Susanna Salk


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SUMMER HARVEST
Sunday, September 21st, 2008

It is getting hard to leave the lake.
With such gloriously warm weather, we are stretching our days here to give the illusion that we are still in care-free July. Autumn’s crisp schedule is always omnipresent and we don’t ignore it, we’re just trying to dovetail it into our outdoor pleasures instead.
So we will go out on the boat but only after homework is finished. I’ll go to the local orchard and bring a basket of apples- not corn- to our picnic at the little lake beach club. It’s closed up now and the life guards have flown to college but its still 75 degrees out. As I watch the kids splash in the water I think of these winter gloves I just saw come in at the wonderful clothing store in town. I check my watch. 30 minutes until my son’s SSAT tutor arrives. The test is now only weeks away.
I used to dread summer when my kids were very little. The days were hectic and unreliable. As I drenched little backs with sun block I kept thinking of all the work I had to do. But whenever I’d get to cram in work, the whoosh, whoosh, beat of the sprinkler urged me back outside with them and I knew I had to obey.
So I ran, from camp to conference call to cocktail party. From Labor Day to Memorial Day I only lay in my hammock if it was to play pirate ship.
I loved the certainty of what Fall brought. The crispness of the air matched the reliable school schedules. You knew from 8:30-3:00 p.m. was yours. The house became a grown up place again, a serene backdrop waiting your command. Then at 3:19 sharp it would do a reverse Cinderella as my wonderful boys would be deposited by the school bus at the front door and run in telling me something all at once, backpacks and arms half-opened towards me.
At the lake we are having summers as they are supposed to be. My kids are older of course so things I used to need a babysitter to do, I now get to do with them. We hike, canoe, grill, house and dock hop around the lake. It’s one giant play date. As I begin to look at high school with my older son, I clutch him closer, wondering how much longer he will want to share an endless summer day with his family.
So just as things get easy, it changes.
Today we spent a glorious afternoon on the water at a friends lake house just a few miles away from where we are. We tubed and dined on the porch on her garden tomatoes and fresh basil and then I took the picture below from their dock, trying to capture the serene spirit of what was around us.
As we drove home around the hair pins turns the lake was crowded with convertibles and bikers. I’ve got to get out there before the sun sets I thought.
We used to live in Los Angeles in a season-less environment. I sued to walk around and actually forget what month it was. Oh, it’s November already? I thought it was June. Back East, nature is constantly reminding us of what real time is. Deny September all you want but at the end of the day, the day will get darker sooner.
I actually can’t wait for Winter. But that means leaving here. And that means another chapter of family life has been written.
And I’m just not ready for that.

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DOMESTICAT
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

It took several weeks but ultimately we earned the trust and love of a beautiful stray cat, (who we named Manu), who had been living on the outskirts of our lake property since last year. We used to see her, scurrying back into the shadows at night if we suddenly stepped outside or dancing in the tall grass along the brook.
I started leaving bowls of food out for her and cautious nocturnal feedings eventually gave way to strutting right up to our door in day light.
I offered my hand for her to rub and she shrank away until finally, once we made contact, she collapsed her entire body onto mine with a sigh. That night, she stayed firmly rooted on the large entry stone and looked longingly up into our door window, like a spurned sweetheart. I let her in.
She had, through the long winter, maintained herself quite beautifully. With her luxurious long hair and huge green eyes, she resembles one of those Fancy Feast cats that live on satin pillows and are served fresh salmon filets on china. And yet, even on a rainy day, when I went out, she was at the front door ready to dally in her old haunts.
Later, my son and I found her across the river bank, napping contentedly on a moss-covered stone wall beneath a canopy of branches.
“Wow, I want to sleep there!” exclaimed my son. It did look very Beatrix Potter. I remember reading those books as a child and longing to make my bed as cosy as the nest holes those animals spent the winter in. And it made me reconsider that our homes are as much about what we keep out as about what we keep in, regardless of whether we are outside looking in, or inside looking out.
Now, as Manu strolls the revised perimeters of her world inside, I wonder if I am keeping her from her real home or providing her with a better one?
Of course she had rugs to lie on instead of dirt, organic food to consume in groovy cat bowls from Target. And she peers out a window onto a world where she was both predator and prey. Does she notice? Does she care where she is as long as she is safe and fed? Are humans the only beings who judge their well being by the rooms where they lay their heads at night?
We just rented a documentary about Koko, the extraordinary gorilla who was taught sign language by her human trainer and companion, Penny.
With over 500 signs at her disposal, Koko suddenly gives us astounding access to the extraordinary depths and emotions an animal can feel.
Koko came to Penny because her mother was killed by poachers in the jungles when she was just a baby.
And yet, 10 years later, when asked how Koko came to meet Penny and live in her California home, Koko signed to the effects of; “Throat, cut, noise, scared, leave home.”
Here was an animal who, like we all do, recalled the battle scars of leaving a beloved childhood home.
After we turned it off, I left the door open all night so that Manu could come and go as she pleased.
When I awoke, she was curled beside us on the bed.

