Sunday, April 28, 2013


UK Vogue April 2013

I didn't even see the handbag when I first looked at this page. I was captured by the shades of blue. So many beautiful things to look at ... and there sits the handbag ... black and tan with a lavender strap. Exquisite work. Accessories, of which a handbag is categorized as, should be just lovely bits and pieces. And here it is, lovely amongst other lovely bits and pieces.

back drop

UK Vogue April 2013
I don't know where this hotel is, but I want to be in it. Each page of the editorial showed the same lovely wall paper and flowers that are unbelievably captured in full bloom, but this photograph captured a three-dimensional place that I would like to slip into for the afternoon best. I imagine it smells as wonderful as it looks, and I think that champagne, or tea, would nice. Sort of dream-like, I could lose myself with only the chirp of the bird on the wall to remind me that I'm in a real time and place.

fit n' flare dresses

Oprah Magazine May 2013

Fit n' flare. It's every where I look this spring. I like a dress with a flare ... it's fits me just fine. I checked out this web site in May's issue: It's a great place to find a pretty spring/summer dress. Lots of patterns, various shapes, and the dresses come in all sizes, which is a plus.

I suppose that I should order one, then promote it, but I'm fairly confident, given that it was in Oprah Magazine, that is purchase-worthy. Hey, whatever you may think of Oprah, the woman has good taste. And second to Martha Beck, I like to see what wares she, or her editors, is peddling. Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow, who hawks extremely expensive must haves, Oprah is more ... likely to suggest a product for an every woman. Well, and by every woman, I mean one who has a job and can afford to buy things. Don't get me wrong, Oprah will throw in the ringer that costs more than a week's salary, but she balances it with ... a $65 dress that is pretty cute ... and wearable.

Also, at last check. if you buy two dresses, the second is 40% off, and if you purchase three, the third (lowest priced) is free. Plus, if you sign up, you receive an automatic $25 gift card. Such a deal!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

haddon hall

Tatler April 2012
Haddon Hall is one of the most romantic places that I have ever visited. I wrote about it last summer while I was touring through England en route to Scotland and the Hebridian Islands. We targeted Chatsworth, home to the Duke of Devonshire, and spent time there, but this was the jewel that we found in that lovely Peak District.

I was so excited to see this article in Tatler. The photos that I took are better than those in the magazine, but the stories! It confirmed what I knew that would be reason to love the place.

a banquet table
The whole while I was there, I imagined living in the rooms. The long tables in the banquet would if I lived there be covered in silks and china and crystal, while fires roared in room sized fire places. I thought that I had heard that the owner lived in the house. And sure enough, even as a child, the family would visit in summer. For the most part, since the Hall is not heated, yearly residents hole up in an outer building. When people are in the house, "there are ready
 supplies of whiskey, roaring fires and big baths with piping-hot water.' Lord Edward Manners says that at Christmas, 'my mother walks about swathed in mountains of fur.' Oh my ... I would love to be there ... take a hot bath, swathe myself in furs, drink ... I think champagne would be better, and wander the halls with the ghosts.

Roses covered the Hall
Ghosts? Oh, yes. And I know that I've talked of them before. I knew that they were there when I visited. I felt it. One captured me for a bit, rolled around Scotland with us, and then pulled out in an inn somewhere else days later. Lord Manners says that there are hundreds there, and that they are all very happy. He says, 'I was in my office at the top of a long spiral staircase in Duke's Tower. Because the staircase is stone, you can hear people approaching. It was beautiful evening and I was totally alone. But then I heard these very distinct footsteps climbing the stairs. I went to see who was there and, of course, no one was ... for a house that's been empty for so long, it's got  a wonderfully full feeling about it.'
Haddon Hall

Yes, a full feeling indeed. We sat in the garden for a long while. It was a very peaceful place. The grounds are much more extensive that I had imagined. Though, it was a long walk from the car park to the Hall itself. Housed in the entry way arch, if that's what I can call it, was a lovely little shop, and for the first time nearly in all of my travels, I bought the book of the place so that I would always have some of it with me.

