Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Plage de temps

To make a 'beach of time' - as in carving out much-needed restorative time to be...it needn't be at a beach or near water of any sort. Or more than 10 minutes, perhaps. It's a saying. So brilliant those French (don't tell them I said so, though). [Olga's umbrellas, same as on GG on Holiday] ciao.

Update - Monday evening, 5 July 2010. It is over 100-freaking-Fahrenheit degrees. In some places near here it was 108F. At a certain point, however, over 100, it's damn hot. Worse to follow this week. The ocean was lovely but a distant memory & it's not been a week yet. So. Perhaps people will hop over to Julie's site & click some worthy links. Oof.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon

"In 1897, Henry James leased Lamb House, a villa in Sussex. He bought it a few years later and lived there until his death in 1916. One of his frequent visitors was his close friend the novelist Edith Wharton. In A Backward Glance(1934), Edith Wharton wrote about a day trip with Henry James to Bodiam Castle, near Lamb House: "Tranquil white clouds hung above it in a windless sky, and the silence and solitude were complete as we sat looking across at the crumbling towers, and at their reflection in a moat starred with water-lilies, and danced over by great blue dragonflies. For a long time no one spoke; then James turned to me and said solemnly: 'Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.'"' The Writer's Almanac, June 24, 2010

The 100+ (F) heat & sudden downpours (& power outages) continue, but the weather is to take a turn towards the fair & unusually clear the next few days here in DC (& beaches). So it may well be that the inn where I'm headed, ruled over by a benevolent Englishwoman, will indeed be rather England-in-the best-of-weather. And I didn't even have to buy a plane ticket.

This is an excuse to post a Walter Crane illustration - I use many on Julie's blog. It's titled Spring, but I think it's summery. Since when do marguerites bloom in the spring in England (or here)? Poor confused man. [second illustration is via here & is not Crane but it suits my whim.]

Juliet & Giulia

Yesterday, I worried that I would have to walk on the beach in my long white nightgown (if the gigantic gauze bandage idea doesn't work out). Today, I have many errands & writing "The Care & Feeding of Julie" for my friend Susan, who valiantly volunteered to stay here while I'm away. I won't be away long. It's that Julie (aka Giulia, Giulietta) has always been with me wherever I go. Susan asked me, "What can I do so that you will go away & not worry?" She has so many things to do & places she has to be in the next days/months. But she still wanted to help the drama queen sitting across the conference table. Gulp.

Earlier that day, the subject of a Romeo & Juliet film came up--not sure how. Susan reached into the air, snapping her fingers, oh I love the one, I haven't seen it in so long, by by by & I said, "Oh, Franco Zeffirelli's. He's an opera director, too." (I'm trying to ignore that he joined the Forza Italia party--ugh. Let's hope he sees the error of his ways.) Olivia Hussey inspired me to grow my hair (very long) & as often happens, drama turned to comedy.

A few years later, I returned from France with headaches. Many doctor visits, tests.
Diagnosis: this girl's hair is too long & heavy. She's rather small, how does she hold her head up? (Well, that was unnecessary, Il Signore Dottore. Harumph.) Remedy: Off with her hair. I wanted to shriek, but all the boys love my hair. No, I would never have said it. I was stoic.

Today, quite by coincidence, one of my best blog friends, the inimitable Tina Tarnoff has posted "My Favorite Juliet" Some of you know about the Sylvie Guillem ballerina papercut Tina sent as a surprise last holiday time. Also, her husband Terry Tarnoff has a fascinating account of his years as an expatriate, here. Terry is at work on a new novel, set in 1948; Tina is helping with research & is coming up with fabulous images. And entertaining the rest of us, too. What a pair (but not tragic, thank goodness)!

Mille grazie & baci to Susan for looking after my Giulietta.

PS: That lovely, beautiful boy who played Romeo, Leonard Whiting, is so often ignored. That's not nice; here's a fansite for both of them that passes the no-pop up/spam test (according to McAfee).

[photograph via an unidentified tumblr/we heart it]

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Shopping - Of Swim Suits, Kaftans, & Muu-muu-ness

As I am a water baby, I have several swim suits. I can't find a photograph of my two favorites--a navy & white polka-dot maillot & a black & white dotted halter with short swimming skirt (no, I had nothing to hide when I bought it in, of all places, a tiny chic shop in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on some road trip or other). Before you think, oh what a bore (about bathing suits anyway), so many people stopped me on a trip to Greece about those suits that it was weird. It isn't always easy, finding that simple well-made something. I tried to help. This also happens with hats; again, I help or try to. I do not say, Oh I couldn't possibly remember or It was a gift. (Unless, indeed, it was.) That's so mean-spirited.

