Pink Fire Pointer A Welcome Interlude

A Welcome Interlude

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The last week has been a wonderful time for relaxing with family and friends.  Thank you for all your holiday wishes.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  Don't you love the week between Christmas and the New Year?  It's a welcome break from the holiday frenzy, a hiatus when our normal routines are put on hold.  All the build-up and most of the work that lead up to Christmas is over and there is a glorious peace and quiet that seems to exist all around us. The tree is still up but there are no presents to wrap.  The house still looks festive -- the garland is on the mantle, the wreath is on the door, and bowls of pine cones are all around.  But it is refreshingly quiet and there are many hours to putter, rearrange, reconnect and get recharged.  Last week I spent time with my family and friends, saw movies, ran errands, cleaned up and read.  I hope you did also.

Memories of Christmas

I have been catching up on some reading from the stack of books on my night stand. One of my favorites is the engrossing memoir and love story Must You Go by Antonia Fraser.  It is about the life she shared with the playwright Harold Pinter.  I feel as if I have been transported to the vibrant literary and theater scene of London in the seventies and eighties when Fraser and Pinter were hanging out with celebrated writers such as Anthony Powell, Phillip Roth, Iris Murdoch and V.S. Naipaul.  Dinners with playwrights, directors, and actors such as Samuel Beckett and Alan Bates were normal, as was attendance at the premieres of all the major new plays on the London stage.  Fraser writes of "Supper with the two knights (Gielgud and Richardson)."  The book is written in diary entries which gives the narrative an immediacy and compels us to read on.  Pinter was at the height of his career, writing plays such as "Betrayal" and the screenplay for the film "The French Lieutenant's Woman." Their love story is a fascinating literary romance and takes us back to an era when many exciting things were happening in literature and theater.  It was an amazing time.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters is another book I have been enjoying.  This one is about Hollywood via two settings in Italy --  a rustic inn on the Italian cliffs above the Mediterranean and the glamorous city of Rome where the epic film "Cleopatra" is being filmed.  It moves from 1962 in Italy to Hollywood of today.  The main characters include an Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love, a Hollywood producer and his idealistic assistant, an army veteran turned aspiring novelist and Richard Burton himself, who plays an integral role in the plot.  It's a delicious escapist kind of a book. Perfect for right now.

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Visions of sugar-plums are still dancing in my head.  Christmas dinner is a recent memory and I can't stop thinking about the Lumberjack Cake that my daughter made us for dessert.  Have you ever made it?  My daughter tells me that it is served at an excellent restaurant in San Francisco called Frances.  This is not a fancy dessert, but a homey cake made with pears, dates and coconut flakes.  It was a hit and everyone agreed that it tastes just like Christmas.  We served it with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce.  This cake is so good and easy to make that it just may become part of your holiday traditions.  The recipe is here.

 Matthew and Lady Mary in the final scene of Season Two of "Downton Abbey"

This has also been a great time to catch up on some delicious television and I have been riveted to one of my favorite shows.  I have been rewatching the first two seasons of Downton Abbey in preparation for the new season, which starts January 6.  Can't get enough of this wonderful show!  Will you be watching?

Photo via here

It is exciting to think about a new year when everything seems possible.  January always feels like a new beginning, a blank slate, the refreshing start of a new period of time.  It is a month of reflection and renewal.  Here's hoping that there are many inspiring adventures in store for all of us!

Happy New Year
May all your dreams come true in 2013!