Archive for November, 2011

Weather can be fickle It can close airports and reschedule flights. When four adult children manage to stand-by and catch flights home only a day late, we managed to extend our vacation by finding an all-inclusive resort on a beach next to the airstrip. They put us out on the farthest end of their property, pointed us toward the free bar, and provided hot showers. Thank you Dutch side.

Whenever I return from vacation, I’m always surprised by the abundance of life in these United States. I am returning to the crazy Christmas season. Reuse and recycle is my mantra – maybe even regift?




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Today we return to the real world. We say “a Bientot” to our French friends, the turtles, the sand and the most beautiful island on earth. At home I’ll cuddle Ms Bean and call the MIL. And I’ll try very hard to hold on to this feeling of slow.



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We’ve been enjoying a tropical Thanksgiving week on an island in the French West Indies. I am grateful for the beautiful weather, the warm Carribean sea, and my little family of six. With the Rocker’s touring schedule and the Newlywed’s Chief year, it’s a wonder we could all manage to vacation together and I am acutely aware of this moment. Below is the view out our kitchen window. breathe…

We also feed the family of turtles who live under the pool. They absolutely love bananas and today we found a baby turtle. We’ve taken to naming them and they like to follow us around. The baby will let us
pet him. If you would like to know the sex of a Turtle, just ask us! I’m hoping to see an iguana before we leave. Here is Maude and Cb with the baby tortue (turtle in French).

And now for the Hare. I’m currently reading “The Hare with Amber Eyes.” I am 71 percent finished since the Kindle tells me so. My friend Diane the art historian told me about this non-fiction book. Without giving too much away, it’s the story of a very wealthy Jewish family and their collection of tiny Japanese bibelots called “netsuke.” These are small carvings of ivory and wood depicting country scenes like rabbits, rats, and turtles, even fishermen with nets. Beautifully intricate delicate beyond imagination, these netsuke were the only thing saved from the Nazis for a great nephew. The author, Edmund de Waal, weaves his family history into the political landscape of pre-WWII with compelling results




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Bonjour! This contest is open to all my friends and followers. It is closed, I’m sorry to say to my relatives including step, foster and in-laws, who ostensibly know the answer. Oh and this includes you Big Chillers too! It is a photo journalist’s gastronomic palette of plates. Can you guess where our family is this Thanksgiving? Only answers on the blog comment page will be accepted and the winner gets a cap and a coup on the back (notice the hints?)! Good Luck!






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Once upon a time in Cville, there was a Rhodesian Ridgeback who lived above a shop called “Rock Paper Scissors” on the Historic Downtown Mall. Every day around noon, her master would open the balcony door and she would wait for the tall green pastry chef hat and the familiar call, “Hayden, Hayden, I have cookies for you!”

Dotty Cappellino makes the most scrumptious cupcakes at her bakery right around the corner called “Cappellino Crazy Cakes.” In her apron she has taken to carrying dog treats. I will often have dog treats in my pockets, doesn’t everyone? Watching their ritual, the overhead throw of treat to dog, I thought of Buddha. How the Rumson garbage men would throw him biscuits, and the old Italian doctor on his bicycle would ride by and deliver small treats.

And I thought of the Bride and Groom cupcakes, made to honor their dogs Bailey and Guiness. Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations fashioned the sweetest pair; an Irish Cream vanilla and a Guiness Stout chocolate confection perfection. And I stood there on the mall and smiled because time was converging all around me. The past was just as alive as the present.

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Whenever the Rocker and his girl CB come to visit, we love to swing through our town’s varied consignment and vintage stores. There are almost as many spots devoted to old clothes in Cville as we have displaying used books. It seems right that a small city under TJ’s mountain would value such things! In a town on another mountainside when I was a young bride, we had one vintage shop called Grey Gardens. Back before vintage was cool, I could pick up a roaring 20’s dress for a fund-raising gala or a hoop-skirted antebellum outfit for my SIL’s Pilgrammage in Holly Sprimgs, MS for a song.
CB has the gift. She can spot a trend before it knows it’s a trend. Her fashion eye is impeccable, because after all she is studying and working in the design biz. Truth be told, this gift was God-given; she is a natural. A beautiful young woman within and without. If she wanted to compete on one of those new reality shows, like Next Design Star, or New Fashion Hunter, or New Great Artist, (in full disclosure,sometimes I make up titles since i am not a big fan of reality TV) she would win hands down. Which is why I can’t wait to show her Cville’s latest High Dollar shop, Vintage Vixen! Dolce, Dior, Laurent look out, here we come!




In this economy, reusing makes sense. And why not recycle in style? My friend Wendi started Leftover Luxuries a few years ago and she will be showcasing her gently used extraordinary furniture and clothes in Westport,CT this week 11/18 -27. Stop by and tell her I sent you!

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From the Lee Park Occupy Cville Movement. The Robert E Lee Monument was erected in 1924 to honor the Commander of Northern Virginia. Did you know that all the Civil War statues in the South are situated with their backs to the North?

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On this beautiful Fall Saturday, I found myself reading about the term “Gaslighting” and watching the documentary film Miss Representation on the OWN TV channel. Now if you don’t know what channel Ms Oprah has moved to, you can just go to the website and put in your demographic info:  http://www.oprah.com/own

Well this got my feminist hackles up, my social justice juices flowing, and made me re-think my plans to go to the gym. Let’s burn our bras ladies and take to the streets! Oh no wait, we did that. But it seems, it didn’t take us very far.

