Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Day

Oops. Best laid plans, etc. Dashing out on errands & now a last-minute babysitting request (for the afternoon). Happy to help but that pushes some things off my list right now. I may be back before midnight, maybe not. I will most certainly be on Twitter. Happy New Year already to Julie & Simon & others I don't know. For those without televisions, there's a live webcast from NYC's Time Square beginning at 6pm EST. Join in!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Irish Coffee Break

Off for Irish coffee & then to see the ZooLights. It's been a mild winter here, so far (keep it up, weather gods) & the outdoor holiday walks have been superb. A friend & I had a funny run-in last week with the most hideous looking Irish coffee. It was not a good sign that the child waitpersonne had no idea what that was (seriously). At least she was good-humored. She took away the offending oily black liquid dumped unceremoniously into clear glasses & brought us seasonal beers. Which were quite good.

But...I've been craving an Irish coffee ever since. So off to the local pub, a good one. However, I look forward to having a house whiskey again. Never leave your good liquor out for bums to drink up. (That's a whole 'nother story.)

I hope everyone is having a good holiday. I realize that not everyone has a block of time off. But you can do little things like walk past pretty (& free) holiday lights, city department store windows, have a drink with a friend to make up for it. Also, primrose alert: they're in the stores & about $3/4.00. It will cheer you immensely. I promise. Back tomorrow...

PS: Turning off comments; it appears to have become burdensome.

(photograph via Martha Stewart)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter Reading

If you can steal some moments away to read but have finished a book & are flipping through the same 3 magazines, or are at home & can't get out to the library or bookstore, I have a few links. I remember being on more than one trip & in the same situation & not even close to an inadequate newsstand.

Lori of automatism has a good label, magazines + newspapers (& she always has beautiful photographs to share). Poets & Writers magazine's annual Inspiration issue arrived yesterday. I've not had a moment to open it, but it usually lives up to its title. The New Yorker always has good features accessible to non-subscribers, though it's not the same if you don't subscribe. The Guardian has an excellent book site, including links for children & teens, suggestions for seasonal reading.

If you enjoy poetry,
The Poetry Foundation's website is excellent with many searchable features. Here's The New York Review of Books (I am only 3 issues behind, ahem). To round off the New York pubs, here's New York magazine which is always amusing. And if you miss Frank Rich in the Times, remember, he moved to NY magazine. Here's his latest column: The Molotov Party. Even if you don't live in the States, you should read it. Make that, especially if you don't live here, you should read it.

I need to finish reading a manuscript but picking it up just before I go to sleep has not been a good idea (& it is a good story). So off to read today. If you've something to recommend, please do. I love having lists to take to the library, bookstore, & newsstand & not just the end-of-the year lists by The New York Times (though theirs is always good).

I'll be back for New Year's Eve. Cheers everyone!

(Woman Reading by Gabriel Ferrier via Art Inconnu)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I was just made aware that it is already Christmas Eve in some parts of the world. Hello, Antipodeans:) So all hemming & hawing about which photograph & links is over - now. A merry Christmas & a Happy Hanukkah to all. If you are feeling grumpy, remember that today is Festivus & air your grievances. (History of Festivus clip.) But as I exhort people on Twitter, air them stylishly with your Shakespeare Insult Kit.

Yesterday I met up with a friend & we walked around the city. A quick check-in at the holiday market was nice but it ain't Strasbourg. We had fun though: a drink, a quick errand to buy this beautiful liqueur, & a last-minute decision to walk to the White House to see the Christmas trees. A good evening.

Tomorrow I'll lunch with a friend who will be wildly busy as she is a makeup artist. But after we lunch, she'll hand me over to colleagues for a facial & a manicure. I'm so looking forward to it.

If you have little kids--or are one, occasionally--have a look at the Santa Tracker. It's fun. Also some last minute ideas are always on Martha Stewart's site. My friend Mary Kay swears by these cocktail & punch recipes.

(photograph via Pinterest but years ago I chose it as a Christmas card from Galison. Still looking for ultimate source. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Lights

From the sublime to the ridiculous... I'm far behind in reading a manuscript & holiday prep & everything.

