Thursday, January 20, 2011


These southern pearls of wisdom from Rick's mom will appear from time to time and what better blogazine addition to introduce one of 'em than in this addition called time. These homilies may not have originated with Rena but the way we heard them was when they tumbled out from her southern drawling mouth.
"Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once."

It started out as a decorative period to the design paragraph that was to become our kitchen.  In our rental galley kitchen there wasn’t a whole lot to work with but the soffet running over the fridge and stove provided enough room to make a little statement in an otherwise sterile space. The idea was to add time to the room; decorative time, time built on memories, time as homage to friends and places we loved.

We had gone to the Schamburg IKEA on a scouting trip for an installation we were doing for an event in New York. What we ended up doing was spending a little on our own place. We found these Dekad clocks at $9.99 a piece that reflected the cottage theme we were working with in the apartment. We decided to use five of them. At 8 3/4” diameter they were the right size to fit on the soffet and leave enough room for adding our global text.

Madison isn’t known for its art supply stores but at Michael’s we found these raised adhesive letters. We were looking for cities in five different time zones that would mean something to us every time we looked at those clocks lined up on the kitchen wall. We started with where we were, Madison. Our next pick was where we had come from, New York.  That gave us two zones. From there we jumped across the ocean to Paris, one of our favorite cities and then we added Rome. We really wanted to add Bounconvento, a small Tuscan city south of Siena but we didn’t have enough letters. So Rome became the city to remind us of the farm in Bounconvento where we have spent so many magical vacations. Now for my bad, I thought Rome and Paris were in different time zones. Now we had two clocks with the same time. We debated changing them but none of us wanted to give up either Paris or Rome. Since none of us had an affinity for the Far East we decided our fourth clock should represent the west coast. San Francisco was an easy pick for us. Our best friends lived there. The last clock was the hardest decision. We were only missing one mainland U.S. time zone. We eliminated Alaska (any Sarah Palin reference wasn’t going to make our wall) and Hawaii (the whole grass skirt thing just wasn’t us). This left us Mountain Time. We considered Phoenix and Tuscan but Arizona has just left a bad taste in our mouths. Santa Fe was where we began our love of photography. We had just enough letters left to spell it so Santa Fe completed the wall.
Here’s what you need to know about creating your own time wall.
The tools you’ll need include a hammer, ruler, pencil, paper, hangers appropriate to hold your clocks (this can vary from picture hangers, nails or pushpins), and a small level.
First measure the wall both vertically and horizontally. This will tell you how many clocks you can fit and what size clock you should buy.

Once you’ve purchased your clocks measure their diameter, add the diameters together and subtract this from the length of the wall. This will tell you how many clocks you can fit on the wall. We normally like to space things tight but in the case of the clocks you want to remember the length of the names you’re going to add to the wall. If you’re going to be using a lengthy name, you have to have enough space to get the name up there without running into the names on the adjoining clocks.
Now lay out the clocks on a piece of paper. This doesn’t have to be neat or to scale. Just sketch out the clocks and the sides of the wall. Since the clocks will most likely hang from their center points, this is where you’re going to want to measure from. We always like to use an odd number of pieces when hanging similar or identical images. Start with finding the center point of the wall and start measuring out to the sides. As with hanging anything, measure twice so you only have to put up your nails once.

Adding the adhesive letters is a little more loosey goosey. Measure the height of your letters. Take this measurement and add the distance you from the top of the letters to the bottom of the clocks. Mark this in pencil on the wall centered under each clock. Using your level draw a light guide line or use a piece of tape for the letters. 

Here’s where I just wing it. I take the center letter, put it on the line and then start adding the remaining letters eye-balling the spacing. If you lightly put up the letters you can usually take them down and start over if you don’t like the way they look. Now before doing a hard press with the letters make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly. There’s nothing worse than ending up with New Gersey on your wall unless your name is Snooky.
Now erase your guidelines or peel off your tape and you’re done. 

I can sit in the living room, look at my wall of clocks and make phone calls to friends across the American landscape knowing its not too late to call Angelina in New York or too early to call Johannah in San Francisco. 


We decided to begin our cooking segment with a basic. For me, this is essential. I’ve only recently passed boiling water. So Rick is sharing his failsafe recipe to the perfect boiled egg. You begin with a medium sized saucepan. Make sure the pan has a cover, you’ll need it later on. Rick suggests using four eggs, you could do as many as you want. The number of eggs you put in won’t effect the recipe. Eggs and milk have always been products we were willing to pay more, we've splurged on organic. We can’t scientifically prove it but it’s why we believe our daughter’s height has hit the five ten mark at fourteen and she’s still growing. Place the eggs in the saucepan and cover them with cold water, lukewarm or hot water and your tempting fate with the proper timing.
Okay, now you can turn up the heat, medium high is where you want it. As the water comes to a simmer, cover your sauce pan (I told you, you’d need the lid), and turn off the heat. Now set the timer to fifteen minutes and wait.
When the timer sounds your eggs are done and done to perfection. Peel the shell and enjoy with a little salt and pepper or slice it up over a bed of mache with a little chevre, some toasted croutons and some ripe summer tomatoes.

If you can’t put it on the wall then wrap it around your wrist. Our fascination with timepieces began with Mickey, well maybe Cinderella and grew to Hamilton, Elgin and Longines as our awareness of the delicate nature of wrist wear grew. 

Watches are one of the few jewelry accessories men can get into without it getting too kinky. Vintage watches from the forties have been a favorite of ours. They were reasonably priced and the type of item you could find at flea markets and multi-dealer shops.

We’ve kept mostly to the used watch market but on occasion we’ve ventured into the contemporary market with watches whose design blew us away. 


Tempo of the City: Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, Manhattan
Bernice Abbott 1938
New York Public Library Digital Gallery

1 comment:

  1. Love your posts -- and we miss you guys! xoxo, Joel & Alan & Raphi