Monday, May 2, 2016

Gay Unicorn's Breakfast

Obviously as the consummate mama's boy, I take Mother's Day pretty seriously.  I've mentioned before that long ago I missed the opportunity to have a Mother's Day brunch where my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother could all be there together.  I didn't do it because I am stupid and the atmosphere was not absolutely perfect.  Maybe I didn't have the right china or enough matching chairs for my table or the weather was going to be bad.  Whatever it was, it was a bad reason.  I can't go back, but since realizing many years ago that holidays and people will come and go--and we might as well embrace them for whatever they can be--I take them all seriously.  I've yet to regret celebrating a holiday. 

As my mom navigates her first year of her mother being gone, I try to include my grandmother's memory in some way.  We are all thinking about her, so there's no sense in not addressing her.  Luckily as the family photo archivist, I have boxes and boxes of photos to comb for photos of her looking happy and well on these various holidays.  I think that helps.  I could write a whole post on why everyone should stop bitching about boxes of photos, but it would be kind of rude and confrontational given the strong feelings people have about them.  I'll just say that I do not see a few boxes of personal history in photo as a bad thing.  Also, stop keeping them in janky cardboard boxes that are hard to move and gross.  At various times, gigantic boxes of photos are shipped to me, usually from my Great Aunt.  I throw a lot of them away, it's easy when a family has as many weddings and divorces as mine does (GGG: 5, GG: 7-8?, G: 3).  And they were all married to at least one Bill, the funniest being my Great Aunt who married two or three Bills in a row.  In our family photos, keeping track of the husbands is not easy.  There are current husbands, dead husbands, husbands of note, and husbands of no historical significance.  So albums of forgettable husbands and husbands we'd like to forget are easy to toss.  Anyway, my belief is that you should always invite dead people in.  Show their faces and tell their stories.  They're usually good guests. This is easy and enjoyable to do with photos.
Clearly this post is actually about fruit and the arrangement thereof, or at least it was supposed to be.  I think a gigantic platter of fruit is necessary for any brunch.  They are dazzling to behold and not something most people do for themselves, so they really appreciate it when someone else does.  Don't have a plan for what fruit will go on your platter.  Get whatever is fresh and beautiful and ripe.  Clash color, don't forget the importance of green, and do your own thing.  Ina Garten always says that fruit arranged in a mixed form looks like a dog's breakfast.  Personally, I love the intersections of color and texture and chaos of it all.  So I guess my fruit platters look like a gay unicorn's breakfast.  I can live with that. 
What inspires my platters most are weather radars and maps.  I have an absolute obsession and fascination with weather and I think a lot of it is that I'm visually attracted to the maps.  I love the long strokes of intense color that blot and bleed and the outlying sharp speckles. 

Map of snow accumulation 

A temperature map

I had a little brunch yesterday and took photos of my fruit platter in process to offer some inspiration if you enjoy reckless abandon as I do; or as a cautionary tale if you like your produce in military rows like Ina.  
I like the bowl for yogurt to be slightly off center with more fruit at the bottom
facing the front edge of the buffet.

With scissors, I cut bunches of grapes into small portions so they are easy to
pick up, 7-10 grapes per bunch or where there are Ys in the stem

Cara caras are almost done for the year.  They weren't as good as last year's


I love to intersect complementary colors when possible

Ina needs a Xanax

What is your Mother's Day agenda?  

63 comments:

  1. You have won my o er with your play by play dissection like they do on the post game analysis shows. Nice touch.

    Do you know in Korea there is a day called Chusok which is the harvest full moon in Autumn and like thanksgiving in some ways but people go and have s proper picnic in front of a family members grave. And people even stick a lit cigarette and stick it in the mound and pour whisky all over it as we did at my grandfathers grave. I find a recent deceased family member becomes the elephant in the room and ignoring it only makes it worse. I think it's very sweet of you to add those momentos of your grandmother. And here's a cheers to those husbands of no particular historical significance too ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I think you did mention that to me before and I love the sound of it. I don't picnic nearly enough and am hoping to remedy that. I have a stargazing beach picnic planned in the next few weeks and am excited for that. I'm going to play Holst's Planets because I'm never afraid of some obvious theming. Why not? Except I did speed it up 3x because I don't always have the patience for an orchestra. How often do you make it to Korea for Chusok?

