Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bokeh Blue Raindrops

Bokeh raindrops on the pavement (for later)

"My photos that have a creative commons license and are free for everyone to download, edit, alter and use as long as you give me, "D Sharon Pruitt" credit as the original owner of the photo. Have fun and enjoy!" Free for All Creative Commons - a set on flickr.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bird On The Wire

When I wrote don't-endanger-bloggers-in-Iran message to well-meaning FB/Twittering birdies, I did not mean/nor say 'cork it' when people have been arrested. I said 'be careful. It's so easy to feel brave & live vicariously from where most of us sit. You don't get medals of bravery for clicking 'pooh on [insert cause]' on FB, etc. Wow, nuance is a lost art. So in case any confusion...go to right sidebar, or to GG blog. Re: missing bloggers & assorted.

Like a bird on the wire,/
Like a drunk in a midnight choir/

I have tried in my way to be free.../
-L. Cohen


[Nina Leen photographs from LIFE archives; undated]

Friday, June 26, 2009

Week's End - You're the Top!

You're the top!
You're the Coliseum,
You're the top!
You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss...(see below)

If I were as cheeky as I seem, I would make a collage of images from Cole Porter's You're the Top & post it as a tribute to Hazel at The Clever Pup. It's her birthday. Time, copyright law, & the weather (storms, ack) prevent my descent--for now--into a life of crime. Phew. I think Hazel will let me off with this mini-tribute. Have a great evening with assorted Pups & Cool Cats.

A Skeleton Key to 'You're the Top' by Timothy Noah of Slate Magazine is amusing & must have been a lot of fun to research & write. His response, sort of, to feelings about Bloomsday. Intrigued? I was.

ciao, xo from Washington, DC

[hastily procured LIFE archival photos by David E. Scherman of 'lady at masked ball in Paris, July1946. Two of 'em. Hey, give me a break. I nearly chose a Communist Party rally in Paris. At least it looked like they had champagne.]

Back to work, sort of. A great weekend to all (& go pester the Mme. Pup). And yes, I'm sad about Farrah & Michael. Are you kidding? No matter the intervening years & academia, hey, I was growing up then, too. The first time I walked into Jersualem's Old City, the Damascus Gate entrance, you know what was playing somewhere-in-the-souk? No? I'll say anyway. Layla & then Billie Jean. Worlds collide. Weirdest damn day of my life (so far).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Week's End - Tricolore Window

...a pull of the curtains* (for now). I'll be be offline for awhile; perhaps by a miracle, it will be less than three weeks. I saw this photograph in Robert of Toronto's Antibes flickr set & thought, there it is, a bricoleuse arranged that window. Please go here to see the full photograph because the detail in the Provençal fabric is marvellous.

I will leave all feeds on for everyone's blogs to come through while gone. That means, I cannot monitor whatever the Dept. of Worlds Collide & Troublemaking-in-Style [right sidebar] gets up to. I cannot bring myself to unlink. (But I will check in from elsewhere, when possible, to see what's going on, you devils). If I can come back & see comments & read your blogs tonight or tomorrow, I will surely do so.
[Friday morning update: I'm taking off the feature that shows only 10 blogs...it might shock you how long since you've updated! (hint)]

More crazy thunderstorms announce their most-unwelcome-presence in Washington, DC...ciao-for-now, amici

*le drapeau tricolore: the French flag
[impromptu flag by Robert of Toronto/used by permission]

Fragments, Naples

(Naples, for later) All photographs by Robert in Toronto who so obviously gets it. Please see Robert's larger format photographs, here, here, & here (for the photographs above); you will see much more detail if you go directly to these links. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cleaning House

Literally & virtually. Must publish one post per day on each blog. Discipline.

The more serious thing: I'll probably be off-line as of Friday, a few weeks (I hope not that long). No, it's not a trip to the beach or Rome or Crete or Santorini. You would definitely hear about that. It's serious because of work-I-need-to-do & necessary e-mail, & I love the radio all day but sometimes, you just have to watch Supernanny or Sherlock Holmes Mystery on PBS. And I still can't do that because I remain unsuccessful in fashioning an antenna out of the cat. You know, to bring in the digital-signal.-that-would-change-our-lives. (Julie is willing, I swear. No PETA spamming please. It's a joke.)