What I
really need as I cannot wear these suits, currently, is a caftan/kaftan. À la Elizabeth Taylor when she had "the chubbies." Gawd. It's too late to order one /shop for one --it's 100+ degrees out; it's too late to sew one. So indulging self in vintage bathing suit pix, & a few kaftans, links.

Little Augury has a particularly pretty kaftan love post from last summer (including modern & vintage photographs).
If only I'd seen her post a month ago. You'll enjoy nosing about her blog. Also, Sasha at Liberty London Girl (always interesting & fun), recently posted on Tallulah & Hope silk kaftans. I just cannot afford these but it's nice to look. With my background in the Maghreb & Middle East & rest of the Mediterranean-bleeping-Basin, one would think I'd have an emergency kaftan on hand. (I gave a good one away some years back.)

Muu-muus, anyone? I called every garment my stylish grandmother put on (after proper company left) a "muu muu." She did not correct me as it was the "moooo" sound that I so wanted to use. (I mean no disrespect to Hawaiians. Some friends sport those prints fabulously. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I'm too small to wear them well, no matter what my weight. I did not realize the possibility of the toned-down muu muu before today. )

On the way to the beach, I might buy a half-bolt of gauzy fabric & wrap self in it. A gigantic bandage sitting under a large market umbrella, that could be me. (I'm too young to be terribly eccentric! What will my excuse be later on in life?) Otherwise, as the sun sets on those off to drinks-before-dinner, I'll be patrolling the shore in a long white nightgown. I think that's the hour when the first victim became dinner in "Jaws." Uh oh.

[some images via myvintagevogue (the website is looking spectacular); some via LIFE Archives; & Elizabeth & Richard by the great Henry Clark via Retro Vintage Mod Style]

Friday, June 25, 2010

Week's End - Be Cheeky

Like this duo. Will be back before I take off. Huh? It's been that sort of day. Hence, silly photograph. Ciao from Julie the Cat's abode. (Take a look at her week's end, Très Charmant - Hanna Rides to the Sea.. I'm trying to convince people that the video I posted here is darling. It is.) Now, I must go; I have a date with Richard Burton.

[a coupla kitties via obscure objects tumblr]

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This Bird Has Flown

These are the days when Birds come back—
A very few—a Bird or two—
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies resume
The old—old sophistries of June—
A blue and gold mistake...Emily Dickinson.

[images via Holga {Paint with your and shoot from the heart}; close your eyes, open your mind tumblr; without melissa tumblr; olivewoodgift(dot)com]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Swedish Midsummer Mystery

I love this photograph by Olga, taken in Sweden. It brings to mind an Inspector Wallander book (& PBS series with a brilliant turn by Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander) & waving fields of golden-yellow flowers...on a midsummer's eve.* The series is shot in a rarely-seen part of Sweden & it's beautiful, wistful, melancholy, tortured, etc. So of course, I love it. (When you're finished reading Stieg Larrson's (sadly) final book, check out Henning Mankell's series, if you've not already done so.)

Speaking of Sweden, Anne's Food, written by Anne (surprise) in Stockholm has excellent (impressively organized) easy-to-print recipes & wonderful photographs. Mother to an adorable baby boy, Titus, who made the scene in May 2009. She has cats. Her profession is "political secretary." All very intriguing & I've only had 3 years to find out more. Here are Anne's labels for 'midsummer'; it may be too late to bake/make anything now...but who says you can't do it later? Don't get into too much trouble tonight.

*Depending on where you are (sorry Antipodean friends, for being so Northern-centric).

[second image via
Jane Austen's World - also a wonderful blog. I know. You're thinking, wha??? What's that got to do with Jane Austen. Well, go visit & find out!]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Le Regard Bleu/The Blue Look

Une Histoire de Bleu / From A Story of Blue by Jean-Michel Maulpoix [From Poetry, October 2000]

Nous connaissons par ouï-dire l'existence de l'amour.

Assis sur un rocher ou sous un parasol rouge, allongés dans le pré bourdonnant d'insectes, les deux mains sous la nuque, agenouillés dans la fraîcheur et l'obscurité d'une église, ou tassés sur une chaise de paille entre les quatre murs de la chambre/

We know through hearsay that love exists.

