Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Unexpected List

When you reflect on the year that is slipping away, it's easy to count the things you didn't accomplish. I didn't run a marathon or remodel the kitchen this year. Or master the art of French cooking. But I did do some things that I didn't expect to that made it rather sweet.

1. Had a yard sale where I sold a lot of stuff for not a lot of money. I’m glad I did it and I never want to do it again.

2. Visited Falling Water. I expected to enjoy it, but didn’t expect to be so moved by the simple country escape built with such a great vision.

3. Went to a lecture by my favorite living author, A.S. Byatt. Her Still Life changed the way I saw contemporary fiction. She probes the inner landscape of the human condition with the gentle precision of a rare artist. Her work belongs in the canon of great literature.

4. Visited Cleveland’s West Side Market and the Cleveland Art Museum, where my husband and I had our first date. When a relationship starts with food and art, you know it’s going to be good.

5. Hosted a few parties. They were not flawless, but sharing food and wine with people I care for is a deeply satisfying experience.

What did you accomplish this year and didn’t expect to?

Gifts for the Tough Guys

The hardest people for me to shop for are, hands down, men. Particularly the men I’m buying for who already have absolutely everything. It’s tough coming up with something unique every year that isn’t insulting. Gift cards are great in a pinch, but they don’t say ‘you mean the world to me.’ Forget that I think men should be carrying man purses around so we don’t have to carry all their stuff when we go out. Face it ladies, that idea is just never going to take off in North America.

So here are a few things that might be a hit with men.

The small Mexican spice kit from purpose design … great if you’ve got a grillmaster on your list.

The Doc Holiday Hat from Moe Sew Co. Millenery. We love a man in a hat, don’t we?

A Spalted Maple Titanium Nitride Jr Gents pen from moon sky woodworks.

How about a fun vintage sign from Larry’s tin signs.

I’m sure I’m missing some gift ideas … and I welcome yours!

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