Speaking of jokes, I'm furious at Dave L's forced (I'm convinced) apology to "that woman." Yes, I cringed at a few of the jokes....I knew he'd get slammed & I'd like to talk to some of his writer-guys. Still. Get over it. BTW, do people look at their Googley-Analytics? I try to avoid except very occasionally because it creeps me out. But finally I'm going to type it: Wasilla, Alaska . Five straight weeks. Are you kidding me? Well, all residents can't be fans of their former mayor, The Woman Who Made Me Crack My Tooth (via Stress). [better title in the offing]

No comments (yet) such as: "Oh yes! I'm going to re(read) Gatsby, or look at Shirley Hazzard books, get over my unreasonable fear of Naples, or -- this would be my dream come true-- "I performed Molly Bloom's soliloquy in a junior high school talent show & everyone fell faint, except one fabulous (silently applauding) teacher. I had one of those...Ms. Hughes. From Real Ireland. No, I didn't perform the soliloquy...how I wish.


[Photograph by Yael Joel via LIFE Googley archives, 1953]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reading in the Shadow of Vesuvius

Some favorite books, re-read every year. Shirley Hazzard on Naples/southern Italy where she lived for many years with her genius translator husband (mostly Flaubert), the late Francis Steegmuller. [**Please see below for important note re: second & third photographs by Robert in Toronto.]

Hazzard's The Bay of Noon, Greene on Capri. (Deeply admire her other novels, but concerned with this area right now. )I cannot fathom how one could be bored by Greene in Capri--even if they don't give a fig for Graham Greene, Shirley, Francis, or Flaubert. Or Capri. However, if you don't care about any of those things--what the heck is wrong with you?! [Oh dear. I just found a NYRB letter-to-the-editor mini-kerfluffle in 2000 between Greene's last companion, a lovely person, & the reviewer of the Capri book -- 149 pages, you can zip through in a sec & highly diverting-- & then he brings in Hazzard to answer charges. These NYRB back & forth l-to-ed can go on for years. This looks like a one-off. Here's that link.]

Hazzard-recommended Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples by Dan Hofstadter. I don't know how he did it, but he did. The city's antique & curio shops are among the characters in his novelistic-remembrance. Take a break from Paris & elsewhere, please, I beg you. And don't forget about the highly original Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camillieri. I don't know how I'd do without these people. Really.

**Second & third photographs by Robert in Toronto. When I saw his flickr set & what he wrote, I thought immediately of these books. So many who have gone for the first time, just freak out & leave. [Or they pre-freak out & never go., more's the pity.] Update: Robert suggested that I should put links to each photograph so that you might see the full-size; I agree. Here is the fabulous wall; here is the antique shop.

Here's what Robert writes:
"Possibly more than any other city in Europe, Naples exudes an atmosphere and sensibility as palpable as its odour: it's not to everyone's liking. I was enthralled by the place, and, at every turn, inspired to shoot a photograph, even though the weather during our four-day stay was cold, misty, and wet. There is a lot to see, all of it accessibly on foot or by bus, and much of it unusual. In particular, the narrow, awninged streets of the old city teem with people and products to rival the medinas of Africa. But remain alert: a man with a camera is a ready mark."

buona notte, gattini & gattine

[Jean Patchett in scarf, Vogue 1950 by the great "lost" Vogue photographer Clifford Coffin via myvintagevogue on flickr. Jessica's tumblr blog is in the right side-bar & her website is looking great. Update 26 June 2009: here's link to myvintagevogue aka Jessica, who is adorable; upcoming post on her as soon as I can ask her, email, & then get back here.]

A Molly Bloom

The first person to send me flowers. [Siobhán McKenna by G. Mili from LIFE archives, taken in Ireland, 1956.]

