Today’s edition has the added attraction of a thoughtful and wonderful guest. It’s Elliott Forrest, a multi-hyphenate friend who is a voice artist, producer, director, tv presenter, and the host of WQXR-fm classical radio, and WQXR.org’s afternoon programming, 3-7 pm.
A friend wondered recently why “cashmere” wasn’t one of my five things. WHAT A GOOD QUESTION! And then my mind went to a funny place it visits semi-freqeuntly — the past, to childhood memories. In my youth, cashmere was an old-fashioned concept, associated to the Hollywood lore of (actress) Lana Turner being “discovered” at Schwab’s Drugstore wearing a tight cashmere sweater. That was before my time, thank you, but the sound of it lingered. Sweaters in our day were mostly Shetland or Merino wool, thicker, coarser, and scratchier than any cashmere. I’m not complaining; just saying. Our wool sweaters were sturdy (I still have my dad’s old tennis sweater) and perfectly wonderful We also had Mohair, and some Lambswool, but somehow cashmere had taken a time out. In the 1980s cashmere made its way back, but tentatively. In Manhattan several boutiques opened which only sold cashmere clothing at first; a novelty. By 1990 when my first exhibit ™ was born, cashmere had saturated the market. I know this because someone had bought him a Lilliputian baby blue cashmere pullover from TSE Cashmere. It could not have been cuter. And now, every sweater is cashmere it seems. A friend’s husband prefers the ones they sell at Costco. Have you ever? Thus ends the history lesson. And regarding the science lesson about how cashmere strands are pulled from lambs’ whiskers or throats or wherever, our science teacher’s car was towed this morning, so we must unfortunately postpone that class. Watch this space!
I love cashmere. It’s finer, softer, and drapes better than those old thick yarns of old. The kings and queens of Cashmere have also figured out how to keep the price points lower: by blending them with silk, or cotton, or Merino wool, by buying in tremendous bulk (that’s you, Costco.!), and of course, you can always find cashmere pieces at second-hand and vintage stores. I cannot prove it, but I believe cashmere is warmer than other wools, because the stitches are smaller.
Who doesn’t love a roaring fire when the temperature drops? I am crazy about them. Sitting in front of a fire is to me a full activity. It’s enough by itself — the smells, the sounds, the hypnotic effect of watching your logs turn into embers and ash. To read in front of the fire, or pet one’s dog, or listen to music — by God, that’s delightful! Alas I became fireplace-less two moves ago, but I enjoyed sitting near a fireplace last week.
3. I’ve been ambivalent about Facebook almost since I first joined it in 2008 or 2009. (Seems both so long ago and so recent.) I am constantly thinking of dropping off of it altogether — and would if there were another way, frankly, to stay in touch with the old friends and schoolmates I only communicate with there, and if there were a more efficient way to direct attention to this blog and pod. However, I have become intrigued and attached to a group chat called “What Would Virginia Woolf Do?”, started by Nina Lorenz Collins. I don’t know what stroke of luck admitted me to this group, but I’ve only started reading it, realizing it’s a conversation about things high and low for women in their 40s and older. What moisturizer works best on dark circles on the eyes? What should I do about the old boyfriend who’s suddenly so eager to see me again? Advice comes from other women who’ve been in the same situations; so much of what I’ve gobbled up there is good natured. Since I’m late to this party, there is also a book version of What Would Virginia Woolf Do? I’m going to recommend it.
4. Our amazing Henry is doing better! Thank you for all your great wishes, prayers, consolations, and anything else you might have done. Tending to him seems to be my new part-time (at least) job — what with the IVs, the long feedings, and so on, but he seems happier, and his markers are improving.
5. Don’twanttosayanythingmoreabouthim. Don’twanttojinxanything. Just putting this picture here and quietly leaving.
Elliott Forrest’s Five Things:
2. His annual “Men’s Week”, now in its fourth decade.
3. GPS on his phone
5. Projects with Meaning — in particular, “Considering Matthew Shephard,” an oratorio, which Elliott directed. And here’s the link to the PBS special: https://video.klru.tv/video/considering-matthew-shepard-iprdd7/?fbclid=IwAR3wt8YTbwUoOSpoiq6oevFB_Sml2_bUrQd_4_-T3xN0kugRhfXEz8BUloo
Thank you Elliott!
To all of you, stay strong and act natural.