Saturday, December 25, 2010

the look I am going for

This 1963 photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt's features Parisian children watching a performance of St. George and the Dragon at the puppet theater in the Tuileries. Isn't it glorious? It's impossible for me to look at it without smiling and smiling. (Note to self: no one ever looks this deliriously happy while watching television.)

I have admired the puppet theaters in Paris for a long time - and this year, for Christmas, I am giving the girls hand-puppets for our someday-coming puppet theater (curtains courtesy of Ikea; craftsmansship courtesy of Dutch).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coming Home

Aud took this picture with my phone from her window seat. I think she is about to surpass me in terms of technological expertise, which is not saying much, but it does cause me to wonder whether, as an old woman, I'll be able to function in the world at all. Sigh. If only Aldous Huxley could see us now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Time

I snapped these pictures (some were part of our Christmas photo shoot) before we left for Portland - for a day and a half, the girls and I reveled in putting Christmas lights and balls and chocolate into jars. When Dutch came home from work I was sitting at the dining table separating candy kisses into color-coordinated piles. "Do you realize you live with three children?" he asked, counting himself as the third. "Most ordinary people cannot live with this kind of temptation." I shrugged and said it was one more reason to be grateful we were leaving home for a few weeks; exempting ourselves from the struggle. It hasn't been so long since we've been gone, and we're having a marvelous time, but I must say one does begin to miss home, sun and all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

happy feet

holly leaves

We are still looking for the french hens, and the turtle doves, but we found the holly leaves. Lots of them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

this old house

Right now heaven is spelled: this old house. It doesn't matter that we're only renting it for two weeks because I plan to treat the house like it is my own best Christmas present. Dutch gets all the credit for finding it - it's not only a short commute for him, it's crammed, floor to ceiling, with old books and artwork. Everything – and I do mean, everything – about it creaks: banisters and stairs, doorknobs and floors, the piano bench and dining chairs, and all three of the four mattresses I’ve tried. Even the gas burner squeaks hell-oo when you turn the little black knob. It’s like a small enchantment, having a conversation with one's place of residence. Unlike most human beings, the house picks up on even the subtlest cues – a tip-toe, a nocturnal change in position, a shift in weight from right foot to left. No matter how small the gesture, it always talks back. And sometimes – in the middle of the night, when it is shiftless, unable to sleep – the house talks to itself, creaking and sighing, and all that is required is that I lay where I am lying, and listen.

Monday, December 6, 2010


This is not an ad for Land's End; but it could be. These are not my children; but I wish they were. In fact, they belong to my old college friend, Al, whose blog will make you want to run outside and make a snowman, whether or not you have children, or a yard full of snow. If I were in the business of exploiting people for money, hers would be the first door I would knock on. As it is, I will remain content to admire her from a distance, and seize every opportunity to enjoy the season - such as, for starters, catching the next plane to Portland to enjoy two weeks of rain and cold!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Most Expensive Book in the World

On December 7th, Sotheby's is set to auction off an original copy of John James Audubon's, "Birds of America." According to an article in last week's Wallstreet Journal, "Sotheby's has valued the book at about $6.2 million to $9.3 million, making it one of the most expensive books ever sold at auction." The original prints, bound in four volumes, were made from engravings of Mr. Audubon's watercolor paintings which he composed between 1827-1838. Given my recent ornithological reflections, I can't say that I am surprised to learn that the world's most valuable book is devoted to artistic renderings of birds... and I suddenly feel rather fortunate to have found an inexpensive copy of "Birds" in the rare books room of the library sale last spring. Not coincidentally, the pink flamingo is currently on its way to being framed and hung up on my bedside wall.