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LAKE LOVE AFFAIR
Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

It was supposed to be just a flip.
Take a little old lady’s house circa 1970, dress her up and send her back into the prom world of real estate to look for its love match.
But it was WE who fell in love. Unexpectedly and obscenely in love and now can not let go.
We bought the cottage over a year ago. It’s only 15 minutes as the crow flies from our main house yet it feels lands away nestled in the foothills in a snug yet glorious lake region.
We put in all the work and spent a summer there enjoying the fruits of our efforts and then said good bye Labor Day when we rented it out for the winter and returned to our original abode.
Then we pined for it the entire year until this June, where we breathlessly showed up minutes after the renters pulled out of the driveway, our suitcases half-zipped with excitement.
Every day I feel giddy. Am I tricking myself somehow? Cheating on my beloved first house with some floozy of a renovation?
Do I love it here because its so different that the setting I’m used to?
Our main house is a grandly restored 1880s antique set amidst two hundred year old trees. We worked on it tirelessly for ten years, saving it from years of neglect and careless owners.
At the lake, it took us 6 months. We pulled up shag carpeting, opened the layout and painted it all white. I furnished it entirely from online catalogues.
We knew putting in a lap pool just outside the new living room french doors was a naughty, indulgent idea but we did it anyway and now skinny dip at night under the stars.
I wake up and feel serene. Is it knowing water is just steps away or the clean lines of the furniture and bare walls?
We take scooters down our little road to the dock my husband built and we zip out on our boat, often with our boys bouncing behind on knee-boards.
I never liked to bike before and now I bike around the lake every chance I get..
I don’t even like lakes so what is going on?
Is because we feel perpetually on vacation even though we are in our home town?
Or is this the place we should live in forever?
Or are we merely besotted with “here” because we know “there” is still “there?”
All I know is that we aren’t giving her up. Yet.

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HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Thursday, August 14th, 2008

They say water seeks its own level and I’d say the same for shelter.
We adapt- or try to- in making ourselves feel at home wherever we are and some of us are better than it than others.
Sometimes it’s as easy as placing fresh flowers plucked from whatever road side you pass and displayed in the room you are visiting.
Some people insist on bringing their own music, sheets, candles to the places they stay, whether for one night or the summer.
(For me: all I ask for is fresh, homemade food and a place to swim laps. Oh, and The New York Times if possible.)
Now I am vacationing in New Hampshire in camp-like conditions that, when the sun shines, are glorious and, in rain, the most wretched.
When we first arrive (and we have been coming here for almost 20 years), the rustic nature of the cabins on the lake take awhile adjusting to. The floors are dingy, the beds creak and Daddy Long Legs your bed mates.
But when the sun is out, the water dances and you soon forget that the rag rug by your bed is probably fifty years old and never washed.
There is abundant tennis, swimming out to floating docks and wacky canoe races. (You have to be here)
A bell is rung for dinner and you congregate like seven year old campers to eat homemade waffles and mystery meat. There is Capture the Flag after dinner and you bike back to your cabin with a flash light balanced between your handlebars.
A little lit fire awaits and you and you converge with your children and books before falling asleep to loons calling in the distance.
And then it rains. And rains. Three days of wet, ugly rain.
At first you relish the coziness, stoke the fire and break out the puzzles. The sound of the storm on the cabin roof is delicious until it starts to leak. Here. There. Suddenly everywhere.
Beds are moved out of the way, towels and buckets crowd the floor and soon the wonderful orderliness we had achieved to make our little place feel like home is all lost. Then we lose power too. Our ship is sinking and I desperately want to go home. I want to have the daily order and grace to my life restored. I become an ogre in these condition and dream of hijacking the car and driving back to civilization until they announce the roads are washed out.
I find a musty blanket and burrow down. It’s like my whole system just shuts down in self protection mode. I am asleep before dinner and stay that way until morning.
When I awake, the rain has stopped. We move the beds back, alight a new fire. Open the windows. Place clothes out on the line to dry in the weak but increasing sun. Put some wildflowers in a vase. I feel myself open back up, blossom.
Am I a diva? or a good sport? Somewhere, I’m sure, in between.
I keep coming back to an image I saw in a magazine of children in Bosnia. Their homes had been ravaged by war and yet they had somehow managed a game of ping pong in a cordoned off area.
An old board was the table which they took turns holding up and alternating hitting the ball with their hands.
That’s all they had to make them feel in place. And yet, in their faces, you could see for however short a time, they felt safe.

