the encouraging words...