Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week's End - See You in September

One Christmas morning, a parental nod, go ahead. The only walking child, three to follow. A record player & a few 45s under the tree. It had to be for me. For me? For me? Really? It remains a highlight, that day. Music. On demand. My own. I can't play music, of any kind, in the background...or I stop listening to anyone, everything.

It's (way) past time to take a break, make & keep appointments/lunch/dinner/drinks, gather photographs for Giulia Geranium, cause a little (well-meaning) trouble. What else. Oh, yes, finish up some projects, send the little darlings out into the world. Waiting is the hardest part...'tis true.

Have a great couple of weeks; I hope you get up to no end of (harmless) nonsense. I'll be stopping by the links on this page & those on GG, too. xo

[top photograph by Nick Bartoletti/used by permission/Clise Mansion shoot set on flickr, here. Thanks, Nick! /Child enraptured by what she is hearing at Mountain Music Festival, 1947, by W. Eugene Smith, LIFE archives]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So many memories, most very good. We'll miss you, Teddy. xo

[photograph by Peter Andersen via Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons License]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sylvie in Black & White

..and one in color. I've been privileged to see most of the great ballet dancers (male & female) perform or rehearse, from the mid-60s through the present. (One of my sisters nearly went in that direction .The grueling Royal Academy examinations--yikes. My mother was nearly driven to her own mad Giselle scene dealing with the specs for examination tunic sewing.)

The Royal Ballet had not been to Washington, DC for at least 10 years (not looking it up) & I was so upset that I'd not seen Sylvie Guillem, French-born, prima ballerina of the Royal. When in London, not the season. Of course. So when word came of a tour stop here, I was very excited. The man in my life? Not so much. He was no slouch in the culture department, it just didn't get him (he said). So one asks, as one should, "Bad experience? Five thousand Nutcrackers your only exposure to ballet?" No. Never been. Aha! So you can't really say that you dislike it, can you? No, which one should we go to? I thought, OK, Swan Lake since it's important in the canon (though I'd seen 5,000 times) & because Sylvie Guillem was scheduled for several performances. I told this man that she was beautiful & French & he would be dazzled. Yeah, yeah.

We didn't take two pair of opera glasses to the performance. We were quite close, really; still, as soon as he laid eyes on Sylvie, that was it. Hogged them the rest of the evening. I don't think he's over it yet. I'm going through a clothes clear-out/reorganization & just found the pretty blue Royal Ballet sweatshirt he bought me that night. I thought they were too expensive but he wanted to thank me for his introduction to the ballet (read: Sylvie). A success.

By the way, AUREA has a good post on dance books; and artist Tina Tarnoff at Thought Patterns has a beautiful papercut of Sylvie in her etsy shop. Which I covet.

[Photographs of SG: 1); 2) via; 3) Searching for original photographer names. I usually don't post unless I have them, but today, that's the way it'll have to be.]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Shopping

Hyperventilating from spending a lot of (necessary) money today. So I'm "pretend" clothes shopping. September magazines are piling up, including Vogue. I'm reading/looking at fluff instead of writing. I need a day off. The poetry & literary landslide has to wait for tonight. Overwhelmed.

Though it's a January (1962) date, I couldn't resist this image from Just Covers, another Jessica aka myvintagevogue project (the tumblr blog is also in the right sidebar--you can see the high-resolution image there). I have three (3!) broken SLRs here so no decent photograph of Julie the Cat. Still putting one in...

Have a good Sunday evening/Monday (depending on where you are)!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week's End - Umbrella Girl

Off to procure a large, safe (beautiful) umbrella to weather threatening storms on their unwelcome way. Getting wet with Gregory Peck would be lovely; with the slim pickings in Washington, DC (over the age of interns), I'm choosing the bumpershoot* route. Have a great weekend wherever you are. xo

*or 'bumbershoot'. Stop the arguing over slang for 'umbrella'! Only on the Internet...

[photograph by Constantin Joffe, 1947 via myvintagevogue]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Taking the Waters

Rereading, ruminating, & taking the waters. Apartment style, alas, not in a Czech spa town. Though I have done.
[reading in the bath by Nina Leen/LIFE archives; film still/Unbearable Lightness of Being/still photographer
Phil Bray

Blue Solution

So no one has advice on laptops. Well, I could just buy an Olivetti & be done with it. A blue one. This photograph is via alexkerhead's flickr set Cameras, Typewriters, Telephones, & Radios. Very cool.