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Shared Space
Monday, June 30th, 2008

Visiting my college for my husband’s reunion (we both went to the same school), I found myself taking a picture of the outside of my Senior dorm room window. I don’t know why I wanted to document it: it wasn’t just for nostalgia’s sake or that it was an incredibly beautiful building facing the glorious Quad. It was for the satisfaction of coming back and capturing what was for so long just a memory, only available to me when I tried to remember dorm life and all the rooms I had once occupied (some alone, some with assigned roommates and some chosen), since I walked into my first 10×10 space in boarding school at the age of fifteen.
I can never forget what I brought with me that first day and many of the rudimentary furniture/accessories I carried right through with me ’til college, (where was Pottery Barn Teen when I needed it?!):
1 wooden bureau: my mother had inherited it, then gave to my older brother, who deemed too ugly to bring to his boarding school, so I then painted it white to “feminize”
1 Indian bed spread: brought at our local “hippie” shop
1 set of flowered sheets: I’m not sure these were 100% cotton: I guess we cared less back then?…
Versace fashion ads shot by Richard Avedon: I liked to hang them all along the upper edge of the room until my room mate asked me to take them down: some of the expressionless models “scared” her
1 clock radio: sort of black and boring
1 lamp: can’t remember what it looked like?
1 framed posted: I think of one of those cliche Renoir or Monet paintings
Pictures of friends/family in graduation frames

Once I got to college and we had a college store (where I merrily charged away things like cigarette cartons and argyle socks under the auspices of book charges) I started to buy lots of plants and hang them from water pipes.

Why didn’t I buy curtains? Or change the hardware on that tired bureau to jazz it up? Layer my bed with an exciting assortment of faux fur pillows throws?
Of course it’s easier now to find all those things at 3 am via the internet.
But back then, there were so many girls who got how to create a lair that bespoke of them from the threshold: A friend of mine in college had a Henry Moore sculpture in her room, can you imagine? Another, an espresso machine. They had names like Lucinda and Valesca and they wore stiletto heels to class and smoked while they brushed their teeth. Their rooms were dark caves of style with taped-down shades. And it wasn’t just the women. My old boyfriend thought nothing in spending most of his inheritance on a sound system that, whenever he put on the Eurthymics, you could hear it in China. Razor sharp sound was to him more important than any furniture. In fact he got rid of his bed frame on the first day of school and moved in a futon straight onto the floor in its place.If you squinted past his homework which lay waiting on his desk, might almost think you were already graduated and living in the Village.
I would walk past these rooms down the wide halls (originally built to accommodate women in hoop skirts) and open my wood door and feel very much still at school. I still had some of my ninth grade dresses hanging in my closet after all and my Vogue ads were starting to curl up along the bottom.
Yet somehow, no matter how many times, I changed rooms and dorms, I didn’t change anything.
Who are in “my” rooms now? Who will occupy the rooms in my house I love so much now after I’m gone? I guess we can never think of rooms as being “mine” but always, no matter whose name is on the lease/deed, as “ours.”
I tell my son to photograph every room he will ever live in at school. It will remind him of how his personal style began, how he put down his own roots in his own soil and his ability to pick them up and replant them again. It will remind him of who he is still becoming.