I don't know what it is about some places that just are so familiar. This is one place for me. I imagine that it is my experience ... not of this time, but another that ties me to it. Somewhere coded in me, probably my DNA, there's the tramp that has gotten me from one place to the next to the next, and finally a millennium later, to where I am now. I've passed through this Hall on that first trip, and that is what made it so romantic on the second.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

keith richards

Rolling Stone April 25, 2013

from the article:

(Richards is more open to a Wyman return. "I don't close doors," he says. "But sometimes I lose the key.")

Yeah, sometimes I lose the key too, Keith. That cat is just way cool.

door mat

Oprah Magazine May 2013
I had a hissy fit today. I hadn't thought of that particular word in a long time, but my co-worker used it for just this instance. And with that in mind, I cite Martha Beck's column form the May issue of Oprah Magazine. For the most part, the only reason that I read Oprah's magazine is for Martha Beck and the book reviews. Beck is a lifestyle coach by trade, and she always gives no-nonsense advice on how to navigate through this often chaotic, and always challenging, world. This month's article was no exception: Doormats Anonymous.

I've been involved in a sticky wicked for some time now, and it's finally arrived to my last nerve. What I thought and what it is are two different things, which I suppose is the way that it goes sometimes, but ... I gave too much of myself away to someone who on any level has nothing to offer in return. I believed him, I believed in him, but his him? Yeah, don't know if it is structurally safe for ... anyone. But I won't get into specifics, not the point really. As I take a look at this tidy graphic, I find that I have gone from 'disturbed' to 'homicidal,' in order to arrive at: what were you thinking?

Disturbed: oh, I'll just run around, run around in circles, do cartwheels, move Heaven and Earth to make him happy. Does he remember my name? well, he's got a lot of his mind.

Displaced: mucha fucha, mucha fucha. I'm trying here, but you're ... blank. I don't get the answer that I want to hear. I don't get recognition, so I walk away mumbling under my breath. I'm good for this one. The energy has got to get out of me ... and it does! In illiterate patterns of speech.

Hurt: Slamming something? Who, me?! Passive-aggression ... it's the thing about myself that most makes me cringe. But I've got it in me. I'm worst when I'm mucha fucha-ing and slamming at the same time. Maybe it's that I just want him to take me over his knee and give me a good spanking. OH!

Resentful: Well, when one's hurt, particularly romantically, then the resentment is bound to come into play. For me, I resent that I'm not recognized. That I've been duped. But even here, I can manage to forgive and carry on. Why wouldn't I? I love him.

Seething: oh. Everyone is tired of me talking about it. I'm tired of me talking about it. I'd like to hide to make it go away, instead ... I just talk about it more. Everyone is sick to death of it.

Homicidal: My co-worker read this chart and said, 'oh, I've never made it to this stage.' I have lashed out. I believe that I may have slammed the phone down on my sister. And the other one told me to stop acting crazy. But I'm not nice to the offender. Oh sure, I called him and tried to connect to him in a real way after gossip about him was dumped on me, but I'm really trying to just avoid him. I know that I won't get a fair shake. I know that he doesn't understand these stages, or what it is that I've been to him. Here's where the real hurt lives. It sits heavy on my heart. I don't want it to be a waste a time, but if I stand back? Yeah, he doesn't call.

So what does Martha have for me: "The problem is that trying to change unfair behavior with submissive niceness is like tying to smother a fire with gunpowder. It isn't the high road; it's the grim, well-trod path that leads from aggressive to passive, through long, horrible stretches of passive-aggressive. The real high road requires something quite different: the courage to know and follow your own truth."

According to Beck, what gets in the way of our truths is opaque, reactive behavior. She says, "we stop acting on your own desires and become purely reactive instead, focused not on what we want but on what others will think, say, or do. We never express negative feelings about the relationship-which means that it becomes, in the words of organizational behavior expert Chris Argyris, "self-sealed" against learning."