You have got to see this film! It is a documentary call to arms for all of us, women and men, written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”  http://missrepresentation.org/the-film/

And now about “Gaslighting.” It is an old term, taken from a famous 1944 movie starring Ingrid Bergman, titled Gaslight.  The plot is simple. Her husband wants her jewels and her money, so he arranges to have the turn of the century gaslights flicker all over the house. When she complains, he tells her she’s wrong. They are NOT flickering, she must be going mad I tell you, MAD! Then he can have her committed, and you get the rest. The term has come to mean in psych circles that a person is being manipulated by another into distrusting their own reality.

This happened to me once. It was The Case of the Missing Charm Bracelet. In the wee small hours before a trip, I had asked Bob to hide my Mother, the Flapper’s, priceless charm bracelet. When we returned, he swore I never asked him and he didn’t hide it, and I ripped the house up, down and sideways looking for it. For 2 years he insisted the bracelet would show up. I insisted he was gaslighting me to anyone who would listen to my rant. And when it did reveal itself, in his desk where he actually had hidden it, he was pretty sheepish about telling me. I wasn’t sure if I should cry or smack him upside the head. 

Thank you to my niece, Jocelyn, for posting this article by Yashar Ali: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yashar-hedayat/a-message-to-women-from-a_1_b_958859.html

The take away here is to love yourselves ladies, just the way you are, and don’t let anyone else gaslight you. Reject the sexually stereotypical media messages about women. Speak up, stand up, and share the light. Think what we could do if we had real parity in government and board rooms around the country. Oh, and I did forgive my hubby, eventually.

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There’s a back room in the best little knitting shop in Cville. This is where the owner, Mimi, banishes those people who come, wool in hand,  for fellowship, croissants and coffee only to hear, “Let’s go take a look at it.” If you’re at a point of no return, you’ve botched up your knitting so badly that you need a full-scale rehabilitative effort, or your piece is just too big and unwieldy you need to lay it out on a table to stitch it up, you are escorted into “The Kitchener.” It is pronounced with two syllables, as in “kitch – ner.” My British friend Diane explained, Lord Kitchener was Commander in Chief in India and later became known for his poster boy good looks and OCD attention to details in World War I.

He believed that in order to march well, his troops needed only the best socks that would not rub at the toes. British and American women were knitting socks for soldiers (this was around 1915, before WWII called them to be riveters) and the pattern at that time used an inelegant seam at the toe. That nasty little seam would cause many a blistered foot that might possibly impact the war effort! So His Lordship developed a sock pattern featuring a new technique for a seamless joining of the toe, still known as “The Kitchener Stitch.”  http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEsummer04/FEATtheresasum04.html

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day 11-11-11, and it is also the 93rd anniversary of the Armistice that finally ended WWI in 1918. A member of our Ivy Farmer’s Book Club, Kathleen Ford, has published many short stories on tales from The Great War. Tonight at 7:30 pm  she will be reading from one of her stories “Choosers of the Slain” on our local public radio station, WVTF  Radio IQ Virginia. You can listen to her beautiful voice live online at http://www.wvtf.org/ Or pick up a copy of The Sewanee Review to read another WWI soldier’s story called “Homecoming.” We honor the 24.9 million American veterans tomorrow and every day. We also honor those who perished.  Here’s to all my brothers who served.

And here’s to you, Kathleen, our esteemed writer! And and here’s to us, women of a certain age, who would never think of Kitchenering anybody! Only our WIPs (another knitting term that means Works in Progress).

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Did you hear the joke about when life begins? Considering Initiative 26 on the ballot today in Mississippi, it would play well to revisit this comic sketch. Number 26 in MS is an extreme anti-choice scheme that would call a fertilized egg a “person” and would therefore ban abortion in the state, certain forms of birth control, oh and if you happen to have been raped, tough luck! Back to the joke. Three religious men walk into a bar (notice they are men). The bartender asks, “When does life begin?”

The Catholic priest says, “At conception of course.”  “No, no,” the Protestant minister says. “Life begins at quickening, when the mother feels the first kick.” The Rabbi sits silently for awhile, until the question is asked again. “Well in our tradition,” the Rabbi says thoughtfully, “life begins when the children leave home and the dog dies!” Isn’t it strange that the very same extremely religious right wing of this country are so pro-Israel? I wonder if they’ve heard the joke?


If we were to draw a Ven diagram, with A being the Tea Party, and B being the 99 Percenters, I believe that C might just grow big enough to encompass yet another party in this country. It is that place where Libertarians congregate – people who say “No” to big government, shady revolving door lobbying and Wall Street kingpins. People who vote “No” in MS. 50% of polls tell us there is a bipartisan angst out there, people are fed up with a system they see as increasingly rigged; extreme income disparity is dividing the super rich from a dwindling middle class.  And all our legislators can agree on is, “In God we Trust?”

It’s sex that makes the media run. Herman Cain is circling the drain due to groping without permission. Our holiest of games, college football, has been tarnished by allegations of child sexual abuse by an underling coach, Jerry Sandusky, at Penn State. In our town, a UVA athlete who banged his ex-girlfriend’s head against a wall till she died, is hoping to prove it was something else that killed her. And now for Sexual Reproduction 101, we are being asked to start the debate, all over again, about “Personhood.” It’s not trusting in God that worries me. I think it’s time to donate to Emily’s List: http://emilyslist.org/splash/signup/splash01/ or:

Off the Sidelines http://www.offthesidelines.org/home!

“…women, we need you to be advocates, to be heard on the issues you care about, to be voting, to be running for office, to be part of decision making.” Senator Kirsten Gillbrand.

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