DATING A COFFEE TABLE
Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

So we finally found the right piece to the puzzle and JUST when we were reaching the end of our rope. The oh-so-important coffee table was like the finger in the dam. Without the correct shape, material, size, the rest of my parents’ sitting room would just not flow. We looked at leather, (too masculine) glass, (too sharp), circular, (from India (close, but my father thought the tin material would be too noisy when he went to rest his feet on it) and tufted, (too precious). It was like those dating events where you meet someone for 10 minutes and then move on to the next guy, hoping sparks will fly with one of the 100 bachelors before the alloted time.
So each table courted us with its possibilities and capabilities, (“Look! You can put a tray on me!”, “Psst: I’m one-of-kiiiiind!”, “Hey now: my fabric is super-resistant!”), but I could tell from my parents’ lulled expressions they weren’t biting.
When their eyes started to glaze over, I knew I was in trouble. They had come up for the whole day, just to shop in my area (comfort factor) and I knew that if I sent them back to Boston empty handed, it would never happen. They were gun shy, (forget ordering a table online: it was as remote as a mail-order bride) and heart broken,(their former decorator had sort of squelched that honeymoon period you have when you first go to decorate a new room) so it had to be done in person and with me there.
Just as we were about to leave, I spotted a cubed-shape wood table far in a corner, stacked above its mate: the shy kids at the school dance. The wood was from India and slightly bleached so its texture was interesting. The bottom of it was carved out into a circle so you could see through it. I approached, worried it was too funky for my parents’ taste but at this point, I was desperate. We placed it in front of a store sofa that resembled my parents’ existing one so we could see it in context. Then I put the second cube right next to the first as it would look in their room.
They stared and didn’t say much at first, as I started rattling off its attributes like a matchmaker: (“This is a total conversation piece without being a room hog!”, “Placing two cubes together gives you the room you need in front without taking too much space,” “Look, you can make them end tables or even extra seating!”)
They were listening, their ears perked, their eyes starting to glow.
Then my father suddenly said, “and the circles on the bottom echo the circular glass window in the room.” Bingo. Love at almost-first-sight.
Ironically enough, after spending so much time and money on mistakes in the room, the tables that brought it all together were just $150 each.
And they fit in the back of their car. Off they went home, the four of them, snug as bugs.
The next day my parents were in the full blush of love. The tables had already received a stream of compliments for their uniqueness. Yet they didn’t overwhelm the space one bit. They were completely practical yet decorative.
Just like the ideal partner.