I won't go anymore into the article. Obviously, it struck a chord with me, especially right now. I think that I have stopped acting on what I have wanted a long time ago. I focused too much on what I thought would make him happy. And sometimes, I gave him what, in fact, is what I wanted from him. That's not good. And my hope is that by recognizing this, I can get out of the homicidal state-of-mind. It hasn't been a good place to be, and it may be that I just needed a little push. I think sometimes that the flush of meeting someone, and especially one that you think that you are going to know your whole life, interferes with what is actually going on in the relationship. I was so gaga for him that I didn't realize that I had lost myself in it. I'll still be gaga for him, that doesn't just go away. But I can stop putting myself on the floor in front of him.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

party girl

Party on State Street
I love a party. Make that, I love to plan a party! And when I found this photograph of a long ago time, I realized that my relationship with the party, particularly impromptu ones, was seeded when I was a wee lass.

That's me on the right looking at the camera, mid-groovy move. I am wearing one of my all-time favorite pajama sets. It had an empire waist of the baby doll variety with little shorties, and delicately trimmed in bric-a-brac, which I still prefer. Once I even insisted on wearing the top as a shirt to school. Fortunately, my mother was one to allow such whimsy, and so I happily marched off to first or second grade wearing my pj top! That was a good day! My brother, in the picture, is dancing with Mary Ellen, our two-door down neighbor, who several years later while learning to drive, not only crashed into our car, but drove up on to the lawn and knocked over a 50+ year old evergreen tree. Her parents are coupled behind her, and my Dad is bent over the coffee table ... wearing his white undershirt. I think that I even see plaid shorts ... I remember those that he wore. He and my brother are sort of uniformed ... white t's, black horned glasses, and crew cuts. The little one is my sister; oh, she's up to something back there. I don't know where my Mom or baby sister are for the photo, but they are close by.

Especially in the summer, the neighbors would come over on a Saturday night for a get-together. The adults would drink Manhattans, the kids would get the coveted Pepsi-Cola that crossed the threshold on occasion, and my Dad would spin his favorite jazz records on the monophonic player. Everyone danced. Everyone sang. It would be sweaty and late before our heads ever hit the pillow. Oh we had fun! And it built in me the party, I imagine.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


To any subscribers, if you are out there, understand that I try my best to make certain that what is published is for the most part ... readable. I'm not even going to go 'grammatically correct,' ah, who am I kidding given that I ramble these off at odd times and in uncertain moods. So for that, please excuse ... the mess. I say this as the latest edition ripped through my inbox with a glaring error ... a paragraph inversion! Zut alors! What the heck! But I've corrected the mistake or computer error (that's what I'm going with), and I trust that the two of you who read this on a regular basis will figure out that in the post 'girls,' the last paragraph jumped on top of the one before it ... pesky rascal. I blame Adam, it's his doing.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


California jasmine

my head is full of you.
a lover who knows
no end. finds me
in daylight,
lights dusk.
pulls me in,
casting a net
to trap me
in sweet, fragrant
peu de fleur blanche,
my head is full of you,
you’ve pushed
everything else

On my recent stop in Hollywoodland, I encountered bushes of flowering jasmine. I don't remember having ever been wrapped in a flower's scent quite like this before. It may be because of the sunny day and good company, but it put something inside of me. And I couldn't help but sing Seals and Crofts' song Summer Breeze for the rest of the week ... 'blowing through the jasmine of my mind.' I was so entranced that on return home, I made a mix tape of summer breeze, 70's music for myself. I have been to California before, but this was the first visit that I caught some of what I think to be the 'vibration' of the place. And that same vibration is what I imagine to be infused into the easy rock of the 70's.

The tape (really CD, and no, not an IPOD ... low tech stuff here) has been playing on a loop in my car for a couple of weeks now. And one thing that I've discovered is that the lyrics of Summer Breeze are different than I thought them to be. While in California, I kept singing, 'sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom/ July is dressed up and waiting for June.' I always loved that line ... the idea that one month was waiting for the other to ring the bell. Like a girl all dolled up and waiting for her first date. But in the loop, I discovered that is not what they are singing at all. The line goes, 'sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom/ July is dressed up and playing her tune.' Imagine that. Additionally, for days, I asked my host ... the jasmine is in bloom now in March, why are they singing about it being in bloom in June and July? Maybe it is that this magnificent bloom cycles through the summer ... each month dresses up for the one before to come and bring her sweet fragrance.


so. girls. I read about it. I saw them win the Golden Globe or Emmy. But I don't have advanced cable. No HBO. It wasn't until my sister, who has HBO, invited me over for a viewing of the series. We ordered pizza, drank wine, my mom was there. And it came on and ... sucked me in. It is chaotic. Brutal. Honest. Weird. Tender. All things that I find life to be ...