Seated on a rock or under a red parasol, lying in the field buzzing with insects, our hands clasped behind our necks, kneeling in the cool darkness of a church, or settled on a straw chair within the four walls of the bedroom/

Four walls of bedrooms (chambres) via Marie Claire Maison. Yes, still looking at these (& rewriting). I loved this prose poem in the October 2000 Poetry & still do. It fell off the shelf today & so it's come to this: books or journals that fall on my feet (or head) due to lack of housekeeping (or space), that's a post. That's what happens with writing, as well. It's not as dumb as it sounds or seems. (She said to herself.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moreau Making Waves

The Ocean On Bicycles from runrobot on Vimeo.

As long as you don't make waves, ripples, life seems easy. But that's condemning yourself to impotence and death before you are dead.
Jeanne Moreau

Lovely little film, The Ocean on Bicycles: A Gray Afternoon in June via Cycle Chic - The Original from Copenhagen. Here is Roger Ebert review of Jules et Jim ( 1962), many years later (in 2004). I may burst before I get to the sea (soon). I hope to have the energy to cycle at least one loop around a wildlife refuge. I'll try. In my Breton stripes, of course. Update - click through to the vimeo site above to see a larger version of the video.

[photographs by Raymond Cauchetier, uncredited still photographer; also Douglas Kirkland]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

La Grotta Azzurra

Here's an article I missed when first published in The Guardian, about a favorite writer, Shirley Hazzard, who is (or was in 2006) living part-time in Italy (again). This time on Capri. It's always been the south for her & her late genius husband, Francis Steegmuller, another favorite. For that alone--diluting the Tuscany-festish--I salute them. Hazzard's memoir Greene on Capri is compressed & in crystalline prose, as always. The photochrom travel series from the Library of Congress is lovely & public domain, so give it a visit & post some of their images if it suits. There are two images on Julie's site today from Capri, as well. A hat tip to the LOC; their blog is in the right sidebar under writers, readers.

No hat tip to the Azzurri - they couldn't stop an admittedly terrific & determined Kiwi team. Congratulations to friends in Welly. I'm making myself sick by being such a good sport. In fact, I am not very well & will be putting up a postal break soon. Cheers.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Week's End - Down By the River

The war is over & there are bathing fashion shots in 1947 France. Nina Leen for LIFE. Yes, I know what the song is about, so I'm not putting in the lyric. I still like it though--wouldn't do for me to ignore the dark side of things. Though, rather mean remarks in e-mail & non-published comments indicate, nay, insist I should. Back with cheerfulness (or something like it) later. But no pink unicorns. (If you like them, fine, I've nothing against unicorns, pink or blue...). Cheers.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Can't Find My Way Home

Steve Winwood. Someone asked me yesterday who I'd seen in concert the most times. I answered quickly, Bruce Springsteen. The first time in a union hall (yes) when I was very young. On my way home today, arriving here only due to an end-of-the-line train & muscle memory, I realized the borrowed-indefinitely-iPod (but the music is mine) was playing over & over & over Blind Faith's original version of above. SW's membership in several groups at such an early age & the fact that I went to concerts (alone if necessary) when I was quite a baby face, too, means it was Steve I saw in concert more than any other person. (Well, it matters to me. I don't know why.)

I decided to see what Steve was up to. Well, well. A new BBC Documentary & Concert was announced recently & it will be on tomorrow night. Jealous North Americans have been assured that a video stream is in the works. The excellent SW official site, & a bit blurry but good video shot by a guy at the Academy of Music in Milan in 2008. It was meant to be.

[images via www.stevewinwood.com]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bloomsday Wedding

In your pink wool knitted dress / Before anything had smudged anything / You stood at the altar. Bloomsday--Ted Hughes

I've been writing a remembrance of the only Molly Bloom (to me), Siobhán McKenna. Difficult to edit in time, though, & I want to post a photograph. So I thought, yes, well this will do nicely--a 54-year anniversary. I don't think of it as a failed marriage, actually. Wanted to link to the Hughes poem but it is not an easy task to find one without the requisite "He killed her" business. Then we get to the matter of photographs; same unsavory stuff. There is not a photograph--or if there is I don't remember & am too lazy to look through my bookshelves. The one that stands in on many websites is actually from a Paris honeymoon, before a Spanish summer (about which Plath wrote vividly in her notebooks, including good sketches/drawings.) This chandelier looks very celebratory out there in what I think of as a meadow, edged with darker woods.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out whether or not to take Julie to the beach overnight (soon). This is a sudden & welcome question & possibility.