A ROOM OF HER OWN
Thursday, May 1st, 2008

My mother wants help redecorating a room she calls “a disaster.”
It’s a room in my childhood home where she also grew up and still spends most weekends and summers there with my father.
Even though I had spent 20 years walking through and sitting in, fending off bullying brothers and entertaining boyfriends in that room, I am surprisingly not attached to its layout or style in any way.
Alter the design landscape of my childhood? Go for it.
It has always been a reading room. My parents read three newspapers a day on a love seat there, not to mention countless books for their book club.
For a while, they toyed with making part of the room a “media” room. but for two people who only watch television when Wimbledon or political debates are on, this seemed a little drastic. And when a media cabinet and another sofa where brought in, they cringed.
“lt suddenly looked like a showroom,” my mother explained.
I tried explaining that no one uses media cabinets anymore but it was too late. The little television stayed upstairs in my father’s dressing room and the room remains all about reading.
This decision unfortunately then set off a domino-style of design disasters. There used to be a desk for my father where the television area was going to be, so they had carved into what once was the adjoining guest bedroom to accommodate a new nook for my father’s paperwork. So now that there is no desk and no television,that whole side of the room has no, what I call “raison d’ĂȘtre.”
So they created a little vignette with some antique chairs and a painting in that corner. My mother emailed me a picture.
“Will you ever be actually over there?” I asked.
“No, we sit on the love seat. Besides those chairs are from Granny and not very safe to sit on.”
“So why did you put them there?”
“Because I didn’t know what else to do.”
I could hear the frustration in her voice. She needed my help but I was a whole state away and at this point, all she wanted was to wave a magic wand and make it all better. I hated to tell her there were miles to go before she read.
They then called in a very inept decorator who advised my mother to spend a lot of money on pieces which looked completely out of proportion to the rest of the room.
A giant glass table costing as much as a college tuition and weighing in at three tons now leers at her like an angry quarterback, all dressed to fight but nowhere to play. Not even dealers at EBAY will take it.
“Ship it to my brother, he needs furniture,” I suggested. But it will cost another small fortune for that.
“Take a hammer to it then,” I tell her over the phone one day and I hear the silence of contemplation. But she won’t get rid of anything because it cost too much in the first place. It’s like she went out and married five horrible men at once but the idea of divorce is too shocking, too soon. So she suffers.
So the decorator is now gone but the husbands stay.
She just keeps moving the bad pieces around, taking pictures of new vignettes and emailing me the sad results.
“Look, ” I say one day in a voice I hope will shake her to her senses: “Get the bad stuff out of there! You’re not throwing it away, just removing it from the scene of the crime.” I am walking down Madison Avenue on my way to a shoot, squinting at a blurry picture of an oversized ottoman she thinks is too big for being in front of the sofa and is definitely covered in the wrong fabric.
She has draped another fabric on top of it, wondering if she should go ahead and upholster? But she has discovered some marks on the fabric so maybe she can get her money back and I could help her find a new design?
“Mum, you’re worrying about the leaves on the branches of the trees when you’ve got like, the whole forest to think about,” I say quite pleased with my updated and expanded metaphor.
“But it was so expensive!” she moans.
“Life is short. You have to look forward and move on. Otherwise you’ll never feel good in there again!”
“It feels like…I’m constipated,” she cries.
She has never used that word as long as I have known her. Now I know how very serious it is.
I tell her to at least move some pictures around, They have an extensive art collection and she has some images that are too heavy for the romantic feel of the fabrics below them and vice versa.
She hangs up and thirty minutes later, emails me the swap. I am impressed with her fortitude and proceed further.
“See those two side tables? They’ve got to go. They don’t match and are too small next to the sofa.” I bump into a man on Park Avenue as I now have my iphone pressed closed to my eyeball and turned sideways.
A pause. “But I just bought them!”
I feel for her but if I don’t stop the hemorrhaging we will lose the limb.
“For less than $200 bucks, you should get those white garden stools from Ballard. A pair. There is proportion power in pairs,” I tell her and hang up.
I know she won’t buy those stools.
We talk for another hour later that day and she’s at her lowest point.
“Your father….he thinks I’m starting to lose my mind. And I don’t blame him,” she says quietly, slowly deflating.
My voice is hoarse from coaching.
I hang up, willing myself to let it go.
So what if she bought a skinny brass lamp with a white shade where these should have been a pair of wooden-based ones with ivory shades?
Maybe it is unsolvable. Between her stubbornness in what she wants to keep and what she refuses to buy, I can’t make the ends meet.
What I would give to move that stuff around until it made some kind of sense. But it’s blocked, like that puzzle game where you have to move the red car through the maze of other cars to leave the grid of the box.
I grab a piece of paper. I am no artist, my handwriting is worse than a three year olds.
But I suddenly have an impulse to make this work, even if I am two hundred miles away.
I draw the room. The sofa. The white garden stools in front.
Put a pair of lamps behind the sofa.
A pretty console with some books goes where my father’s desk used to be. Granny’s chair tucked in for decoration.
And suddenly I have an idea that breaks through the red car through the grid: that damn ottoman goes against the bay window, out of the way of traffic and the ideal seat for guests.
I call her excitedly and describe my sketch.
I can feel her staying with me as I lead her through the new room
in our imaginations.
When I get to where the ottoman goes, I can hear her smile.
“Can you mail me the sketch?” she asks.
I don’t wait until the morning to send it.
Stay tuned.



A Dash of Whimsy
Saturday, April 12th, 2008

This morning I searched for a to-go container for my green tea but all I could find amongst my shelves was a Starbucks Christmas-themed cocoa mug. Being in a rush I used it anyway but confess I felt funny all morning. It worked to keep my beverage perfectly piping hot but the design was all wrong. It wasn’t that it had the typical tacky snowman and gingerbread theme I’ve come to abhor come the arrival of December. It actually had an elegant almost Matisse-like rendering of snowy trees. And even though it was April, it was 32 degrees out. So what was my problem?
Because I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wanted a sleek, silver vessel to match the elegant, Asian-inspired contents that lay within.
And without it, I’m a little ashamed to admit that the tea tasted the lesser. (I ended up dumping it out my car window on a deserted country road if you really want to know.) This is a long winded way of saying: presentation counts.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Tabletop has come a long way from the days when you registered at Tiffany and put your gold-rimmed plates high up on a shelf until Thanksgiving. Now the options are endlessly affordable and inspirational. At the recent Table Top Market which I had the pleasure of troving on behalf of Bon Appetit magazine, there were patterns that were so gorgeous, I wanted to accessorize them with food the way a great dress makes you want to find the perfect necklace to match.
When Bob Appetit asked me to become a Contributing Editor I first worried that because I’m not a “food expert” that I didn’t have a delicious enough dish to share at the proverbial table. But then I realized that the days of categorizing our passions are over. I care as much about what colors the walls in my kitchen are as what’s inside my refrigerator. And love choosing my ingredients as much as which plates I will ultimately present them on. Silverware to me is as crucial as spice. Flowers finish the environment as deliciously as dessert. And don’t we all look to combine our guests like a vegetable, starch and protein?
Since cooking is no longer just for chefs and entertaining not just for Martha Stewart, we can all partake of the bounty and stir the pot to get the most eclectic mix possible. Rosemary shrimp with mint pesto on chic bamboo plates from Target? Perfect combination. Peanut butter and jelly on Villeroy and Boch salad plates? Why ever not. The world is our oyster now and deserves to be presented with panache, practicality and a dash of whimsy.