      Delete
    2. I try and go now every year BC it's the harvest and the produce is at its best. Ps in Korea they have parents day but no separate day for each parent and it's coming up next week too. Stargazing picnic sounds lovely too

      Delete
  2. Well, I went to Harrod's online and ordered my mother's present to be delivered this week (she loves Harrod's hampers) so my duty as a daughter is done. But as for my Mother's Day plans, we will just have to see what develops. I do love your fruit bowl; it is not just thrown together (I think this is what Ina meant by dog food) rather it is bunched but with splashes of color in between -- the best of both worlds, I think. Ride that rainbow unicorn proudly, your plate looks wonderful! Is the dip cream cheese, sour cream, or some combination?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm sure your mother will be delighted with her gift, especially since it's not from the Apple Store :) I always serve fruit with Greek yogurt with a little honey swirled in. It's perhaps the one and only place I opt out of my favorite ingredient, cream cheese!

      Delete
  3. That's the prettiest damn fruit platter I've ever seen and I love that it's inspired by weather maps.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your fruit platter is beautiful very much like a still life from The Dutch Masters. Have you ever considered writing a book on entertaining? I would buy one from you...love all your hints and tips.

    I plan on taking my Mother out for a high tea...she loves all those tiny sandwiches and scones and she loves an excuse to get dressed up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Tea sounds fabulous and I'm sure your mother will love it! I would love to write a book but am intimidated by the whole process. Also I legitimately worry I would spend every dime and then some on it! Thanks again.

      Delete
  5. You are hilarious. My second (almost third) husband-to-be is a Bill so you had me laughing. Your family sounds spectacular. Love the fruit plate. Life's too short to arrange cantaloupe with military precision. Bring on your riot of colour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Couldn't agree more! Also the only time I even like cantaloupe is when I can get the good real ones at the farmers market. This guy sells them out of his truck and mumbles things about me under his breath but I don't care because they are soooo good. The grocery ones taste like nothing. There's something about a Bill!

      Delete
  6. I've always wanted a gay unicorn. My agenda is to make a fruit salad as pretty and well rounded as yours.

    PS.. I love weather radar too!.. I have an app on my phone to check it whenever I think I should.. lol..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Oh K I would love to see a gay unicorn in your fabulous paddock against your beautiful house. I've officially decided I want to date/marry someone in the horse world because I want horses to look at but not to be "mine" so keep your eyes out for me.

      Delete
    2. Yes Stephen. Horses. I am quite positive you would end up loving them.

      Delete
  7. That fruit plate is too beautiful to disturb by eating. Almost. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. i am still reeling from all the husband bills and the xanax and omg... why are you not a STAR on broadway? something to do with brunch in a rather sophisticated oscar wilde vehicle...
    and for mother's day i get to see my beloved nephew who is just back from 8 months somewhere over there in the middle east.
    he's in a special operations unit with the regular air force. like navy seals on dry land i guess you'd say.
    he's the son i didn't have! but my brother is kind enough to let me borrow him for my own.
    XO♥ you darling Stephen Andrew Jones!
    hug my barbie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thank you so much Tammy! thats so wonderful to see your nephew! And thank you to him for his service. We are so lucky people will do that for us! God knows I couldn't. I'd be like and what do you mean there's no room for my breakfront in the barracks? Enjoy your day! Aunts are the most wonderful bonus mothers.

      Delete
    2. LOLOL!!!
      they would be lining up at your breakfront like hungry wolves!
      thank you and yes. i'm a very cool bonus mother. and your fruit tray is nothing short of FABULOUS. even non cook that i am can at least copy that! ♥

      Delete
  9. My Mother's Day agenda will just have a phone call this year unfortunately although she'll have a new sequin embellished Stole in rose to wear to church (which I bought from MaiTai) and I know she'll call me after church reporting on all the compliments.
    Your family has been down a few aisles.

    My father was married 6x (my mum the original who tutored his dumb ass thru Duke) so I have a large sample size to confirm "cold as a step-mother's kiss".

    Kudos to the rank & file fruit plate arrangement. Have an enjoyable Mother's Day with all the interesting sounding women in your family...alive & dead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Oh I'm sure your mother will be so pleased to have her gift in time to wear to church. Five step mothers sounds absolutely exhausting!

      Delete
  10. I do believe that you are fascinated by weather as you are from the Midwest, pure and simple. The purty colors are just a bonus.

    As for my Mother's Day plans, well Mums the word (sorry) as I am going to forward this post to my Mom for her to read because it is just too perfect in every way.

    Much Love to you,
    H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Oh you're right it really is of high interest here because it changes so much and is so dramatic. Can't wait to hear your plan!

