Monday, October 1, 2007

Pumpkin Time

Andrew left for Louisville very early this morning, and I will be staying with Andrew’s parents until Andrew returns. In fact, even after Andrew returns from Louisville late Wednesday night, he and I will stay with his parents until Friday, when we will all go to New York for the Columbus Day weekend.

Our weekend was fun. I did not let the Sooners’ loss spoil my weekend, even though I was dumbfounded and sorely disappointed by the loss.

We’ve all given up on the Golden Gophers for the year, more or less, although we plan to attend the Minnesota/Wisconsin game the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That will be the only Minnesota game we plan to attend this year.

On Friday night, “Speed The Plow” was a major disappointment. The best thing about the play was that it only lasted ninety minutes. The best thing about the evening was the excellent dinner Andrew and I had at an Italian restaurant before the play.

David Mamet has a great gift for language, and he has fully mastered the rhythmic requirements of the stage. He is a natural-born playwright. However, I am not sure that he has anything to say. “Speed The Plow” struck me as a writing exercise, written simply to keep a writer’s gears greased and in motion. The play fundamentally was empty and nihilistic.

On Sunday afternoon, “Un Ballo In Maschera” was a real trial to sit through. I despised everything about the production: the stage design, the costume design, the lighting design, the stage direction, the singing and the conducting. I thought everything and everyone involved in the production was amateur. If I had not become acquainted with this work by listening to the Callas recording the past two weeks, I would think this opera not worth mounting.

The performance was so poor that we almost left after Act II. The only reason we remained for Act III was because we knew it was the shortest of the three acts and because we wanted to hear the baritone’s aria. We were not rewarded for our endurance.

Saturday was the fun weekend day. We got a lot of yard work done, and we watched a lot of college football, and we ate a lot of good food.

We also bought three pumpkins and carved three jack-o-lanterns to place outside the house. Andrew’s family always carves three jack-o-lanterns, a tradition that began when Andrew and his brothers were little boys and when each son got to carve his own pumpkin (with a little help from their Dad, of course).

On Saturday, Andrew’s mother prepared the pumpkin meat as soon as we scooped it out of the pumpkins. She cooked the pumpkin meat with different spices in three different batches, and it was a fairly lengthy and complicated procedure. She will use the prepared pumpkin to make pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies.

Last night, Andrew’s mother prepared for us her special version of pumpkin bread, made with lots of walnuts and raisins. It is to die for. We all ate some last night, while it was still warm, and it was heavenly. I have two pieces packed in my lunch today, which I have been informed will be best if eaten with the fresh pear-and-strawberry salad Andrew’s mother made for me, too. First, however, I am supposed to eat the chicken sandwiches and coleslaw Andrew’s mother packed for my lunch.

I don’t think I am going to starve while Andrew is away!

Until Friday, there will be nothing going on this week except work.

I can handle that.


  1. Hi there, Josh!

    So sorry about "Ballo".

    I guess I should count myself lucky for the Traviata I attended Saturday night, flaws and all.

    Anyway, have fun at work. Try not to miss Andrew so much!


  2. Hey, Chanteuse!

    Glad you enjoyed "Traviata".

    Also glad you missed "Ballo". I think the whole production came in at a total cost of $5.00. At least it looked like it.

    I need to ask you a personal favor, Chanteuse. Do you have Cheryl Studer's home phone number? I need to call her and discuss her performance in the "Semiramide" recording.



  3. I went up to New York this weekend and attended the premiere of Cav/Pag Friday night. I hope you're not expecting much.

  4. Pumpkin: one of those foods we don't see much of over here.

    In the two years I lived in the States, I never acquired a taste for pumpkin. I thought pumpkin was both bland and odd-tasting at the same time. I never could appreciate pumpkin pie.

    Have you read the most recent Stuart Taylor essay? If not, I would seek it out. I think you might enjoy it.


  5. Calvin:

    The answer is "Yes" if you are referring to Stuart Taylor's column in yesterday's National Journal.

    Do you read the National Journal? I am amazed. I did not know it had a British readership. Andrew's father knows Stuart Taylor.

    You would change your mind about pumpkin if you were to taste Andrew's mother's pumpkin bread. I can assure you of that.

    Take care of yourself.


  6. I acquired a taste for the National Journal while I lived in the States. I have an online subscription now.

    I hope you guys have a good visit in New York.