Stay Flexible

Gail’s middle name is Flexible.  Yep, Gail Flexible Giffen it is.

We’ve had a busy week and thought we’d stay in tonight and binge on The Staircase, a series on Amazon about a murder.  We watched Making a Murderer on Netflix last week, and we’re on a homicidal roll.

Then I got a message from Keith: Did we want to go to a gallery opening and dinner?  Well sure we did–that’s the flexible way to be.

So we went in to Oakland to a super fancy upscale liquor store called the Alchemy Bottle Shop.  The kind of place that sells 30 year old single malt Scotch, obscure wines from Catalonia and small batch bourbons.  Not a bottle of MD 20-20 in sight.

On the second floor we met Sally Petru, a friend of Jan’s from the Berkeley Tennis club.  She is a tremendous botanical artist–one of those very talented people who draw plants precisely, exactly, essentially photorealistically.  This is a second career, one that entailed many years of study in places around the world.  Sally is a big fish in the very small pond of botanical illustration, and the art on the wall makes it clear why.


Sal Petru, botanical artist


We’ve been to plenty of gallery openings; this was the first in a liquor store.

Sal’s (because that what she calls herself, Sal) work was on the wall, just above the fancy grape juice.


I’m learning to appreciate art even when it doesn’t move me.  These works are truly special, imbuing plants I would ordinarily consider mostly meaningless with life, dignity and presence.  Yes, you could much more easily just take a photo, but you would be missing the life Sal manages to create within her watercolors.  You can of course see more of her work at her website,

Tonight my horizons were widened a bit.  I saw a liquor store that was actually a class joint, not just a booze outlet.  And we got to meet and learn about an artist in a tiny niche specialty and see some precise, intricate drawings with a life of their own.  You just gotta stay flexible.



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