Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Museum Goer

Prepare to gag, personnes unfamiliar with Giulia Geranium. That's where I get my twee on. I keep hearing from others who are under-the-weather & beyond. this week. I share your pain; feel better, take good care. I like these photographs & there are some posts over at GG about Phillips Collection love. (For the uninitiated, it's a lovely little museum in DC; its influence is larger than its size. Sort of like The New Yorker's base subscription level. God, I'm a wonk. Shriek.) So the conceit is that I am GG's editor & complete servant. She wants to go to the Phillips & start a salon in the café. If I type more, I'll chicken out. So for those who were subjected to this yesterday, all apologies. (But really--what were you thinking falling for this nonsense, twice?)

Tuesday at the Phillips with GG

is having a righteous rumpus. Her feline heart is
set on becoming a patroness of the arts, particularly at the Phillips Collection. The day may come when we'll have to rent the café & throw her a big party.
The Phillips Collection was voted Washington's best museum AND art gallery by City Paper readers recently. Some young'uns--the hordes of mid-20s-30ish folks recently descended upon our city--think they discovered it. Au contraire, nos amis. (Though we're happy to have you on board.)

The Phillips was a hang-out for GG's editor when she was still an official teenager, recently returned from France. "Meet you under the Matisse" meant she could be found sitting on a lumpy bottle-green velvet sofa in the music room (under a Matisse). We'd love to see GG sleeping on that sofa; we miss it terribly--including the lumps. The jewel-box space has become too manicured for our taste; but like an old friend--you still love them, even with (too much) Botox.

Some favorite paintings at the Collection are by Bonnard.
Above, The Palm & La Côte d'Azur, respectively. The museum goer (looking just like GG's editor) is by Nina Leen. She's trying to divine from an egg-shaped objet d'art, "What will the Easter Bunny bring GG?"

ciao-meow/GG's art curator & party planner

[Bonnard images via & Nina Leen photograph via LIFE archives]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Battle Lost

Van Gogh's Prayer by János Pilinszky (originally published in Poetry, March 2008)

A battle lost in the cornfields
and in the sky a victory.
Birds, the sun and birds again.
By night, what will be left of me?

By night, only a row of lamps,
a wall of yellow clay that shines,
and down the garden, through the trees,
like candles in a row, the of poem, here.

It might seem unfair, that title, as it is Van Gogh's birthday,'s my blog. Such as it is. Hazel at the Clever Pup has a nice tribute today.

[the first of 3(versions) La chambre de Van Gogh à Arles in VG museum/Amsterdam via French wikipedia; Rami di mandorlo in fiore/Amandier en fleurs is a postcard via my old scanner. Update, nope. Here is a much better link via Arianna at Wikimedia Commons.]

Monday, March 29, 2010

Satellite Dishes

Phftt. Bombs in Moscow. "Tea parties." Listening to a favorite WAMU-FM (NPR) show & two Maryland /DC TP-ers. OK, bravo, for having them on to expose their lunacy. I can just predict it: I'll bite through my mouthguard tonight (again).

I have nothing (that I can write here). Please consider going to Giulia Geranium (Julie the Cat's blog) & clicking some do-gooder links over there.

These pix cracked me up a few weeks ago--LIFE Archives. It's not the era I'm researching, so I don't remember why these popped up. Probably because I love Nina Leen photographs. Did anyone's mother (or did you, do you?) wear these? My mother was more a pencil skirt person. She was a dish, though. (As we were always told. Endlessly. I'm not bitter.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Little Italian Mouse

Whaddya mean you love Topo Gigio? Socialist!

[Jean Seberg & non-Italian mouse from The Mouse That Roared, here.]

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week's End - Beneath the Sun

When you see me
Fly away without you
Shadow on the things you know
Feathers fall around you
And show you the way to go
It's over, it's over.-Birds, After the Gold Rush

Yes, I will stop with the songs & photographs that don't seem to go at all. Soon. It's a self-imposed pressure. And another gust of wind (metaphorically) just about blew me over. Back with silliness (I hope) on the weekend.

