Do you know the scene in the restaurant in As Good As It Gets where Melvin (Jack Nicholson) is making a complete mess of seducing Carol (Helen Hunt)? The one where he finally spits out, "you make me want to be a better man."
I think about that sentiment occasionally about people in my life. I might never tell them they make me want to be better, but they do.
It's how I feel about Voula sitting across from me — like Euphrosyne ("Joy"), one of the Greek Graces.
We're close in age. In the same place, creatively. Have big projects. And are full of fresh power.
I have been growing a circle of support. Smart and loving people who want me to succeed. A place to turn to when I want a truthful and caring read on me and the work. The line-up is solid gold.
Voula's in it.
I admire her enthusiasm for colour, her jewellery, her humble and generous spirit, and the way she puts food and words together. Metaphorically speaking, she has a Ph.D. in hospitality. You should see the illustrations she sends me by text. I have a front-row seat to her artistic expression. The talk between us about work and life is mature and honest.
Talk about feeling perfectly cared for. It took us too long to get to Famiglia Baldassarre. We both have had the pasta retail. But nothing beats the shop on Geary Avenue. Look at the food. The service is *chef's kisses.* Do yourself a favour and line up. If you're coming from out of town, you don't want to miss it. The pasta is miraculous. Close your eyes, and pretend you're in Milan, Florence, or Rome.
The Sound of Philadelphia for Voula. Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes and The O'Jays. Memories of Soul Train. Eleven-year-old me dancing my way to happy.
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