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Sleep

Just finished listening (mostly) to Terry Gross (on NPR's Fresh Air) interview Woody Allen. Unfortunately, I was distracted by something (I think it was Corine at Hidden in France, yes. It was. It's her fault.) I recommend the podcast. It was good to hear him; I didn't gnash my teeth or talk back to the radio once. Terry asks good questions & allows people to answer thoughtfully. Or not.

I thought: what would make me happy, materially, right now. No one lecture me about 'materialism' -- not until you're in my shoes-with-holes. Don't you dare. (Woody's list, along with non-material 'things' is quite similar to mine. I don't know if that's good or bad. It's amusing.).

I'd like to have an antenna so I can watch the BBC News feed on PBS at 6pm; watch Dave Letterman's monologue, tape Craig Ferguson & puppets (don't judge), & see the scenes from Iran today. Or watch anything but 'here's how you fix your freaking TV that you thought was digital.' And for the record, before one more well-meaning person says it's a blessing in disguise: I have no problem, whatsoever, ever-ever, with turning off the television. I have taken to old-guy behavior of circling programs for the week. Because even here in DC, there are few daily prompts to watch World News or Frontlline. When it's your choice, it's one thing; when you've no choice, that's elitism talking. Oh the poor will be so much better off it they do not have their telenovelas..

This is an excuse to start posting photographs of rooms-I-like. Some are white, some are multi-colored, all styles. I'm not a magpie...I can be happy with many different styles. I am not so high-maintenance that it has to be 'roses' rather than 'liles' (or vice versa...anyone who read The Rose Thief knows about the parsley-in-creamer jug.) Beautiful peonies at the market this afternoon...surprised I wasn't charged to sniff.

So other than replacing/fixing everything that is tattered, & making sure this computer doesn't crash, & of course a camera...what would make me happy? A bed-frame that is not broken & propped up with old art books. It is far beyond bohemian, I assure you. Other people romanticize this kind of life. No, I want a bed-frame & to send out the carpets to be cleaned properly. Mary Cassatt's poppies, while lovely, are not helping. Unless I had them here, in a one of my favorite vessels. These Mediterranean photographs were torn from a magazine many years ago & stapled into notebooks. I think it might be Marie Claire Maison.

I resisted the urge to crop out the Louis Vuitton trunk in the Med-bedroom.(my reverse snobbery). I have to take the html out later but I'll leave it in for now. The scan of the room with all the 'stuff' is my reply to "toss everything out' articles I've seen (especially lately). Someone (paid) to pontificate in the Washington Post wrote recently "throw out those little paperbacks..." & keep the hardback books. Whaaaaaa? I'd have to buy them back. I have volumes of poetry & vintage paperbacks. I re-read them. Why on earth would I toss them out? This was written by a person who does not read, I am convinced, much less re-read. Oh, yeah, I'm really going to toss out vintage first paperbacks of Plath, Camus-and-Gide-in-French (1950s) & a few copies of New World Writing (that's what I can see from here, where I sit. Literally.).

Back to being upset that I don't have the magazine information. I'll do that tonight & then back to rereading Gatsby, as I do every summer (at least once). Just to keep myself in check. I actually know a Tom & a Daisy (unwillingly). Yeah, I do. Believe it or not.

[I must insert something about Iran: Have been "tweety-birding" with some friends there. Also, the Post today is so very incorrect about the polling in Iran. They are wrong. I can hardly believe my eyes & ears at times. If you are interested in Iran (& you should be, for all kinds of reasons), pay attention to Robin Wright. She's at the Woodrow Wilson Center, used to be at the Post before they bought out people-who-know stuff. Robin & Geraldine Brooks are the two Westerners I trust about Iran. Read them; their books are wonderful. I'm so very glad that I did not "toss them out." They love Iran, too, so the snoot factor is not there.]

Les coquelicots

I hope by the time I see this in the morning (or later, I need to rest), this will cheer me up. Had to take off comment function on Giulia Geranium due to hate mail & spammers. I am literally sick over it (the reaction, not taking off comment function. Only a few comments were fit to publish since mid-March 2009).