      Delete
  11. Your fruit arranging skills and talent with placement of edible products are really second to none. I obsessively follow the weather too. I like the maps and charts but I also like to know whether a rain proof up do is required or whether I can wear my hair blow dried and out. And whether to bother fertilising the garden. Many of us have former spouses of no historical importance and it's nice to see it mentioned on your blog. I actually forget I've been married before all the time. I will celebrate anything - Bastille Day, the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving etc so naturally I take Mothers Day very seriously. I like what can only be described as a Huge Fuss to be Made of me by Mr FF and my little boy and of course I spoilnmy own mum. Her 1st year without Grandma too (married once only) xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, FF! Oh haircasts are much more important to me than forecasts as well. It's often heartbreaking for me because my hair performs best in high humidity so on rainy days I have wonderful hair but actually being confronted by rain drops ruins it. And I just can't be bothered with umbrellas or hoods. You and I are cut from the same cloth re embracing any and all holidays. I often think I'd like to marry into a Jewish family so I could have a whole new crop of holidays to celebrate in addition. Hope you have a fab day and your mother too!

      Delete
    2. Hair casts!!!! Gold. Move here- humid EVERY DAY!!!

      Delete
  12. Weather radR is an obsession of mine, too! I call it the "weather cartoon" and I use it whenever rain'is predicted. Percentages and probabilities are useless ... give the real story, in the form of marching bands and blobs of color. (Typo at the beginning of this post, but I can't fix it. I'm on my iPad, and it will quit recognizing the text box if I click away from,what I'm doing. I cNt find out why this happens.)

    For Mothers Day, it's always been a day for ME! When our girls were little, my husband would take them and go spend the day with his mother so I got the day off. I would call my mom, then head outside and plant whatever annuals I had that year. Now that the girls are grown, we usually see the Grandkids, then head out to do something fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Have you felt me obsessing about moving to Virginia? There is a plantation for sale in Aylett that I'm obsessed with and am tempted to just move there based on the pictures and figure it out. Enjoy your Mother's Day with the grandkids! I'm sure it will still involve a lot of gardening!
      This is the property:
      See what I found on #Zillow!
      http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/107929689_zpid

      Delete
    2. I know Aylett!! A friend of mine used to live there, and I spent a lot time at his house and in his garden. The place in your link looks to be nearby. It's fabulous!

      Delete
  13. Your fruit platter is a triumph Stephen - I would love to be let loose on it. I second Hostesses suggestion of a book on entertaining, all of your tips/commandments touch a chord with me.
    Love Cindy F
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! I appreciate you saying that. I would love to write a book. Although I'm not sure I'd be able to stay on topic and I know I wouldn't stay on buh-jette

      Delete
  14. Just found you via Have Some Decorum blog's comments --and am so glad that I did!! Plan to spend a lot of time that I should be using for must-do! activities reading your archives. The fruit platter is gorgeous and the text of your post is sublime. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! And welcome!

      Delete
    2. PS-don't worry, I don't write fast enough to justify skipping your to do list. I inevitably skip months at a time so it'll take you no time to catch up

      Delete
  15. Your fruit platter is beautiful. Ignore Ina; what does she know anyway? Your mother will be delighted and that is what counts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Haha I still bow down to Ina but we definitely have our squabbles (that she doesn't know about because she doesn't know I exist). But as long as TR is around I'll try to stay in Ina's good graces.

      Delete
  16. Nothing less than spectacular. I'm with you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love that fruit platter. I look forward to
    phone calls on Mothers Day as one son lives
    in San Fran and the other 500 miles away in Sydney. I agree, you are such a great writer a book would have to be a best seller. Love that property in Aylett.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my your sons are FAR apart! Would Hawaii be meeting in the middle? Not so bad...
      Thank you so so much! Isn't it just gorgeous? Those trees! That price! Trying to decide if I can handle an eight hour commute to work haha

      Delete
  18. Love all the Bills in your family! lol I,too, am the 'family photo keeper' and I have been sorting and purging and cataloging and putting pictures in albums! Seriously! Albums...can you believe it?

    I love a fruit platter, too. You are right- it is something one does not do for oneself but I love to do it for others for a big meal. I like mine a bit mixed up, too.

