jeudi 24 février 2011

Montana calls me

These photos are from a trip we took in August 2007. Can't wait to get back to Montana and hope to be able to say one day that I divide my time between Montana and France.
In no particular order: strange species of Montana bear, buffalo, tough biker chick, Harley guys, getting there, rusted out truck....

Snow daze

Dreaming of warmer weather. Below, two shots of La Rochelle in summer and then one of Portlanders taking advantage of a sunny Saturday in April. Today is a snow day for the Seattle school district.

jeudi 17 février 2011

Home, home on the range

If I were a painter, this is how I would paint Montana.

mercredi 16 février 2011

Is February worse than November (in Seattle)?

It's pretty much a toss-up if you ask me. But, as these photos show, February isn't all bad. In case you are wondering, the purpose of these photos is not to reveal that our windows need washing (they do) or that I don't make the bed or do housework before sitting down at the computer to work (I don't); it is to show you that all the bitching I did last night about February being such a horrible month apparently paid off. The weather gods heard me. They tried to tell me last night, by dumping tiny hailstones on me as I got out of the car, but I was not receptive to the news. However, all is forgiven this morning. The sun is out. Neko and I are going for a walk -- but first, YOGA!!!! I skipped Monday's class because I had an urgent need to brood about the shitty weather. I promise to do double the usual number of sun salutes this morning.

February also features the bogus holiday, St.Valentine's Day, which is not really to its credit. But what are you gonna do? I offered my Valentine some red-only swedish fish, some red-only poptarts (strawberry) and a bottle of fine IPA (with a red label). Do you see a pattern or theme emerging? Red, the color of the day. Entertainment wise, we went to the Triple Door to see a Frank Sinatra impersonator by the name of Joey Jewell. He is local, I think, from Puyallup. Damn, he sounds like Sinatra. He did a 60's "Sands" tribute. He did it My Way. He flew us to the moon and treated us to a duet version of Mack the Knife. The swing band that accompanied him was perfect. A bunch of middle-aged people who looked like you would expect your high school classmates who were in the band to look. The piano player, a very skinny man with a straight back (good piano posture), looked like someone who could have been the piano player for the Addams Family.
The only blemishes on this fine evening were the lady sitting just behind us with her "date", a three-year old girl who I think must have been her daughter. Who in their right mind brings a three-year old to the Triple Door? On Valentine's Day! If I had paid a babysitter to watch my three-year old, I would have been really pissed, especially when the three-year old got tired of the crayons and started making noises that sounded like farts under water. Can you believe it! And to our left, also just behind us, were two couples who apparently had some catching up to do. The two women started yacking it up, during the show of course. So rude! Not just with respect to those sitting around them, but also with respect to the performers, who were about five feet away. My husband finally turned around and said "It must be nice to be able to catch up!" They got it; they got up and went elsewhere (the bar? the restrooom?) to chat. Geez! People! Why not use your mentality, wake up to reality....
Hearing those songs from the sixties made me think of my childhood and my dad. He loved that music, he really did. His favorites were My Funny Valentine and Moon River. And yes, I realize these are not Frank Sinatra tunes. I am talking about the period. Personally, I liked King of the Road and Queen of the House. All that music defined adulthood for me. And for those who are mad about Mad Men, let me say that I saw the real people in action. The cigarettes, the cocktails, the music and shenanigens, the hangovers, the suntans, the bad behavior, the fights, the gossip about affairs, told in hushed and rushed tones on the phone or over martinis in the kitchen at 4 pm, the benignly neglected kids having the time of their lives, unsupervised....those were the days, my friend.

mardi 15 février 2011

Mack the Knife - I just can't help it

Ella did it.

And so did Bobby Darin. Of course.

Louis too, naturally.

More music, 'cuz I feel like it

Old Devil Moon

How about Old Devil Moon, bossa nova style?

And what about Mose Allison. This dude should be declared a national treasure.

lundi 14 février 2011

Bound to piss some people off

On this February 14, Valentine's Day in case you have been living in a man cave without a television, I can think of no better words of wisdom than those I came across this morning. Tracy McMillan has some harsh truths for women who complain that there are no good men out there or wonder why they are single, for whatever reason they happen to be single. Click on the title for a link to the article. And don't shoot me; I'm just the messenger.

A friend of mine who professes to want nothing more than a man of character to hang out with and perhaps marry also says that she is only attracted to men who are edgy. This is the grown-up version of being attracted to bad boys, which many teenaged girls are until they finally realize that bad boys are just that, bad. Inconsiderate. Abusive. Nasty. Liars and so on. Girls grow out of this phase. Females who pass the age of adolescence without losing this childish attitude do not become women. It is actually part of a larger syndrome, which is the idea that the man you love needs to be a certain way to complete you. This is all wrong. A man cannot complete you; only you can complete you. And until you do, there will be no happy ending.

I look around me and see lots of people who are dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with their partner, dissatisfied with their job, dissatisfied with their looks, dissatisfied with life. I see married couples who are dissatisfied and single people who are dissatisfied. The good news is that I also see satisfied couples and satisfied singles. What is their secret? If they are single, they like themselves (which doesn't mean they think they are the greatest). If they are married, they genuinely like their partner (and it goes without saying that they like themselves). This doesn't mean they like their partner to dress like a 60's gym teacher; it means that it doesn't matter one way or another how their partner dresses. Back to the "edgy" requirement. For my friend, this has a fashion component. The guy has to have mastered the Seattle slacker-grunge-rock star roadie look. Personally, I might be a little suspicious of a guy who had taken the time to do this. But never mind; I am so very happy to be with my 60's gym teacher. I feel quite certain it is an effortless look, the 60's gym teacher look.

So Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there with a heart, but especially to the guy who has my heart. Take care of it please. I know you will.

One of the world's greatest love songs. Listen to those horns!

jeudi 10 février 2011

Waiting for Mubarak

What a lovely day this is.

We are all Epyptians today.

The title links to a nice blog by an Egyptian psychologist. Lots of background information about how Egypt got to where it is today and what the Egyptians are basically like: communal and calm.

UPDATE: Egyptians are pissed. I just listened to Papa Mubarak speak to his "children". Not good. Foolish and arrogant man.

mardi 8 février 2011

mercredi 2 février 2011

Three cool cats

Meet Maya, who spends her days hanging out in the lobby/bar of the Les Chansonniers hotel in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

Now meet Erica, or Princesse Erica for her subjects, who lays down the law at a little neighborhood café (with free wifi!) that is also in the 11th arondissement of Paris.

And last but not least, meet Mélusine, who reigns over an apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. She plays hard to get and has a scary stare (look at those green eyes) but deep down is a sweetheart who likes to crawl under the covers and purr from about 4 am to about 7 am.

These are the three cool cats who watched over me while I was away from my ménagerie. I think they realized that I am an animal lover (not everyone is) and as such needed watching over. Maya came and sat on the bench next to me as I ate breakfast while waiting for my hotel room to be cleaned so that I could crash on the bed completely clothed -- coat and shoes included -- for a couple of hours after arrival in Paris. After that, she was never far from me whenever I was in the lobby/bar of the hotel.

Erica pounced on my coat for a nap as soon as I sat on the bench at Le Réfectoire, my office away from my office in Paris (free wifi!). She did this every day, though sometimes she chose my leather bag as her bed. One day, I had to move her to get my coat, which was underneath her haunches. She awoke instantly, hissed, gave me a swipe with her paw and then lay back down to sleep. Okay! I get it! I know who's the boss of me.

As for Mélusine, it took her a couple of days to understand that I had not killed her owners or kidnapped Arsène, their two-year old boy and her best friend. I knew she had warmed up to me when I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt a giant hair on my face. I was just about to swipe it away -- which would have been really bad for me in retrospect -- when I saw two green eyes staring at me and heard the purring of an engine. It was Mélusine, who had not been seen... she let me know she wanted under the covers. That was the beginning of a beautiful though strange friendship. In order for this friendship to work, I had to understand that there were certain places I was not to go. This was not so hard, since they were mainly cat-size nooks and crannies. Who knows what she kept in there? The body parts of prior apartment sitters? One night I accidentally set my left hand on the corner of one of her nooks and regretted it instantly. I heard a hiss and felt her claws as they sunk into the flesh on my wrist. Punishment was swift and effective. I never did that again. Mélusine's two favorite activities, besides disappearing for long periods into her nooks and crannies, were drinking from the faucet and drinking from a regular glass filled to the brim.

Three cool cats, whose lives go on without me in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

mardi 1 février 2011

Stylish old bags

I don't often find myself at the supermarket in the middle of the day. After today's trip, I'm thinking I should venture out midday more often. I do get outside in the middle of the day, but it is almost always to take Neko for a walk in Lincoln Park. The most recent Lincoln Park masher has cooled my enthusiam a bit. He's the guy who feigns shin splints or follows women joggers until he is close enough to fake a fall from behind them, which requires grabbing onto their hips and planting his nose between their butt cheeks. Yes, you read that correctly. He claims he really just happened to fall in this way four times and that each time, the body he reached for to break his fall was that of a woman in spandex.

Anyway, the subject is stylish old bags. I was waiting in line to pay for my purchases and had a look around. I wish I had my camera. The very, very, very old woman at the counter to my left, paying for her dozen eggs with an American Express card, was wearing an off-white, fitted Chanel coat with a matching belt, under which could be seen her chocolate brown tights and matching short boots. She finished off the look with a Louis Vuitton bag (the one in the photo) that definitely qualifies as vintage. It was in mint condition. She was too, and must have been around 90.

Then I noticed the woman in front of me. She was also about 90, but had opted for the more casual Pacific NW chic look. She was a study in mauve, purple and periwinkle blue from head to foot. She had clearly thought about how to layer herself up for the day. She had put on a soft pink shade of lipstick and was wearing lots of eye makeup. The frames on her glasses tied together her lipstick and the mauve wool hat. She looked fabulous.

Against my will I visited the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysées while in Paris. It was under construction forever, or so it seemed, and finally opened its doors in 2005. I am guessing it cost the budget of a small Latin American government to remodel. The resulting concept store - and this should come as no surprise - is completely over-the-top, totally bling-bling. There are tons of photos on the internet, but none that quite do it justice; my camera was certainly no match for the gawdy splendor and sheer volume of the place. And it is a zoo, especially on a Saturday afternoon. Most of the masses streaming in and out are foreign tourists, and I am not going to say how I know that. Monique and I looked at the price tags and scoffed, agreeing that we would never buy anything so obnoxiously branded. Later that evening, an Australian friend who lives in Paris said the French don't buy Vuitton and would not be caught dead wearing it because it is too bling-bling vulgar. But the old lady with the Amex card probably doesn't care what the French or anyone else would think.