Monday, November 28, 2011

Mood Boards in My Head

 It's Pinteresting that people now create collages, virtual mood boards, online rather than in their actual physical space and with active intent, rather than by accident. I don't know, I guess I am getting old but all of the real artsy people that I know (like my pal Wanda,) live a mood board. Their world and their imagination is their canvas. So again, I find I am out of sync with this new effort to render everyone an artist with something fabulous to share with the world. We are so public these days. Seeking approval?

To me this is the sign of things about to go in reverse. Technology has rendered things too accessible and taken the special out of collage, genericized it, just the way the advent of the non-professional desk top publishing software made every computer user think they were actually a graphic designer. Seriously. That's when I stopped wanting to be a graphic designer. It was too discouraging to see a field that I had so revered become so burdened with crappy typography and clip art. We always do this to ourselves. We want everyone to be able to do everything. We are trying to keep ourselves busy I think.

I like the idea of specializing, of people being different, which does not mean you have to do the same thing all your life or be pigeon-holed. Careers cross over, life leads you in many different directions. We meander. I apologize, I really am ranting a bit these days,  first about people trying to be too perfect, and now about this. But I am getting annoyed. Instead of joining in (I am very social but I have never been a joiner,) I am just going to continue to do what I have always done and create little periodic transient vignettes in my head and around, and then move on.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Round and round

Here are some things that I am collecting these days: vintage arm chairs that need to be reupholstered, vintage linen or hemp sheets with monograms, anything having to do with quinces (love the color) or animals, and sets of 19th and 20th century French china, especially black transfer ware. I have come full circle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today I am Grateful

for all the wonderful friends that I have, for my girls and my dogs, for my parents and sister, for all the amazing experiences I have had in my life, for our time in France, for all the folks who help out with Basic French (Debi, Ka, Barb + Bob and Jenn + Preston ) for finding clarity in life, for my adventuresome spirit which never goes away, for cozy hand-knit socks, for discovering beautiful talents and products like these notary candlesticks, for my health and the health of all those I love. I am so lucky and today, Thanksgiving, I give thanks for all of it!

Wishing you all the a wonderful day filled with love and good food!

Notary candlesticks by Jeff Patterson for lovely Sarah Van Raden

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bon Point = You are Good!

I found this pencil case at the marché aux puces and I thought to myself, "I would've been happy to go to school and open this up every day, sweet olive case with little plaid interior, a bon point (for good behavior) and the little cut out of the boy and his sheepy."

We all deserve a bon point these days just for being good people. Times have been pretty tough in the states and things are looking pretty grim here in France, sadly for the French. We are all good people and we need to remember that everyday. That is enough.

Monday, November 21, 2011

O My Halliday

I am so proud of my girls and not bashful to show it. Halliday, who is a senior in an international public lycée is an amazing, diligent student with a sweet heart, creative talent and a great fashion sense (amongst other things.) Her outfit this morning...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Comfort Food

I am not a Winter person, so the moment the sun begins to set earlier and rise later, and we fall back clockwise, I am nostalgic for summer and seek comfort anywhere I can find it. These days, based on my waistline, that seems to be in the way of food.

At the shore this summer, I cooked almost every meal and while I am not a fancy chef, I do like to think that I can make something tasty out of whatever is left in the frig. In any case, I am very poor at following recipes and have even given up on myself in this department. Yet, when I stumbled upon SweetFineDay the blog of Brooklyn-based designer Jenna and her pastry chef partner Mark of Whimsy and Spice, I found instant comfort and inspiration.

Well among other things, I was compelled to cook chicken pot pie for the girls which basically took me all day on Saturday because I had to shop for the ingredients (frig empty) and try to make do with what I had (no cream cheese, no chicken stock, turkey instead of chicken, no celery because it's the one food I hate and must be allergic to.) I managed to cobble together what resembled turkey pot pie and a mache salad with, of course, Henry's vinaigrette (I am the salad dressing protegée of my friend Pamela's husband, fabulous painter Henry Finkelstein, since we spent two recent weeks kibitzing and cooking together in Brooklyn.)

In Jenna's personal blog The Mixed Race Project I was touched by something she said. In essence, she said that she wanted to show in her photographs how people really live and not show a fantasy of how people pretend to live. I echo this thought. I have been feeling really exasperated and rebellious recently, as I tacitly though erratically follow blogs with tasteful feminine Pinterest mood boards and perfectly art directed and lit photos of carefully culled "objets." I am a bit sick of all the DIY makeovers and everyone being so damn crafty. I know I sound jaded, but really let's face it, not everyone has something interesting to say, something the world needs to hear. Even what I have have to say, is maybe not that interesting, really. My rebellious side wants to go in the opposite direction and like Jenna, I want to show people as they are with unmade beds and messy hair and imperfections. I wish we could all embrace our imperfections more and love real life instead of always trying to make real life look perfect. I think real life is far more interesting, far more touching. But that's me, and I have messy hair and an apartment that's crammed with packing supplies, a desk piled high with papers I dread filing, books I'll never read despite my good intentions, a "to do" list that makes me panic and a dog named Clementine that ate the remaining half of my carefully crafted turkey pot pie off the counter.

Isn't it more comforting to us all to know that we are in the same boat?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh Donna, a Retrospective

We spent the summer on Long Beach Island, my preferred summer destination since September of 1960 when, as the story goes, my cousin Douglas and I were passed out the bedroom window during a fierce hurricane named Donna. We were 2 months old. The girls and I had all missed the Jersey shore and all it's indigenous treasures over the last few years because we have spent our summers in France or somewhere straddled between charitable relatives and friends.

With not a cloud in the sky all summer long, we hung out our laundry on the blowy clothesline each morning, took meandering bike rides to our favorite island cafe, ate fresh, juicy tomatoes, herbs and lettuce from Bowdie's garden, husked and gobbled sweet Jersey corn, relished soft-shelled crabs and lobster and savored slices of home-made chocolate cake from the Holiday Snack Bar. It was a perfect summer, in retrospect.

Monday, November 07, 2011

My Darling Clementine

 I know, I know, dog stories are boring, but my little Clementine is the cutest thing on the planet and strolling around Lyon with her on a Fall day is the best thing in the world. And, can you believe that even the leaf bags are basic French chic. Oh la la those crazy French.