Beautiful photograph by English writer/photographer Susannah Conway. Visit her at Ink on My Fingers.]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Wind Blows

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows...Subterranean Homesick Blues

It nearly blew me right off my feet. The wind is howling, though it could be the shrieks of villagers with pitchforks & torches.

Good night!

[Photograph via bohemea ]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gregory in Black & White

Distressed that racial epithets were hurled at civil rights hero John Lewis & others over the weekend. It stings, it really does. Also homophobic (to be polite about it) screams at Congressman Barney Frank. It's at times like these I clutch my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird & re-order the film from the Netflix Fairy. I saw a dreadful production at Ford's Theatre years was worth seeing for the sake of the young sons of my then-boyfriend (hate that word). These children were (are) biracial as are some of my family members. Their racist grandmother took us to the play; that was one weird day.

Gregory Peck was a card-carrying, proud liberal, too; that makes the film that much sweeter. And did you know he became a friend of Bob Dylan? Yep. Because of Brownsville Girl. When Dylan received the Kennedy Center Honor, he asked Peck (along with Springsteen) to be part of the festivities. Here's the Peck-narrated video.

It's gonna be a long haul.

[photographs via; alt film guide]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Through the Keyhole

A thrilling sight, especially in person: keyhole arches in Islamic architecture. I've been to Kairouan (Tunisia) but certainly my photographs are nothing compared to the one here. (And also, my scanner has decided to act up.) If you go, don't forget your rose flower water!

[Two Marrakesh shots by only alice; the Great Mosque of Kairouan by
Jaume Ollé.]

Hugs for Health

Lining up for their hug from President Obama. The second shot makes me feel great. She worked so hard; you've no idea if you've no idea. To everyone who worked on HRC's health team, especially those who aren't well-known (you know who you are) back in the early 90s, big smooches. It's not over, but it's a gigantic leap. Bravo e brava! Two great shots by White House photographer Pete Souza; from his Health Reform: A Year in Photos flickr set.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Walking the Old City

In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me...-by Mahmoud Darwish

[photograph via we heart it, unattributed from an unidentified tumblr acct. Let me know if it's yours; I'd love a dove hair ornament]

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Three Little Birds

I really do not spend all day & night on YouTube. I've finally rid myself of 300+ cassette tapes (!) with no clear time in sight to replace the music, so...mimph. I can accept only Bob Marley telling me "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing is gonna be all right, " since he knew how bad things can be. Anyone else? Like Oprah (sorry, Opster) & I can fly into a hissy. Usually on behalf of put-upon & suffering populations...anywhere.
I think I'll have to download this song today. Health care vote tonight. Eep. [Update, early Monday, Hoorah. Now don't want to jinx Tuesday Senate vote, so back to bed. Still. Hoorah.]

Lovely birds; top two from Marrakesh by a fave only alice; the third with cool green sky is via Happy Up Here ( via we heart it. I can't find it on the blog. So sorry, Swedish ladies who compile HUH. I tried. (I actually have some photographs of three white, Italian birds walking in front of me - a good omen in Roman times. But I posted it some time ago.)

(Note: The HD video here is superior in quality than the myriad of others available. Annoyingly, it has this dumb "flirt here" thingy that pops up. For this I am sincerely sorry. Ignore it or click it off. I have disabled the cookie.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week's End - The Writing on the Wall

Gorgeous Amsterdam wall. Civilized, eh? So unlike here. Going to the market was like running a gauntlet in edgy & angry Washington. Making phone calls on behalf of the health care bill was enough to make me lose my appetite. Georgetown's shocking NCAA loss has not helped. OK, inside baseball. Uh, basketball. Sheesh. Big sigh & ciao for the weekend. I'll be by to visit....

PS: Don't forget to visit The Plum Plum shop. I received the notebook on Monday--it's so lovely.