I have scads of photographs & images of red poppies; this one is courtesy of Mary Cassatt - The Complete Works website.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week's End - Crème de Menthe Trifle Gown

See what you might do about that, would you?*

*This directive was first issued to or near my person (it was that weird) one horridly hot, humid, no A/C in the house morning... from an excessively-self-regarding summer-sublet. (The other resident friend-housemates shot out the door for their offices/classes with a vigor intense even for DC. Cowards.) She actually did the little QEII wave of the hand (without irony--I would've given style points for that). She'd blown the fuses just one too many times (I kept a paper bag of them by the fusebox--that's how often).

There's a very funny story here (at my own expense, yes, of course, the funniest kind). It's way over 500-word limit & a messy tangle at that. I'll rework it off-line. The things a photograph will do. So see? It's working, sort of.

I love this photograph (& two uncropped versions) by Nick Bartoletti in Seattle. [Update: here's the direct link to his Clise Manion shoot set.] His photograph in the Jump! post (1 June 2009) is a new addition to the wall at my right. At the moment, I can't even manage a bunny hop; that's not his fault, though. This dress reminded me of The Clever Pup's Crème de Menthe Trifle recipe (her post here) that I'd planned to make for a party last night. Best laid plans...

The dress also reminds me of the gorgeous costumes in Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette & that little wave of the hand by The Fuse-Blower.

I have two major commitments this weekend--one quite demanding, the other outside. For hours. Taking people's guff (& niceness, too, to be fair) behind a table. And if it would just stop, please someone, stop the thunderstorms it would be most helpful. It's been a bad week for a lot of people here in DC. Yes, the museum shooting.

I'll try to be back for something worth reporting over the weekend. Perhaps over the phone...ciao

[Nick Bartoletti photograph used by permission/all rights reserved]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Julie in Black & White

UPDATE: There will be no post today, Thursday, 11 June 2009. It was an awful day yesterday here in Washington, not a good one & I'm receiving hate email for the Giulia Geranium site. I'm disgusted (but not surprised), as well as shaken. svs

Just startled awake from the desk chair, twice. How graceful; at least I didn't fall off. More storms due. Julie C. pix because Julie (the Cat) is lying on bed & named for her. Plus my hair will be back to normal by tomorrow noon. Bless lovely, generous hair stylists who understand about parties & their networking importance. It just cannot be Wednesday yet. But it is. Have a great day. [by Paul Schutzer/LIFE archives]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Expecting to Fly

By the talented & patient Marta Vallejos Pastor of Spain. She's busy running around like mad, like the rest of us, but took the time to answer two emails & was so nice about it. Mostly about other pix for another project But she sent the html for this as well, & it's perfect for today. Because I better fly & get stuff done (& yes, I 've been playing Neil Young, hence the title). Marta took this in les Tuileries in Paris & I love it. Nowadays, it would make me sick. But I love to watch it...been toooo long. I just noticed that Marta has an etsy shop, Pocket Memories. Here's the link. I'll have to visit thoroughly later in the week but it looks terrific. Work is getting done here, too, though never enough. But met two folks with writing possibilities. So. Not all in vain.


[tuilieries by marta v/used by permission]

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Foggy View - Bay of Naples

Screech. How can it be nearly 1pm? I was expecting to fly through errands & laundry & &&...this photograph will not upload properly. I feel as grounded as I did that day in a (lovely) flat, not mine, with three gorgeous views...this one of the Bay of Naples. Which I love. Vesuvius looms over all, of course. Hmmm. OK. Well, that's that for now. Will post someone else's great photo & get ready for more thunderstorms, running through the rain. So the story about this place is on hold. Did I say bleep already? No, bleep. (Apologies for language.) [Update of three minutes later. No I'm not going to waste the permission to use someone else's gorgeous Polaroid so bricolage looks pretty-through-thumbnail. Ugliness-as-virtue? Hmmm.]

