Friday, February 25, 2011

cold connecticut mornings

The gentleman and I were in Connecticut this past week for various work appointments. We headed up over the weekend to stay with my brother and his family, and see good friends. A foot of snow still blanketed the ground, and as soon as we arrived Mother Nature sent along a few more inches for good measure.

Winter mornings begin early in New England, as we hear the thuds of children tumbling out of bed and the smell of coffee wafts up from the kitchen. It is cold out and the sun is barely up. And there is frost on the window panes. I love the way it writes a story across the surface of the glass with wild abandon. Within an hour it is usually gone, but for a glorious moment, it tells quite a tale. When my niece was very little she used to climb in bed with me ~ in the "blue part of the morning" as she called it ~ and talk about the magic of those things. Nowadays she just wants breakfast.

Until monday. . .

Here's wishing you a good weekend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

dreaming of england

"The budding twigs spread out their fan, To catch the breezy air. . . " (from William Wordsworth, Lines Written in Early Spring, 1798).

I am still sorting through lots of photographs and notes from London, and will have more to share. However, I am off on another work trip next week, so posting may be spotty in the near future. In the mean time, Anglophiles on this side of the pond may be pleased to hear that you don't have to cross an ocean to enjoy a bit of England:

* The Enchantress: Emma, Lady Hamilton, opened this week at the Grolier Club in New York
* Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, opens next week at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven
* and fresh off her own trip to London, EEE comes to Washington with “Mirror, Chrome & Gin Fizz: Art Deco in Britain” ~ a talk by Emily Evans Eerdmans, March 1, 7:15pm, at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (presented by the Institute for Classical Architecture and the Royal Oak Society) . . . I have my tickets!

Have a wonderful weekend (a long one for many Stateside).


Thursday, February 17, 2011

at ham house

. . . for real! This past saturday I met up with Emile de Bruijn at the Richmond train station. As the sun struggled to make an appearance through thick, grey clouds, we walked along the Thames to that great Jacobean manse: Ham House. Such a wonderful treat ~ not only to be at Ham again, but to finally meet Emile in person (you may read his post on our visit here). After taking an abbreviated tour of the house (still officially closed for the season) we fortified ourselves with tea, sandwiches and scones at the orangery café, and dished about blogging and books, old houses and gardens. Then, being the diligent bloggers that we are, we walked around to take photographs.

I will refrain from telling you much about Ham, as I have written about it before. You may also read about it on the National Trust web site. However, I will say that it is one of those places where you discover something new with every visit, such is depth and complexity of its history.

A special thank you to Emile for thinking up such a lovely outing!

- - - - - -

On a sad note, my parents lost their 12-year-old shih tzu yesterday. She was stubborn and cranky, but had the heart of a lion. And she will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

for emile

A little National Trust wabi ~ flowering jasmine blossoms at Ham House.

One of the highlights of my trip to London was a saturday outing to Ham House in Surrey with Emile de Bruijn. The day began with clouds and rain, but ended with bright sun and blue skies. In between touring the house and gardens and drinking tea, we managed to fit in quite a bit of talking. You may read Emile's post about our day here (I feel like quite the cover girl!), and I will have a bit more about our visit in the next few days. In the mean time, I have started adding my photographs to a London set on flickr.

On an unrelated note, I could not let the day pass without mentioning that Jasper Johns received a Presidential Medal of Freedom today. The first studio artist to do so in 34 years.

Monday, February 14, 2011

a valentine

Just home from rainy London, where even on a chilly grey day, a few lone trees were beginning to show their colors. So, my Valentine for you: a little proof that spring is indeed coming to the northern hemisphere!

More to come this week. In the mean time, here's wishing you lots of love and chocolate.


Monday, February 7, 2011

four years & counting

Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of JCB! Since my first tentative steps into blogging, I have literally dragged my readers around the world. I have met amazing new friends, seen new places. I have fallen in love and gotten married. All in all, it has been an amazing adventure. Thank you all for following along.

This past weekend, the gentleman and I stopped for lunch with a friend at Eden Center, a Vietnamese enclave in Arlington full of restaurants, grocery stores, nail salons, and coffee shops. The last day of the lunar new year celebration, workers were sweeping up spent firecrackers, and the restaurants were packed with revelers. Guided by our friend, we feasted on Vietnamese crepes, papaya salad, shrimp chips, roasted pork and noodles. On our way back to the car, we spotted the first, tentative, pink blossoms. A little sign of spring, and a fresh reminder of things to come.

Expected next month:

* Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf (the author of The Brother Gardeners)
* and The Paper Garden, by Molly Peacock (I have linked it before, but it bears mentioning again)

I am off on another little adventure. Take care, be well.

See you in a week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

trouvée: une jeune parisienne

Inscribed in French: "A ma meilleure amie Hélène, / ceci en souvenir d’une jeune parisienne / en regardant cette / photo pense quelquefois / […] et aux bons moments / [...] nous ensemble à Reims – / 20 Avril 1903 / Loéline Adam." Some of the inscribed words are cut off along the edge, so part of the message is missing. But I suppose this is enough to spark your imagination. {click image to view larger}

Some interesting photography:

* portraits by Hellen van Meene
* on the streets with Vivian Maier (via Chris Storb)
* and a little voyeurism. . .

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I almost hate to flaunt these raindrops ~ as so many of you are buried in snow right now! Last night I lay in bed listening to the rain, and dreading the ice we had been told would come. But, luckily there was only rain. Lots and lots of cold rain.

To distract you from the world outside:

* this amazing discovery
* a bit of old Boston
* the Cult of Beauty
* and some Dairy Queens

Goodnight. Stay warm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

coconut cream pie & other things

Time out . . . for dessert! A gorgeous spread put together by a few good friends to celebrate our nuptials. A belated wedding shower. The theme ~ can you guess it? Yep. . . books & booze! With a side of coconut cream pie.

We are truly spoiled.

We have enough books, wine, Scotch, Port, and sherry to get us through this long, cold winter (and very likely the next).

Thank you friends.


(photo taken on my iPhone, using shakeitphoto)