[photograph via non-profit City photos]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Moving House

No, I'm not but I am not feeling well & so thoughts turn to hoisting Julie's travel bag onto my shoulder, & taking off for Italy or elsewhere. This video by Isabella so cheered me that I'm posting it here & on
Giulia Geranium (tomorrow). I've watched it several times. The pink suitcase because Tina, The English Muse (Isabella's mum) loves pink & my first real set of grown-up luggage was a gorgeous dark rose color (lined with light pink satin. Pink ribbons ties). The various pieces were left in various parts of the world for various reasons. I imagine they are still quite tough, that pink notwithstanding. Thanks for the lift, Isabella!

[photograph via motley photos, via we heart it]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

She Moved Through the Fair

The Celtic Cat & I raise a toast (a day early) to friends near & far. Here's a favorite song; also The Chieftains' rehearsal of The Foggy Dew video for Long Black Veil (also with O'Connor).

Monday, March 15, 2010


Life was easier when my mother was in charge of my hair (don't tell her, I won't admit it). She was an unabashed admirer of this look. Some mouths dropped as I walked into school after a salon visit. That Halloween, I sported Twiggy fake eyelashes, tights, & a Twiggy long shirt (or short dress); I think it was from England. I wish my mother would look at the computer; she'd love this Twiggy site. It was a lot of fun & it did suit me, that style. I returned to it in the 80s when all that hair was being permed...ugh. Not for me. There was a French Elle (there was no other Elle at the time) with a great short cut on the cover--that was it. People nearly passed out when they saw me on a Monday.

I became increasingly self-conscious as the day wore on. People kept walking into my academic department & gasped. Really gasping. I was growing annoyed & touchy with these doltish Americans (yes, I am one). Even "free spirits" said, "Oh but your beautiful hair...." Finally, a professor known for his contentiousness & barbed remarks walked in. I thought, I will scream [expletive deleted] if he says one damn thing. He considered me for just a moment & tilted his head, & said, "Wow. Jean Seberg. Breathless. Wow. Good for you." Turned on his heel & left. No one said another word.

[images via Just Covers/tumblr & the black & white via here.]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week's End - The Plum Plum

It is a very plum plum.. -Count Laszlo de Almásy, The English Patient (film/screenplay).

As soon as I read that Toronto's Hazel Smith of The Clever Pup had opened an etsy shop, I clicked over to The Plum Plum. Familiar with Hazel's paintings from her charming blog, I was delighted to see some reproduced on paper goods. So far, there are a couple of journals, sepia postcards, & The Plum Tarts.

The latter are Hazel's marvellously evocative paintings of les femmes fatales & artist's models of the 1920s Paris art scene. Now they grace blank note cards (glossy card stock/4.25 x 5.5 inches with white envelopes) in a set of four (or separately). These are high-quality, well-priced cards. I ordered a set o' Tarts & two Marie cards. Problem: how to allow the cards go, to fulfill their destiny. Solution: I've ordered the Marie notebook & look forward to showing it off at the Phillips Collection café soon. I'm convinced that it will add to my aura of mystery & general savoir-faire. (Allow me my delusion-illusions.)

The Plum Plum is la crème de la crème. Well done & congratulations to Hazel. Now, let's keep her busy!

bonne nuit/bon week-end

[collage images by Hazel Smith/The Plum Plum/all rights reserved]

Worlds Collide Warning - World Day Against Cyber Censorship

Oh I'm late with this...Italian friends say. I ask you. What's more Italian than being late? OK, great food, clothes, style. I'm in trouble no matter what I type now. It's World Day Against Cyber Censorship. Great good feelings go out to those in Iran, China (& elsewhere) who are imprisoned or in hiding. Here's Amnesty International link, too.

The second photograph is by Susannah Conway of Ink on My Fingers & sums up what's happening here now. (Along with azure chandelier longings.)