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Outside, looking in...the Tony Awards

Who am I kidding? This is an excuse to put in two photographs I like. Plus, I feel bereft (yes, you heard me) that I've not been to the theatre in some time (yes, here in DC & they're great...but I feel like being in NYC tonight).

These remind me of being little, or young, or inexperienced, & being allowed just enough of a peek at the grown-ups from the landing, from backstage, from the back of a room or a hall. In but not quite. I didn't realize then that I saw so very much more from there.

It's been a long, winding week & the upcoming promises more of the same (but a party & I want to go to it. Shocked, shocked), & I know many of you are in the same swirly, twirly, not-so-great, nerve-wracking present, so maybe this will cheer you up. (Someone looking in thinks, "how does she know?" Because they've told me so...)

The awards are on tonight--so watch some of it. I'm thinking of Natasha Richardson, suddenly. And a few others, gone way too soon, who I imagine will be remembered tonight in some fashion. Gulp. But....the show must go on, really, it must. And not just on stage...eh?

xoxo, belle

[LIFE archives: Chorus girls watching the Ed Sullivan show in 1958 by Peter Stackpole & AH as Sabrina, up in her tree, looking at the party. From the film, after which my favorite cousin--I have scads--was named via scan from copy of The Audrey Hepburn Treasures: pictures & mementos in a life of style & purpose (Atria Books). Here's the link. If you love her, you should have this book. Which is how, a few years ago, a friend put it: I thought of you, you must have it now. I didn't even wrap it. What was odd about it is that I really hadn't mentioned Hepburn to her in years. xo to Sasha who never looks here.]

Friday, June 5, 2009

Week's End - Eartha in Black & White

Oh, just because. I love these by the great Gordon Parks for LIFE. 1952. Some are definitely outtakes but they're still cool. And sad that Koko Taylor died yesterday & thinking about how great it is to go hear live singing. Especially les grandes dames. (Not that they were the same style of singer, just can't find Koko pix I want at moment. She must've been half-living in DC in the 80s & early 90s. Went to see her all the time, down the street. She highly disapproved of one boyfriend. I listened to her. He was gone. I love those kind of women: get rid of that no-good so & so. What's the matter with you, girl?)

[the photograph of Eartha before or after the club, dressed down, is also by Parks but via myvintagevogue/tumblr]

Marseilles Dress in Blue & White

This may be the ultimate worlds collide post on bricolage (certainly to-date). But I just saw on a friend's blog (in sidebar) that there is a darling blue & white dress giveaway on a new-to-me blog called Grosgrain. Clothes for real women...it's too late, even if I win (I never win, c'mon), to have it for my June events-where-maybe-someone-will hire-me...but, maybe one of us will win it. (Male readers & bloggers, I know you're here: win for lady friend, sister, any female in your life. Or win & donate to a woman who needs a dress.) Update: 7 June 2010. I bought the dress on sale later that week. It's great & I recommend Shabby Apple without reservation.

The company is called Shabby Apple (I immediately thought of the big green Beatle's Apple), & the name is Marseilles. It's a spot-on name: blue & white, vertical stripes beloved of French women most everywhere. So go look, puhleeze. And, I read this very quickly, but Shabby Apple donates 5% of every dress sold to aid the women in India who make the dresses. I will investigate further.

This is not turning into a shopping blog but I really like this & I like that they help other women. So, here's the link one more time. Marseilles Dress SHABBY APPLE GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

The owner of Grosgrain, Kathleen, says swipe the pix & so I did But to indulge my vintagey look but also for pop-ups in LinkedWithin for the abstract future, I include a blue & white vintage dress in the first photo from Ladie's Home Journal, March 1960. I'm pretty sure that Shabby Apple will not be giving away extra fabric as a little carpet to stand on while you wear your Marseilles dress. But gloves will be required if you win. I mean it. I want you to put that sucker on & some white gloves, & send me the pix to publish. (first photograph via Jessica at myvintagevogue. Her tumblr blog is in sidebar, usually at the top. That girl keeps busy, wow!)