Naturally, like Sex in the City, girls of a certain age claim a character. For Sex, everyone wants to be Carrie. Just like in playing Barbies, who didn't want the Malibu Barbie if she were available. Some of my friends wanted to tag me as Samantha ... huh? I think that the only character who didn't drive me crazy on that show was Carrie, but I didn't watch it for Carrie. No, I watched it for Mr. Big. He was/is my kind of man. Unpredictable. Suited. Poetic. Sure, he was kind of jerky, but he always came through in big ways ... no pun intended.

A few weeks ago, I was at the beauty getting my hair did, and the 20-something, hipster stylist asked me if I watched the show. She, naturally, saw herself as Hannah. I'm sure all 20-something hipster hairstylists think that they are Hannah. I was able to watch all of Season 1, half at my sister's house, and then I bought the final episodes on line. Hooked. But she went on to say that she didn't like the path that Season 2 took ... hm. And the gods looked upon me and during Spring Break, Season 2 was available for free viewing for three days On Demand. Well, I didn't need 3 days. I sat down one evening and went through the whole season. I loved where the story went. One of the things about it that makes it brilliant is that it is what it is ... life: good, bad, indifferent. And I'm far away from 20-something, but I could still identify with it.

Adam Driver
But I don't think that I'm like any of the girls. My sister thinks that I'm just like Hannah. And in some ways, sure ... I'll buy that, the awkwardness ... the physicality of her, but the character that I find riveting and more like me is ... Adam. I know that he is a fictional character and a man, but man, ahhhhhhhhhhh ... I have no words for how he is portrayed. Strong. Off. Direct. In charge. Open. Yeah, that's what it is ... he's wide open. He says it like it is, how he feels, he opens doors/gates/time portals ... he lets it be what it could be, whatever that is for who he's with. On, it says this of Adam's action in the finale: "more than the same kind of boundary violation he’s been committing all season." I think that's what I like best  about him ... he doesn't know boundaries. When he tells Hannah, hey we're hang buddies, why do you have to put a label on it? For real. He is vulnerable ... and doesn't ever wear a shirt. It's too hot for him. He needs to be free of the constraints that society puts on him. He's unapologetic for his views, for his desires, for his unconventionality.

I may not be Adam. I'm not a boy for one. But I would like to spritz some of his magnetism and joied'Adam all over me like an elixir. He da man.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

pretty vende

UK Vogue March 2013
Pretty Yende. She is pretty, isn't she. And who's ever heard of someone named Pretty before? It's a milleniumistic April or May kind of name. It whispers beginnings, flowers, and sunshine.  And Pretty certainly got  a beginning! Called to fill in at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC at a moment's notice, not knowing the opera, etc.  she had the good sense to say yes!  I would love to hear her sing. I did a quick look on ITunes, but the only music that came up for her was a duet that she sang with Andre Bocelli, and I don't particularly care for his voice. I would love to hear her come up on the Andy Karzas show on WFMT in Chicago. I love the show that airs after Live from the Met in the late afternoon on Saturdays. Sadly, Karzas is no longer with us, but his recorded shows are still aired. He has a wonderful program, From the Recording Horn, of voices, primarily operatic, from by-gone eras. He actually spinned records on a turntable, and as many of the albums are very old, there's a wonderful ... sound that comes from them. I don't want to say that they are scratchy ... but if you have listened to records at all, you know what that sound is. There is nothing like it as far as I'm concerned. The gentle nudging of the needle across the vinyl resonates with character. I would like to hear what I imagine Pretty's beautiful voice to be. How could it not? She is Pretty after all.