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Color Me Everything
Monday, March 24th, 2008

As I prep for an upcoming Today show spot on color, I am indulged with color wheel upon color wheel from many of the the top paint companies.
As I spin out the hues with delicious names like Violet Driving Coat, Sage Sweater and Cymric Silver, I wish I had a hundred rooms where I could give these colors a proper home, the chance to shine in the ever changing light that comes with four fabulously fickle seasons. And it’s not just the luxury of coating entire walls in shimmery Atlantic Winter or pragmatic Starch Apron or naughty Temptation that gets me. The potential combinations all these colors could have with one another make me as hungry to pair as a matchmaker. A chocolate brown with Tiffany blue? Dreamy for the girl’s room I’ll never have. A tangerine orange with palest yellow? Makes me long to escape somewhere warm and provincial. Aborigine with glossy black? A luxurious library filled with all the Russian novels I never have time read.
These colors seem to link me as much to potential feelings as they do to rooms: nostalgia, happiness, confidence, desire…I span out all the colors again and again: they’re like intriguing strangers you see across the room at a crowded party. Tempting to judge them by their appearance but of course looks can be deceiving. Besides: we all thrive and change from proximity and relationships with others. That cold white simply blossoms when snuggled next to a chartreuse green which seemed a little overwhelming on its own but has calmed itself due to its rightful matching.
Someone once said there’s no right or wrong when it comes to what color “goes” with what. You only have to look outside to nature to understand that. Pinks with reds, browns and greens happily abound. Perhaps it is best to not look at colors as risks that could alter a space negatively, but as a mood that waits to find its rightful place both inside a home and a soul.



Real Estate Envy
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Should it be the eighth deadly sin?
Lusting after someone else’s abode makes you feel strangely guilty and elated at the same time: i.e., how can we want more than what we are lucky enough to have over our heads and wouldn’t it be amazing to have a closet the size of a fire station?!…
Last week my good friend and I stayed at a mutual friend’s Florida home. Our hostess lives in London and Connecticut and this is just an occasional winter pit stop for her, so she was kind enough to lend the keys to us for a few days. The place was a spacious, sunny light box and completely ideal for our young boys to run back and forth to the community pool and tennis court on scooters. We were very happy.
One night, we drove to Palm Beach to our other friend’s new ocean front mansion.
To say the house was gorgeous was an understatement.
Every ceiling, wall and floor had been hand painted/carved/stenciled or flown in from some remote village in Italy. There was a karaoke room with a hand carved wood stage, 84,000 song play list and stunning burgandy antique curtains flown in from Morocco held back with stunning silver-scaled fish tie-backs.
I snuck away from socializing and swam lap after delicious lap in the pool which was decorated with millions of iridescent mother of pearl. I’d look up and water would be spewing out of a marble fish mouth against the perfect blue sky. I’d look down and be lost in a maze of intricately patterned blue and yellow tile. My son couldn’t stop walking past the sensor activating the secret door that spun around to reveal a wine and cigar bar where I’d happily spend hours puffing and imbibing away while gazing at the turquoise water that appeared strained for sea weed and undesirable debris.
I walked out to the putting green-like lawn to admire the beach far below. A man walked by and looked up enviously at me. I wanted to cry out: “this isn’t my home!” but for some reason I just waved back.
As we left, our host pressed a hidden button and instantaneously bathed the entire house in warm peachy light. We walked past their twin Lamborghinis to our rental car (with its roll down windows) and headed back to our condo. As we drove into the driveway I joked, “welcome back to the slums.” Of course I didn’t mean it. But it is amazing how our comfort /desire bar jumps up and down, sideways and backwards as easily as he flicked on those lights.
We must always appreciate and cherish what we already have. And yet aspiration is always a healthy thing…isn’t it? I am old enough to know that having everything only makes you want more things. Many of which you can’t ever have. And I need more quality time with my husband more than a Lamborghini.
But gosh those fish tie-backs were gorgeous.