    One more thing we have in common--the weather channel--I have that or the news on all day long. It is a sickness and I am sorry you contracted it so young. lol (although I do believe you are an old soul).
    Happy Mother's Day. I think we are going to run away for the weekend! xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear you're taking a little trip! You guys truly deserve some r&r! haha I love TWC but hardly ever watch the news! I just hate it. I like a filing cabinet for photos. Though I agree albums are superior for actually looking at. Thank god my mom was very organized in her large photo collection and has everything organized by date in albums. But on the other hand, it's not so bad to sit on the couch and sift through a few hundred photos! It's not like it's digging fence posts haha. People act like its so hard! Maybe they don't drink enough while they do it. Enjoy your weekend and I hope the trip works out.

      Delete
  19. I'm not sure I've ever seen fruit platters inspired by weather maps before, but this is pure genius and I'm certain it will be pinned obsessively. I think yours are much more visually interesting than Ina's too. Ina's look like they're not something you want to take something from as it would ruin the perfect symmetry etc.
    Love that you just toss a lot of old photos. So many things are kept but just shouldn't be. I always think - no one is going to care in 100 years time that they don't have a blurry photo of themselves looking podgy and with their eyes half closed in circulation.
    I don't much like Mother's day, as I miss my mum a lot. Plus my kids are so overexcited that they wake me at 5am, which is very sweet, but also kind of annoying as every mother with small children just really loves a good sleep in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! It's just like with flowers or Christmas trees-I always say I'm going to be disciplined and not overdo it. But I just can't help it I am an overdoer :)
      I don't blame you a bit for not loving Mother's Day. Funny about the kids! I remember when I was five or six I barged into my parents bedroom on Mother's Day with a stick figure drawing card and artistically messy handwriting and pretended I was crying and said "happy muuuuutter's daaaaay" despite having strong speech. I had seen a commercial where a kid had a speech impediment and thought that's what kids were supposed to sound like and that Mother's Day was supposed to be really dramatic so I pretended to cry. And then I probably tied to get them to take me to mcdonalds. Hope you are able to sleep in this Sunday!

      Delete
    2. That has just made me laugh so much!! Your mother must've been so confused.
      It also reminded me of my 40th birthday. My husband was away for work, so he had already bought my present (a bracelet), and primed up the kids to give it to me on the morning. I was woken at 5am by my youngest (aged 4) lobbing the hard box at my head in bed yelling jubilantly "I'm first!" because he'd beaten the other two in to give it to me. Then he asked me to make pancakes as it was my birthday, and I always make pancakes on birthdays.

      Delete
  20. Oh my, what a glorious bowl of roses, and matching fruit platter. You sure can make colours sing, Stephen :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I do not have a PLAN!My Mother says she will come over but at the last minute it will be HER back.......One SON leaves TODAY for CAPE COD driving cross country via JAMACA!Don't ASK!I told Husband I just want to be in my garden......It's BLOOMING and I better get some photos TODAY!Headed to the ADVANCED STYLE book signing down in LA JOLLA this week.......so I have a small getaway planned to meet another INSTAGRAMMER!She owns two boutiques, a hair salon and a gift shop on on the same street and lives above the businesses.....HOW CAN A 55 YEAR OLD WOMAN BE SO EXCITED?!!!Well, I am.........a little shopping, a lot of chatting maybe a manicure....and dinners OUT and ABOUT.I guess thats what I should call MY MOTHER's DAY WEEK!!!!!!!!!!SUNDAY, I will need to REST!YOUR FRUIT PLATTER progression is BEAUTIFUL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh your week sounds so fun! Wait your son is driving across Jamaica? Or Canada? Either way I'm jealous he's ending up on the Cape! Does he keep his truck there or does he move it throughout the region and set up different places? What kind of food does he do? I should go see him. Thank you!! Enjoy your week!

      Delete
    2. NO, he will STOP and FLY at some point!The island which I see I spelled WRONG and spell check did not TELL ME!He sells tacos and corn on the cob with feta cheese and cilantro.Not UPSCALE at all.He is in one location close to WELLSFLEET??AT a beach.........I can get the proper info if you are headed that direction!

      Delete
  22. SAJ-great post and beautiful fruit. I am so looking forward to your post on Ellie's blog. EPIC!
    Hugs to you, Robin in Umbria
    p.s. Please come cut my unruly hair. I have endured three years of bad haircuts here in the land of the chic (!!!?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm sure you can find s good stylist as people have curly hair everywhere! But I know what you mean-a bad cut on curly hair is really bad. People either know how to cut curly hair or they don't. Keep your eyes out for women you see with beautiful curly hair and ask them who does it! When you hear the same name twice, try that stylist!