Horse Sense

"A friend asking "Lady Wonder," the talking horse, about important decisions." Richmond, VA, December 1952, by Hank Walker.

A new low. Even for me. But that's what came up under "decisions" in the LIFE archives. Seriously.

If I log on Thursday (this being written on Wednesday) & haven't made a laptop decision, I'm going to
flip out. If you see this, tell me. But not to get a Mac -- I'd love to. I can't. Don't tell me your horror stories about the evil laptop that ruined your life. Just give me some ideas. My eyes are crossed. I'm on the verge of polling complete strangers because my friends don't want to discuss it anymore. I don't blame them. Help!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wishful Thinking

A recent post on The Clever Pup about redecorating (it said, 'dream on' - I know, I know) inspired a look at books o' clippings. Why oh why didn't I keep the whole magazine -- or at least the photographer & writer credits? Because I didn't know I'd be doing this, that's why. House & Garden (also called HG in one incarnation) published a terrific article in the early 1990s on Isabella Rossellini's New York apartment. Her bedroom & bath are very elegant; but as I wrestle framed photographs, hats, & my desk into submission (sort of), these shots are most helpful & entertaining. The dogs at the desk are adorable & hard to resist. (The dachsund is wearing a scarf with considerable élan.)

HG went kaput for good in 2007 and is missed. A Google search for the HG archives leads directly to Architectural Digest. This is a publication that elicits a loathing in me totally out of proportion to its actual existence/importance in the world-at-large. The source of this disgust is a I'll find out that a friend just went to work for them. Or something.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Polka Dot Peek

Another one running around the house...causing I really going to do this?

[photograph from Holga {Paint with your Holga and shoot from the heart} via we heart it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Flowers from England

"This is such a charming item - it's a little table-cloth hand embroidered with a scattering of bright flowers....The cloth itself is a fairly fine cotton ...and the embroidery is done in a mixture of embroidery cottons and some wool in stem stitch, satin stitch, french knots, blanket stitch, chain stitch - possibly some others I don't know - and a bit of couching in the middle..."-from Made4Aid.

A few weeks ago, I successfully bid for this lovely tablecloth at Made4Aid. Sally of the Lettuce-eating blog & other like-minded souls had a great idea. Artisans & artists around the world contribute items for auction & proceeds are donated to the World Food Programme in Darfur (for their first project). Many items are made from recycled materials &/or use vintage textiles. It could not be easier to bid & complete the transaction. The starting bids on the most wonderful items are very reasonable; the shipping is also quite low. I recommend a visit -- something is sure to pique your interest. (Today, there are beautiful cards for sale to anyone. No bidding necessary.) Of course, you can donate any amount without purchasing a thing.

I'm so very grateful to Mme Lettuce & her compatriots for their efforts & for linking to Darfur Peace & Development Organization (DPDO) in their recent update.

Thank you Made4Aid!

[The photographs are via Made4Aid/used with permission; Made4Aid is a registered member of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, membership number 11190. For more information, please visit their website.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Summer Soup, Menton

A quick & wonderful soup that I make a lot. This is a tweaked post from last August (2008) on Giulia Geranium. While I have since acquired a new blender, I remain camera-less (save a disposable), & so yes, this is a scan of a basil sprig. What can I say? Last summer I was a bit stir-crazy. Enjoy & think of Julia Child as her birthday was yesterday (August 15). Ciao!

Soup Menton

This is an excellent summer soup that allows you to take full advantage of your garden (or the farmer’s market). A few shelled peas or several tiny cauliflower flowerettes may be added to it.

8 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely minced
1-pound fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded
2 cups new potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 cups young green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 small zucchini, cut into cubes
½ cup broken-up spaghetti*
1-cup fresh basil leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmeggiano cheese (if you don’t have fresh, leave it out, you’ll live)
3 egg yolks (optional, but see note below)

1. In a large casserole heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and cook without browning for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, & beans. Season with salt & pepper & cover with 6 to 8 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil & reduce the heat. Simmer the soup partially covered for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender.

