14C, Sleep Deprivation, Wine and Gluttony…

No… these aren’t the four horsemen of the apocalypse, it is a vacation of debauchery. But before I get to the vacation itself, I have to mention that we were going to take Dingus to the animal hospital where they board animals. I mentioned this to my neighbor Margo, who has a dog and a cat and she said… “oh, I’ll watch her, she can stay at my house”. I warned her that she didn’t know Dingus. So the day before she left, she took Dingus over to her house and took both the dogs for a walk around the block and decided that it wouldn’t be a problem. We were thrilled to not have to leave (and pay for) the dog at the animal hospital. So most of our consternation about leaving her with Margo was about the potential of her tearing apart her furniture or ruining something else. We were remembering this sort of thing…

Anyway, yesterday we drove all day and immediately upon arrival went to Margo’s to get Dingus and I walked into her house, dogs barking and jumping around, and asked… how’d it go? Margo lifts her bangs up to reveal a banged forehead and dropped her eyeglasses down to reveal the beginnings of two shiners. Horrified, I asked what happened and she said that she had gone to get the dog after work the day we had left and she had her dog with her. Her cat was also on the porch and when the door was opened, both dogs took off for the cat. The cat ran up a tree and Margo fetched the dogs by their collars (without leashes) and attempted to drag them back to her house. When she got to her front sidewalk, the dogs got tangled and Dingus darted between her legs going from front to back and dragged her down and she hit her head on the concrete sidewalk. We had gotten Margo a gift for watching the dog but it seems woefully inadequate considering her injuries and of course she says that it’s all her fault and that the dog was a total sweetheart the whole time. Of course, I already know that the dog is a sweetheart but… that doesn’t seem to prevent these types of things from happening. Anyway onto the trip… I was talking to my friend Ig in Des Moines a week or so ago about his upcoming summer of travel which includes a trip to Kathmandu and on the spur of the moment decided to take a little trip with Sofia and Mom to see him. Sofia and Mom hadn’t been to Ig’s house since Sofia was about 11 months old. On that trip she had gotten sick, the weather was miserable and Ig’s house hadn’t been remodeled. Since school is out for Ig and he’s leaving for a while, it is his chance to entertain. We drove all day Wednesday and arrived just in time for a dinner party. I knew one guest, Mark, who I’m always thrilled to see and there were others that I hadn’t met before who were a lot of fun. As always, the conversation was sterling and Ig’s such a great cook, the food was dreamy too. So of the 5 evenings we were there, we had dinner guests 3 nights. We got to meet lots of great people and of course these dinners account for 3 out of the 4 horsemen… wine, gluttony and sleep deprivation. In the old days, I used to visit Ig (usually in October) and we’d eat salami, olives, bread and cheese all day and then finish off a pound of carbonara at dinner without even blinking… three bottles of wine between us and call it a night at 3 in the morning after staying up and solving all the world’s problems. Now, I couldn’t stay up til 3 if I wanted… ironically I also couldn’t get to sleep once I’d committed to it. This didn’t stop me and us from drinking tons of wine and eating way too much. Of course 14 C refers to the dish that I ordered every day for 4 consecutive days having lunch at A-Dong, my favorite Vietnamese place in Des Moines and now Sofia’s favorite too. Around 10 every morning she would start chanting… A-Dong, A-Dong, A-Dong. The first day we were there we went to the sculpture park again and they were installing a new Keith Haring piece… I will do a whole post about this tomorrow or the next day as Ig took about 5000 pictures of our visit and I took a ton too. Here’s the handsome devil himself…

We also visited Mark, who was at dinner the first night, to see his garden. I wished I had gotten a picture because it was beautiful but it was raining and we were talking and sometimes I’m a dunce when it comes to taking pictures. Anyway, Mark is an expert with all things horticultural and takes wonderful macro photography of plants too. The project he is currently involved with is a website called “Your Garden Show” which went live the day we arrived. This promises to be a wonderful site and if anybody reading this is big into their gardens they might like to go visit the website as it allows gardeners from everywhere to post their gardens online in the media of their choice (video, pictures, words). This is a virtual garden community where you can get ideas from other gardeners and trade info on plants and cultivation of said plants across the spectrum of climates… so if you get a hankerin’, check it out. All in all, we had a wonderful time and ate al fresco almost every night. Sofia loves Ig and during the last couple days she spent a lot of time helping him in the kitchen, setting the place settings on the deck and asking him all kinds of questions while he was cooking. It warms my heart to see her connect with someone that I’ve been friends with for so many years. Of course, for a 5 year old (or really any age), Ig’s house isn’t short on visual stimulation

and at first I was shadowing her so she wouldn’t knock over a Ming Dynasty piece of pottery but she did very well except for her insistence that she climb inside this pot…

And of course no visit to Ig’s would be complete without some commensurate eye candy for the potter…


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6 Responses to “14C, Sleep Deprivation, Wine and Gluttony…”

  1. Ignatius Says:

    It was such a great pleasure to have James, Alicia and of course the bug. he was right about the 4 horsemen!! I am going on a starvation diet and detox!!! for a few days till Saturday when I have another dinner party. Sofia was a delight and great help in the kitchen and became the expert in setting the table! She made great use of the little hut in the garden as well.

  2. Gord Says:

    What the heck are those huge post good for, if not for climbing into? πŸ˜‰

    Getting together with distant friends is something that we can handle less and less as we age, isn’t it?

  3. Eugene Hon Says:

    Great to have you back – read your entry. Always great to have friends whose place is an inspiration – their collection and insight (conversation) into the world of clay is always encouraging and stimulating. I have Hylton Nel, one of South Africa’s most renowned ceramists. He also has a fabulous book collection – you may remember that I did an entry in January of a visit to his place. I sent you a message sometime ago -attached an article did you get it. Japanese based potter. let me know – will send it again.

  4. Matt Says:

    I think I get the four horsemen reference:

    Pestilence: The long drive to Des Moines?
    War: The part of the conversation before the world’s problems are solved?
    Death: The skull collection?
    Famine: The starvation diet and detox that follows.

  5. Tracey Says:

    Absolute eye candy! Those pots are fantastic!! Look forward to the Keith Haring pics, he’s Wesley’s favorite artist πŸ™‚

  6. ang Says:

    hey jim i was just wondering what you’d been up too,…poor neighbour, seriously is she a hunting dog or what…. and Ig house wow gorgeous pieces!!

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