      Delete
  23. Your fruit tray looks like a fair compromise, neither a military formation nor a mash-up! It’s perfect. I love fruit on a buffet table. I just need to be careful for the random reactions I get, like a few days ago when eating a few cherries and then a blister formed on the tip of my tongue, throat got scratchy and lips got blotchy (they were from the farmer’s market and not sure how spray-free they were). It happens randomly; one day I can eat cantaloupe without a reaction, another time it happens. Wish I could pinpoint the root cause. Apples and bananas seem to be fool-proof!

    I share the love for a day in the garden on Mother’s Day (perhaps because of the chance to connect with our Ultimate Mother, Nature). I did that one year as the kids went out with dad for the day. I remember it as my favorite Mother’s Day. I also didn’t go out and buy all the gifts and cards for the women in the family so I even savored the anticipation. It was glorious, until around 7 p.m. when my mother-in-law called –ME to inform me how disappointed she was that she didn’t get anything from us. I eventually divorced her and unfortunately her son was part of the proceedings.

    I hope you have the app for star gazing at your picnic. It’s called OSR Star Finder and you can see the stars and constellations that are above you wherever you may be. Sounds like a wonderful evening and what a great idea for a picnic!

    I love how you enjoy weather maps. I’m sure it’s related to your artistic eye. They do offer beautiful arrays of color. I kept one once of a passing storm. It ‘spoke’ to me.


    I, too, have some angst for the opportunities missed with grandmothers. It bothered me for a long time and left a void in my heart. Nowadays, I feel connected with them and speak to them from my heart. I believe they are still with me and I invoke their spirit often. I hope they feel my love and admiration (and why does it occur to us to value the moments only later, when it eventually dawns on us that their time with us is limited..).

    I took charge of my parents’ photos and am in the process of scanning them all and preparing packets for my siblings with their baby pictures. I will include a flash drive with all of them so we all have a record, plus hard copies of our baby photos (I’m no. 5 so mine are few and ever more precious to me).

    Can’t wait to read your guest blogger entry. ;) ~Nicole

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Oh how frustrating with your sometimes fruit allergy! I have a friend with a similar sounding allergy and for her it comes down to acid. I don't know exactly what the deal is but something like as acidic fruit gets riper she can't handle the extra acid. I can't believe your MIL called you to hound for gifts! She should have at least called HER son! oh that is too much. Your photo groupings sound so nice and so convenient to have them in that form. I did some of that buy for some reason found I liked physical copies better. But I didn't have to do it 5x! Totally agree with you about our loved ones. It's amazing jusy how many signs we can receive if we ask and pay attention! Luckily my brother is a major scientist type so he has all the apps and scanner things covered and tells us what is what. I absorb about 25%. I can always spot Venus though as it is near and dear to my taurian heart. Thanks so much! I'm excited!

      Delete
  24. Not sure if you can see this photo of a passing storm on a weather map. It didn't insert in my original post. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204999160012548&set=pb.1648400062.-2207520000.1462309832.&type=3&theater ~Nicole

    ReplyDelete
  25. how in God's name did i miss this post? i love everything you said about family photos and about arranging fruit. i especially love that you talk about death around holidays because even tho melinda was not my mother, she was in a way. she was the person that steadied me. life can be so hard but you prove that it can still be beautiful. thank you stephen for your friendship and for everything you talk about - mostly the hard stuff. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Janet! I'm so sorry about Melinda and know what you mean-I think a lot of our friends do serve family like roles and to lose them is losing that kind of energy from your world.

      Delete
  26. I’ll never look at a fruit platter in quite the same way again. Love yours! It’s a work of art. Do people stand around your buffet table and say things like, “Boy Stephen, you’re all over the map today.” ;)

    Right now I’m staring at those kumquats and wondering why I never tried one. I will now.

    OK...time to switch hats...Chef Hat to Thinking Cap. ;) Looking forward to your Guest Proust – Post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Thank you! I suppose I am. Oh you must try kumquats. They are so wonderful but so rarely seen here in Ohio. They are very sour and remind me of these citrus Altoids I used to be obsessed with!

      Delete
  27. That is a full on work of art. I have never made a fruit platter, per se, in all my life. Why, I have no idea;).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Oh my gosh you must! I'm sorry but you have no excuse being a Californian! :) I suggest you go to a fab California farmers market and let inspiration strike.

      Delete
  28. Oh crap I know you don't like this but my fruit platter is the plastic lid turned upside down. Boom Done.

    ReplyDelete
  29. So happy to see a new/old post from you. Guess you're busy too. Love celebrating grandmothers and holidays. Two of the best things in life.

    ReplyDelete