Back later for Week's End quickie & then big D-Day doings over weekend. I hope.

ciao belle.

Little update: I am unclear about the instructions in Kathleen's blog to link. I think I have to post with her title which includes many exclamation points (understandably for a giveaway). So if I post this & then a second with her title!!!! please do forgive. After there's a winner, I can delete one post. And then I may never, ever do this again.



OK this isn't easy. It keeps being posted to Giulia Geranium...not the place for it. So bear with me. And I do realize you haven't a clue as to what I am saying. Just a moment, kids.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another Roman storm approaches...

Museo della terme, Roma. Fun making it look like it felt--humid, electric expectation, yellow, thrilling (saturation, tint, & who knows what else I did to this, can't remember, doesn't matter...) Leaving in the clickability feature, whatever feedburner says. It's weirder in larger size. ciao.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Villa Giulia in Sepia

...an October storm was on its way. Villa Giulia, Etruscan museum, Rome. (for later)

Ayelet's Essay - A True Story

A writer friend just sent out a link to her essay for The Huffington Post, titled A Modicum of Dr. George Tiller's Courage. I have been remiss in linking her banner & new book on the site. As I said I would do, oh, a few months ago. I hope you will read what Ayelet has to say. She makes it quite clear that it is "Our Story" -- meaning with her husband.

This is necessarily quick; I half-fainted yesterday (not at home, egad), so I'm grounded & cannot go a panel on Jerusalem as scheduled today. The iris because they're Ayelet's favorite (or used to be...OK, she just said, link away & didn't mention any disaffection with iris, so here we go.)
Mother's day flowers by the lovely George Brett, a local photographer.

Blue Wall(paper)flowers

But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues/ You can tell by the way she smiles/ See the primitive wallflower freeze/ rest
[1960 Vogue via myvintagevogue/sidebar]

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Rose Thief

...c'est moi.

No, I don't think Sophia is stealing these beautiful roses; but I'm sure she can relate from growing up without much at all on the outskirts of of Napoli. I hope so. I could use some support (even imaginary). I have been clipping bits of an overgrown, messy Dortmund rose climber in front of my little brick building. I'm the only one who takes care of it, stringing it back, begging some zealous apartment dwellers to leave it be, not to complain to the office to rip it out. Over here in a corner, we don't have the perennials that Eleanor Roosevelt & friends planted (yes!) when the complex was built.

I will explain my indefensible behavior soon. Right now, I'm off to more scary dental doings. But I've been working on something regarding my flower problem (Last summer I had lovely dandelions in little green & blue bottles...hey, it was the best I could do for a few weeks...that & ok, a few yellow French marigolds...and...) It's going to be hot today & I think that's the end of the roses for this blooming. Too late to sneak out & take a last few (I left a ton on there). I hope the French marigolds are put in soon. Otherwise, it's parsley-in-a-creamer for now.

Beautiful Sophia by Alfred Eisenstaedt for LIFE via myvintagevogue (see Jessica's site in the right-sidebar).

Monday, June 1, 2009


I've wanted to use this great photograph by generous Nick Bartoletti of Seattle for some time. Then, Lori of Automatism (in sidebar) used one from the same set (a beautiful dress...I'll wait a decent amount of time before I use those...Lori's post is on her front page). Today the Daily Photo blogs I enjoy are busy posting about their theme today: tootsies. Or if you prefer: feet, les pieds, i piedi. Don't feel like jumping at all today but I'd like to. Maybe this will do it.

Nick took this photo at Clise Mansion & tells me that it's in Redmond, WA. Must investigate. If you want to use any of Nick's shots, please write to him
. He's a lovely correspondent & I'm sure he'd like to make your acquaintance. If you have your own camera (lucky dogs!), it's still worth your while to pay him a visit. It's already June. How can this be? (Other than, you know, the regular passage of time...) Have a terrific day & Jump! Or even a small hop. What makes you jump? (photograph by Nick Bartoletti/all rights reserved)