Although running away to the circus doesn’t figure in my plans, when I saw a listing for a juggling class in the NY Times, I signed –and part of my family –up. That’s how my daughter, granddaughter and I joined five other good sports and Heather Wolf,  the super-personable instructor, who has actually been with Ringling Brothers for a while, albeit in the band. Along the way, she picked up juggling skills and now teaches JuggleFit, so named because the skill is definitely a form of exercise (though not quite like running a marathon.)

The secret to successful juggling is as much about the throw as the catch. The idea is to throw across the body into the far corner, first with the right hand, then with the left (most of us muttering corner, corner, corner with each throw.)

We began by tossing colored scarves because they stay up longer giving you more time to catch. Once we “mastered” one scarf we moved to two  and then three.

Balls came next –much harder than scarves but, in time, most of us got it. Like getting to Carnegie Hall, it takes practice. Regardless of prowess, the lesson was a lot of fun.balls


Heather does parties and corporate events. If you’re planning either, give her a shout at   



Juggling oranges could get messy but they’re round (melon, too big; plums, too small.) You could try juggling oranges outdoors in warm weather (assuming it ever arrives) or just make:


Salmon with Oranges, Fennel and Bell Pepper

(Martha Stewart)

Photography: Johnny Miller


1 navel orange

1 large bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced, 1/4 cup fronds reserved

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 skinless salmon fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup pitted black olives, quartered (if you don’t like these–like me, omit)


Heat broiler, with rack 8 inches from heat. Grate 1 tablespoon orange zest, then cut orange into wedges. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together orange zest and wedges, fennel, bell pepper, and oil and arrange in an even layer. Add salmon and season vegetables and salmon with salt and pepper. Broil until vegetables are browned in spots and salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with olives and fennel fronds to serve.

If you use square plates, you can mutter “corner, corner” while positioning the food on them. Or mutter it anyway and, when guests look at you quizzically, explain.


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2 Responses to Multitasking

  1. Elinor Spalten says:

    Mari, only you could be interested in becoming a juggler, and convince others to become jugglers also! Your curiosity and abilities know no bounds!!!


  2. Mary Stern says:

    Mari–You find the most intriguing things to write about. I love your postings. I’ll be in NYC late April and would love to see you while I’m there.