Week's End late tonight...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mediterranean Makeover

Hmmm. [photographs via everything turquoise; only alice; Life in Italy;;; moi]

At the Market

How easily happiness begins by
dicing onions. A lump of sweet butter
slithers and swirls across the floor
of the sauté pan, especially if its
errant path crosses a tiny slick
of olive oil. Then a tumble of onions...-William Matthews

The first stanza of Onions. Read it, do. Then, if like me you have a lot of lentils & rice (all kinds) on hand, it's hard to beat Marcella Hazan's Zuppa di lenticchie. The lentil love link is to Champaign Taste, an excellent food blog & since Lisa typed it out all pretty, why do it over? If you're a vegetarian, leave out the pancetta & use water or vegetable broth. If you're vegan, leave out the parmesan, too. No problem. But I beg you--spend the extra money on San Marzano tomatoes. Yes, it really does make a difference.

The photograph is by fave Giampaolo Macorig who was in a Roman market recently. Look at all those rices, grains, & legumes. It's going to rain cats & dogs here off to make soup.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Claudia in Black & White

Did you know that bella (& smart) Claudia was born in Tunisia (of Sicilian parents)? Here's a good link to a UK site--a Tribute to Claudia Cardinale. Much, much better photographs than here. I like the one of her on a Roman street (left in collage); it's so familiar. She has a book called "My Tunisia." Alas, I cannot find it (yet). Ciao.

[the large photographs by Paul Schutzer/
Rome, 1961/LIFE archives; the others are via we heart it, from Femenino plural & por FactoryGirl photography/tumblr; pASTelgIRL/flickr]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

L'eau de Rose/Rosewater

I use a lot of rosewater (in food & otherwise). The last photograph of the Jordanian desert will illustrate why rosewater became essential to my well-being when living there. (OK, not in the desert but working on a dig, it's much the same thing.) It's an affordable tonic.

[photographs from lovely sfgirlbybay; your life, it seems extravagant/tumblr; dizrthymia/tumblr; all via we heart it; Jordanian desert from The Real Israel blog on Wordpress.]

Jerusalem in Sepia

[The Real Israel blog; unfortunately, inactive]

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Flower Clouds

[image via random thoughts/tumblr, via we heart it)

Meet Me on the Bridge

Last year's GG image & a video. It's that kind of day. And yes, I will be on a bridge, so meet us there if you are here. (It's a Zen thing.) For those overseas, hope you are having a wonderful day. (Next year in Rome...) For a little fun, check in with Michelle at
Bleeding Espresso.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week's End - Reds

Even though I'm rereading Keats, I have been preoccupied with WWI (& the Russian Revolution). The Sepia Saturday peeps & the Netflix Fairy are to blame. Equally. (Also, cleaning. Because John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World fell off a shelf & so there you are. Can I blame Warren Beatty, too?) Julie the Cat just purged me from the house finances committee. Uh oh.

[photographs via New York Times & Alt Film Coote, uncredited still photographer/

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ballet Shoe High-Wire Act

While I rush about (good luck to me) is a photograph by only alice from a recent holiday in Barcelona. If you click on the photo (better yet, click through to the original photo), you'll see the ballet shoes. The question is...what are they doing there?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Moroccan Aqua

I love only alice's Marrakesh flickr set (no kidding). Looking through about a thousand magazines (before recycling) for the color for bedroom curtains. Looking at a Bonnard print against the terracotta paint, I nearly flicked my own forehead: the sea. It's only been on the wall for, oh, 15+ years. This will remind me: stop trying to blend in. [Update - yes, I do know how to spell 'Morocco'. Abject apologies to Moroccans.]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Giochi per gatti di casa

Giochi per gatti di casa (Games for house cats) by Rita Persichini was a gift from our friend Maria Caterina di Perugia. These are some of the darling original illustrations by Lorena Dominici in a little Picasa collage. (The second collage is here.) I've tried & tried to track these folks down for permission. Zip (so far).

The book is propped up on a bookshelf..not that many people notice; there's quite a mash-up on those shelves. The bookcases themselves compete for wall space. Julie was showing off a while ago when there was a knock on the door; now she's sleeping off the effort. Today, I'm having a mash-up of zee brain--but I wanted to get March started already (on this blog). Plus, Keats loved cats,'s all related, right? (It is reported that Keats rarely got into physical fights; but he had quite the dust-up with a butcher's son who was bullying a kitten. Julie swooned when she heard this anecdote.)