Friday a friend & I went to a garden of lights. I expected to love it; it was more wonderful than I'd hoped. The word magical is so overused; this was a fairytale come to life. It finally felt like the holidays. If you live near something similar, I urge you to go. I wish there were really good larger photographs to show.

Sparkly holiday Paris is my laptop wallpaper of late. Very cheerful in the 7am shadows. You can get the link to the large size on Giulia Geranium. And of course, what would the holidays be without the continuing showdown between inanimate fairy lights & Julie? With some flower garlands tossed onto the pic?

I cannot believe it is 10.56pm on the last Sunday before Christmas. Back soon. Cheers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Farewell, Hitch

There's really nothing much more to say because it would be far too long. Lovely photograph of Christopher on the picket line, on the left, where I wish he'd stayed. Via Prospect. Washington just got a whole lot duller, believe me. His tag at Vanity Fair.

Update - Ian McEwan's beautiful remembrance in The Guardian.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Nutcracker at the Movies

Those of you in Europe & Australia who love ballet & love seeing films in the theatre: keep your eyes & ears open for New York City Ballet's Nutcracker opening this month. (The times/places aren't listed yet.) It showed live in the States last evening. Here's the good review in today's New York Times. I'm thinking of popping up to a cinema in my neighborhood to see the Bolshoi's Nutcracker. I think the ballet-in-cinema is a positive development. While many of us have access to live ballet performance, many do not (or we just cannot afford the live ticket prices right now).

(photograph by Paul Kolnik for The New York Times)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Copenhagen Christmas Tree

I've been going through the photographs on the Giulia Geranium site & sizing, correcting attributions, etc. I loved this photo in 2008 & I still do. Worrying about getting a tree home (tricking/fast-talking taxi drivers was wearing on my nerves; asking busy friends was also nerve-wracking), I loved the idea that it was possible somewhere in the world to do-it-yourself on wheels. Here's Mikael's Christmas tree tag with cyclists & their arboreal hauls.

Also, I've read posts bemoaning the lack of space for a tree. I think they grew up with gigantic trees (I did & I love them) & would rather have no tree rather than "give in" for a small one. I think this because whenever anyone gives them ideas for a smaller version, there's a digging in of heels & a setting of jaws. "No, no, cannot." Hmm.For the rest of us, here's a take on a Christmas tree that made the rounds back in 2008, too. A great idea, especially if you have a lot of "stuff."

Do you put up a tree? Will you have a photograph of it that we can see?
Now, off to the market to provision the pantry & make these orange-y delights. Cheers!

(photograph by Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagen Cycle Chic)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let the Games Begin

I'm half-way through several mini-cleaning projects & everywhere I turn is another (literal) obstacle. Yesterday I opened two boxes of decorations. Even though Julie doesn't feel well & is not eating much, she sat right up & ran over to investigate. The annual fairy lights v. Julie has begun. She cracks me up.

I also have several drafts going for both blogs but I can't push it right now. Giulia Geranium publishes almost-daily as a way to keep myself going. I'm working on a Facebook page for GG; integrating Twitter into both blogs (it's easy but I don't like most design icons I've seen...yet); & what we'll call "miscellany."

I'll be around to soon to comment. I've read some terrific posts, I just haven't been able to summon up a lot to say. (Yet) xoxo

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reading Tolstoy

You will not hear me grousing about the holiday season. I like to make the best of it. Those who go full-Scrooge seem to think they're original, even witty. (Oy) If you are active on Twitter &/or Facebook, the double-dose of Bah humbug is wearying - & it's only December 1.

Instead, I'm mixing it up with planning outings with friends, solo outings, movies, & reading that feels like a project, but in a good way. This translation of Anna Karenina was a revelation to many, including me, in 2001. It's time to move on to War & Peace; this will be made more enjoyable by checking in with C.M. Mayo's Reading War & Peace & following her links. She's a terrific writer (& teacher) who lives here in Washington, DC (when she's not in Mexico). She's also a very generous blogger.

Now go get that poinsettia or start collecting the spices you need for cookies or mulled wine or decide on a new calendar (there are sales already) or string some fairy lights around a window or mirror. Or take a walk to the library. On the way, buy a toy & take it to the holiday toy collection for a child in need.

(Woman Reading by Alexander Deineka)