[chandelier by Leigh Miller Photography via we heart it ]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the Phone - Charmed, I'm Sure

I will call, just a moment. Keep repeating to self: Go to the party, you idiot cow. What is wrong with you?" Oh, I should be kinder to self? As in, I never speak to people the way I speak to myself. Right. What could be so scary? You've done this most of your life. Why didn't I read the book beforehand? Shall not pretend to have done so. Shall remain calm in manner of Bridget...oh no, that wasn't charming. Funny, yes. Goal: no funny business (tonight). Especially no unintentional slapstick. No, you absolutely cannot go in nightgown & ballet slippers. Only maniacs, people under 20, & Julian Schnabel wear their pajamas at public events.


[images of AH (except AH reading book) via Lia Chang's Backstage Pass blog. A new-to-me scanner/printer sits just where it did more than 2 weeks ago when a friend dropped it off. Of course it does. AH reading book by Mark Shaw; in pjs, by Alfred Eisenstaedt, both via LIFE Archives]

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red, Seeing Red, Red Room

Last evening, John Logan's play Red about artist Mark Rothko & his young assistant won the Tony Award for Best Play. Hoorah. In addition, I am seeing red about things of which I cannot speak, much less write. So. Red.

The Phillips Collection played host to actors Alfred Molina (genuis!) & Eddie Redmayne in March before the New York opening. (As did the National Gallery, but I am partial to the Phillips--where nothing bad can happen to you; it's not allowed.) Congratulations to Redmayne for his first Tony as Featured Actor in a Play.

The Washington Post article was exceptionally good, considering the downfall of the Post. There's a good image gallery & insight into Molina's (& Redmayne's) preparation. I adore Molina, so I did not have a jealous twinge that the pair had the Phillips & the famous Rothko Room to themselves. The Collection is closed on Mondays; the only day off for the actors is...Monday.

Speaking about color, Italia v Paraguay: Azzurri!

[Orange and Red on Red, 1957/The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. via www.beyler(dot)com; the second photograph is via The Clever Pup, who has a brief post involving John Donne...& it's funny. So you see, you must go. Alas it is not her bedroom but the image can be found here.]

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week's End - Possibilities

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.--Herodotus

Go US v. England, today at 2pm EDT. (Well, we won in 1950, I hear. I wasn't born yet.) Go Azzurri on Monday. I saw the Italians play Mexico in the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals here in Washington, DC. I still have my l'il plastic Il Tricolore. Yes, it is possible to be a romantic & love sport. I am aware of the corporate-hyena stuff, spare me. You must understand that I look at these events through the prism of my Western classical academic training. Ahem. And it is stress relief of the first order.

Speaking of stress relief...American ex-pat in Italia, Michelle Fabio of Bleeding Espresso (visit her!) posted this hilarious Daily Show clip from Thursday's show on Facebook. John Oliver is just determined to undermine the Americans on behalf of the Brits. (It's funny whether you like football/soccer - or not.)

[photograph - a rugby footballer kissing his wife (or girlfriend) by the wonderful Australian photographer Sam Hood, 1934]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Taking Off

A Great egret taking off. I'd like to grab hold & go with him. Alas, eh. I'm running late. I thought today was Thursday until late last night. If that makes any sense. Friend awaits, I'm wearing a new Liberty of London via Target top & worry that I look like an over-sized cupcake (or a chubby peacock). Here's Naomi Watts wearing it in Elle & here's the link to order if any are left. I await one more item; I ordered in early March but they've just restocked.

Update: GOAL! South Africa scored the first goal of the World Cup a few moments ago. I care, that's who. And Univision is coming in clearly, learning sports Spanish, excellent. (No cable.)
So, real stuff later. [image via Birds of Assateague.]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hardwired for Blue

I am, that's for sure. Here are some random images with/of blue from a folder; but not the monochromes of Yves Klein, currently on exhibition in Washington, DC at the Hirshhorn. Here are two related Washington Post articles (with illustrations) about Yves Klein, his blue, & other blues. I am beyond tired...so I look at blue(s). It's not even a choice, really. I'm waiting for the crowds to clear out (ha) before I go to the exhibit.

I was going to put in links to tumblr & other image sites using blue hues...wow. Too many to check out tonight. Read up on Yves & yes, I know the top shot has a lot of violet in it.

[images backward (!): sunbrella by Olga; blue (with green) room, blue window, gull take-off, & diptych on deviant art, via we heart it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Baroque Brain (Breathe II)

The afternoon before I had lain across
my bed and my cat leapt up to lie
alongside me, purring and slowly
growing dozy. By this ritual I could/ clear some clutter from my baroque brain...
The Cloisters
, Wm. Matthews, greatly missed.

