Tuesday, September 01, 2009

not too-hot-here

Here in too-hot-here it is, for once, not too hot. On the first day of September there is a hint that, in the months to come, it might cool off. Maybe.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hygiene in Germany

There are many, many things to love about Germany. The two-prong binders, for one. The electrical outlets. The spatzle and spetzi and the bright red currants. And, as pictured here, the sanitary napkin disposal bags (from a museum restroom in Berlin). So adorable! So encouraging! Look at how happy the little guy in overalls is about your menstrual cycle. He has absolute faith in you--you will not throw that pad or tampon in the WC. No! You will use the Astrein (translated, via widget, as "branch clean") AS 70 Hygiene Beutel provided. To seal the deal, he's giving you a wink and TWO thumbs up. He doesn't want you to feel embarrassed either. He's just hanging out there, on his little tightrope or whatever, wearing a handyman cap. Doing his thing. Thanks, Germany. I miss you.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Swallows and Amazons

Oh, how I love you. You really are such jolly good books, with your canvas and wood and potted meat and fresh-from-the-udder milk and hullaballoos and treachery. It's the 1930s, but girls have power right alongside boys and no one thinks at any moment, "We're just pretending; it's not real," because it is real, and they--all of them--know it. There are consequences and near disasters, yet everyone sleeps well at night, knowing that they're not duffers, knowing that they could survive on open seas. And the covers! Look at the undulating waves. Look at the black and white simplicity of the flags. Look at the glorious horizon. (Not to mention the jaunty little penguin, who has gone the way of the dodo.) And then there is Winter Holiday, with the sleek, hand-drawn figures gliding across the ice and the crowd not cheering, but signalling. They know what they mean, all the way down to Roger, the youngest. They signify and it is something.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Peeve of the Day

Silent houses.
Please, pretty please. Just put on the itunes, or a cd, or the radio or
something. Sitting in a room with friends but without music is just so sad, no matter how good the wine or how stimulating the conversation or how crispy the little crackers. I can barely think about anything but our words coming out of our mouths and circling around our heads and ending up in little piles in dusty corners. Music fills out a space. It makes all the difference.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Organize Your Life

I’ve always been a fan of Amy Vanderbilt. She was the modern gal’s Emily Post and one of the (distant cousins of) those Vanderbilts to boot. For years, she provided us with “Everyday Etiquette,” the kind that you could use when, say, serving canapés to 50 or 60 of your closest, most distinguished friends. Until one day all of that etiquette went to her head and she fell out of a window and fractured her skull and died. Grisly.

But before then she wrote, among other things, The AMY VANDERBILT SUCCESS PROGRAM FOR WOMEN. Many luscious photos from the series are available here. One of these treasures (not pictured there) has just been given to me. It is called Organize Your Life and is beautifully, simply written, so that in a mere 54 pages everything that needs to be said on the subject has been said.

Here’s condensed version:
become a mistress of your own destiny, or your husband will find his own (mistress and destiny)
babies last a short while; husbands are forever
take advantage of your womanly cycle
refuse to be the victim of droopy parsley
store three quarters of your Japanese objets d’art at any given time.
sensible women carry calling cards
always serve herrings and flatbrod at your parties; pay small children to wear suits and sit in the closet.
elevators are overdone; steps are stimulating.
make sure you know where the shut off valve is.

Many thanks, dear J, for the treasure.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Paul Montana, Hannah Lynde

Today, I found an old list tucked away in some books. It consisted of two items:
*Hannah Montana
*Paul Lynde

That's it. There's no other name on the list and no clue about why I would have been thinking about either of these two superstars. Paul Lynde was the guy on Hollywood Squares, Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, and (most importantly) a guest on the Donny and Marie show. He drank too much, died pretty young, and was, I think, the first gay man I ever knew. Hannah Montana is Hannah Montana. Connections? People with their own shows who have toothy grins? That list would be much longer. What is the special link between these two? It's going to drive me crazy.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Famous People I Have Known

Everybody knows that it’s important to be famous. Because if you aren’t, then who, other than your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the UPS guy knows you? If you don’t get your name into the history books or tabloids, then what is the point? But if you aren’t famous yourself, it is a good idea to know people who are. And if you don’t know people who are, it is a good idea to have at least seen famous people or to have known people who have seen famous people. That way, you’ll have something to add to conversations.

Here are my contributions:
•I saw Princess Di when she visited Canada back in the 80s. I was in a moving vehicle, she was behind an adoring throng, and all I could see was the back of her head. Or the back of someone’s head, who may/may not have been Princess Di.
•I saw Bruce Willis on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. He was walking.
•I saw Huey Lewis next door. He was stroking his chin.
•I think I saw Kate Winslet incognito in a little coffee shop on the Thames. She was wearing white Nikes and I thought to myself, “Would KW really wear white Nikes?” But then I thought, “That is EXACTLY what she wants me to think. I am falling for her disguise, which also includes a tacky ring. Or maybe the ring isn’t part of the disguise and is just something she likes.” I gave it some thought. Then I realized I was reading a Thomas Hardy novel and KW was IN a Thomas Hardy movie so it had to be a cosmic sign.
•My great uncle came up with the slogan “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking.” He also got to ride in a Pasadena Parade with Andy Devine, know for being Friar Tuck in the cartoon version of Robin Hood.
•Agnes Moorehead talked to my Mom. She was not really a witch.
•An ex-boyfriend’s best friend’s great-grandfather designed the Land O Lakes maiden. The one with the knees that—voila! fold up to be her breasts. (It really does work.)
•I have seen famous people who are in bands, actually playing with their bands. Sometimes, I have seen these people before other people who, when they find out about these famous people later, think that they are special.

And that’s only the beginning.

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