3. Add the zucchini & spaghetti and continue simmering the soup for 12 to 15 minutes more or until all the vegetables are tender. Do not overcook. The soup must retain its freshness.

4. While the soup is simmering, combine the basil, garlic, & parmeggiano in a blender. Add enough of the remaining olive oil to make a smooth paste. You will need about 5 tablespoons.

5. Just before serving (off the heat), whisk the basil paste into the soup. Correct the seasoning & serve.

For a more refined soup, mix the egg yolks with a little more of the broth, & whisk the egg-yolk mixture into the soup. In this case, the soup must not come to a boil again or the yolks will curdle.

A firm tomato, peeled, seeded & cut into tiny cubes, is a lovely addition to the soup just before serving. When including peas in the soup, they should be added no more than 5 to 8 minutes before the soup is done. Cauliflower flowerettes can be added together with the zucchini.

©Recipe from Perla Meyers, The Seasonal Kitchen, A Return to Fresh Foods, Vintage Books edition, 1975.

*Remarks. Ahem. This is an old (early 1970s) cookbook & some things might drive the au courant version of a food snob mad, such as breaking up spaghetti & tossing it into a soup. Stop the hissy fits, it’s so unbecoming. Intentional pasta breakage occurs in Italian & French kitchens every day of the week. It is a good way to use those odd bits at the bottom of boxes & such. Just don’t do it when you’re serving pasta as the star.

About the eggs: it makes a divine difference & highly recommended to non-vegans & French-fancy-averse cooks who are chicken (ha!) about it. Still, don’t do it if you aren’t going to use the egg whites for omelettes or soufflés or meringues (freeze them). Egg whites make a fabulous facial masque, by the by. Haven’t done it in years, but I'm fairly sure egg whites haven’t changed. Anyway, the yolks aren’t necessary but do try it at least once to show how open-minded, sophisticated, & non-alarmist you are about eggs-as-lethal weapons.

NOTE: In the sidebar, under Dept. of Travel, Jilly Bennett has two wonderful photo blogs from the South of France. She lives in Menton & the soup post led me to her photography, blogs, & her animal rescue work in France. She's been so very generous in allowing me to use a few photographs on Giulia G's blog. She's featuring a lavender festival in Sainte-Agnès currently--it's a gorgeous series.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Week's End - City That Does Not Sleep

No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one./
I have said it before. --Federico García Lorca/read here.

[WH office at night or 'remind me why I wanted this job anyway' & Edward R. Murrow by Joseph Scherschel/LIFE archives/color photograph via]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Signorina Destiny

"Painted in 1900. This picture was given to the Artists War Fund, in support of British casualties of the Boer War. The girl is drinking a toast to the departing warriors, whose ships can be seen in a mirror in the background. Once again the painter produces a highly attractive female, and moreover one of real flesh and blood, in contrast to the more stylised figures of Edward Burne-Jones, with whom his work is so often compared. The Italian origins of the painter’s art are also apparent."* Painting by John William Waterhouse.

No matter the foregoing, Signorina Destiny has always evoked Venice for me. And curiously, or not, The Wings of the Dove (Henry James). Yes, I'm distracted (slightly) as I wend around & wade through heaps of reading & research; but wanted to post it as it's so very pretty.

[*Image of 'Destiny' & text in italics via a lovely website, maintained by Mr. Alan Do.]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Night 'roo

"Model from Sydney, Australia Loretta North with small kangaroos at the Washington D.C. Australian Embassy during a party given for her and for them. Putting a sick kangaroo to bed."

LIFE photographers must have had a blast in the good old days of big budgets. I hope the 'roo wasn't really sick. Washington was more fun back then, I guess. Keeping kangas in the house is not recommended, surely. (The things one finds in an archive while looking for something else. But of course.) G 'night.

[photograph by Hank Walker, 1952, Washington, DC, LIFE archives]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Girls in Their Summer Dresses

It's so very hot. Perhaps I'll find one more summer dress (on sale). One that assures me it's a dress that does things for me. Well, why would I turn that down? Speaking of advertising, Leslie at Work-in-Progress (lower right sidebar under writers & readers) brought The Women Behind 'Mad Men' from to my attention. I couldn't read the whole thing because it was verging on spilling the end of Season 2. No cable, no show. The Netflix Fairy brought end-of-Season 2 today. And yes, I'm still reading & swimming & yoga-ing (om) & will post regularly & with more juice than lately. Soon. It's hot out, what can I say?