I must have 100+ images of (North African/Levantine baroque) bedrooms but not for tonight. This is from the Verhext tumblr; marvellous San Francisco artist Tina Tarnoff of Thought Patterns has a post using images from this site. I highly recommend a visit to Pleasure.

Off to the virtual Libyan desert tomorrow for more basket magic. If only he would...hold that thought.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I just like it, that's all. And it's an unusually cool night & I took down the curtains except for the ones like these. (Sleep mask, that's how. Or drugs. Legal! If only the ocean were this close.)

[photograph by jane flanagan, via we heart it]

That's Richard & Elizabeth to You

& me. Not Liz & Dick! Some of Richard Burton's love letters to Elizabeth Taylor are in the July 2010 Vanity Fair. This is not news, I know. I look forward to receiving my copy; yes, I take it, don't judge! (With the hideous images, descriptions of human rights abuses I have to read & gaze upon...eye candy is what I need, baby.) When there is a highly-publicized VF cover, sometimes it does not arrive in my mailbox. (Grace Kelly arrived in May, so I have hope.) Monday night update: nope not here; it's on the stands. Hmmm.

I can't believe I'm posting these but the couple loomed large when I was little. Anyway, the "Liz & Dick," "Dick & Liz" is annoying. When one is preoccupied with more important matters, small things can grate. So that's my excuse to post photographs of them. (Yes, of course it's also because Burton was Welsh.)

Very few images are attributed, oddly. Some of the black & white are by Gjon Mili in LIFE archives; the others are from The Burtons - a tumblr blog. It's fun, pay a visit. And though there's a super-mushy song playing behind it, here's a well-done, high quality YouTube tribute to E&R. Very clear & beautiful photographs, many I'd not seen before. So on a June Monday, have a little fun.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Shopping - Sailor Stripes

I hate to see people taken advantage of. Ending on a preposition & I do not care. My mother dressed me in these (& sailor collars) from about 3 weeks old - yes, I remember. Late last night, I flipped through a J. Crew catalogue; they've been pestering me with their 20% off emails (one offer ends today - I shall let it go, please read on). In one scenario, a stick-insect girl (not like egret-girl--there is a difference) dripping in frippery. Twisted behind her, a suspiciously familiar striped shirt. I thought: eh what? Only on-line. Hmmm. I just looked.

The Saint James shirt is more expensive than buying it from France (including shipping!). Mine are from France & I did not pay these amounts, so I'm cheesed off on behalf of others. Depending on the number of items purchased the weight, etc. you might be assessed customs/douane. But if you're in the market for one shirt, for heaven's sake do not buy it through J.Crew. Here's a link to Brittany-boutique. It must be the connection between Brittany & Wales. My Welsh is up. Fume.

If you want to buy a coat or several shirts, it may well do to break up your purchases. E-mail the nice guy who runs the shop. If you're in NYC or will be & just cannot wait, well go for it at Saint James boutique. Who am I to tell you that instant gratification is wrong? But I'm not linking to them (unless they buy me off with a free shirt. I'm only half-kidding. But I'd tell you, I really would.).

If you want a similarly made/designed striped shirt, go looking--they're ubiquitous. But I'm telling you, most of the fashionista sites are showing shirts over $USD85 (or made by enslaved people). A good place to look is agelessbeautyalways or go ask Sasha at Liberty London Girl for responsible & fashionable recommendations.

More important: it's the 66th anniversary of D-Day--the Normandy Invasion. If you think that's ancient history, I submit that you are out of your mind. Go stand on those beaches & imagine a cold, horrible Tuesday (it was) with all those Allied soldiers & sailors waiting to wade into that. I can barely think about it. (See? Flaming liberals have feelings.) I decided not to do posts on Giulia Geranium (here's last year's - June 6, 1945 - Only the Beginning ) or here this year. Still...

Back to work. I'll be seeing you.

(photographs via brittany-boutique (dot) com/Audrey T. from a cute site Pink Peony--to the author: props to you for discussing cruelty-free diamonds)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Week's End - Day at the Beach

This was going to be 'no day at the beach' but these are too cute, though that older one seems a bit bossy. These are not necessarily two sisters as I have older cousins & felt like a little sister quite often. However, the three younger sibsters will fill your ear about my alleged bossiness. Propriety - & a lack of time to write a clever riposte (for now) - prevents me from making my case. (I said, for now, B, E, J....mwahahaha). If they're not good, I'll scan photos on a new-to-me printer/scanner & post them. Let me think on what I shall take in return for not doing so...hmmm.... Nope, can't be bought. Ciao!

[photographs by Nina Leen, LIFE Archives]