[vintage advert via
myvintagevogue - which is a fabulous website]

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bon Appétit!

The black & white photographs show what le Cordon Bleu looked like when Julia was a student. They're from 1950 but it's close enough. The chef is so cute & French (even though he's waving an unfortunate eel in the air). I forget his name & am too rushed (OK, lazy) to look it up in my copy of My Life in France. Off to see the film today.

Ciao & happy Sunday wherever you are...

[photographs of le Cordon Bleu (& the unfortunate, anonymous eel) by Mark Kauffman, 1950 via LIFE archives; Julia's kitchen at the Smithsonian/National Museum of American History by F. Deventhal via Wikipedia. He has a flickr steam but Feedburner is screeching at too many links. Sigh. Here's the html:]

Friday, August 7, 2009

Week's End - Totally Mad, Man

Not since the dawn of time has America experienced a man like Howard Beale! - the tagline from Network.

Update, Saturday, 22 May 2010: Almost a year later, & the situation gets madder & madder: Rand Paul. Glenn Beck predicts that soon the President will pee on us, or is..I can't look too closely, but you can at The Political Carnival.

The good news is my hair looks better than Faye Dunaway's (above). The bad news is that CNN seems to be imploding. [see: Dobbs, Lou] It stuns me that people I knew/know are working there. They don't like it either but hey, a job is a job right now. As is pointed out below, the mainstream media (of which I was a modest part) allows this garbage spewing. I recommend the article below. Especially if you are GOP-inclined. Then I would go save my party if I were you.

Another more pleasant topic... if you're looking for a good read, try the late Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen. It's next on my re-reading list. A few days ago I recommended some cooking/memoir books & realized that I hadn't revisited Colwin or M.F.K. Fisher in a coon's age--as Julia C. would exclaim.

And now to the Totally Mad part...
A few lines from Think Progress by Eric Alterman, The Mainstream Media Opens the Door to Hate & link...

...History demonstrates what a mistake it can be to treat a crazy fringe as merely that—particularly one with unfettered access to its audience and little sense of responsibility to distinguish between truth and fiction.

How else do you explain the fact that presently, according to a Research 2000 survey, nearly 60 percent of Republicans questioned were unsure if Barack Obama..".read the rest, here. And then weep.

[photograph of Faye Dunaway & Steve McQueen by Bill Ray, LIFE archives; remaining photographs by Network still photographer, Michael Ginsburg]

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Catherine in Black & White

Where I am. (No not in Paris with Catherine Deneuve. I really must get a camera.) I dare not go outside until the trip across town on the Metro. Wearing big sunglasses, I will pretend I don't speak English in response to someone calling my name. Because absolutely, at least 5 people whom I do not want to see will appear as if by (evil) magic...right in my path. When I leave the salon, I won't run into a soul I know. (Is that woman writing or working on anything...or is she just randomly posting photographs? I am, I am. But I'm also reading. You have to read to write. Really.)


[photographs of Catherine Deneuve, Loomis Dean, 1961, LIFE archives]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Naomi LIFE. I was hoping for posts in some of the style & fashion blogs I link to & otherwise read but except for My Inner French Girl (In Memory of Chic, Naomi Sims, 1948-2009), I haven't seen them. I'm really disappointed. So from one girl who grew up in Pittsburgh to another, rest in peace Naomi. Much too early.

Here is a link to Naomi Sims Retrospective which has been set up for remembrances & posts. Funeral services will be in New York tomorrow (6 August).

[photograph by Yale Joel, October 17, 1969, LIFE archives]

Pool Party

My vintage postcard collection contains several Mainzer cat cards. Here's the website...when I bought them about 20 years ago, I had no idea what they were except that they were hilarious. I laughed out loud when I saw this in My Pictures just now; before I delete it, I'll post it. (These have scalloped edges that don't come out very well in the scans.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Esther in Black & White

Off to renew my commitment to the swimming pool tomorrow. It'll be little old ladies & me, mostly. (Thank gawd.) Will report back on their willingness to dance about in the pool at my command.

[Esther Williams by Peter Stackpole/LIFE archives]