3-29-20 Ephemera (The Covid-19 Edition)

Portrait of Constance-Gabrielle-Magdeleine Bonnier de la Mosson as Diana by Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 – 1766) from The Getty

I am 3+ weeks into this isolation thing and pretty sure at this point I am corona free.  Week 1 of social distancing saw me driving 2000 miles for a work trip where I was essentially alone except for a few food, gas, and restroom breaks.  Made record time getting to my various destinations too, since the highways weren’t crowded at all.  And while I feel very fortunate to be able to work remotely week 2 & 3 have convinced me I am less busy when I work from my office then when I work from home.

I put aside the fears, disappointments, and uncertainty that accompany this pandemic I am actually enjoying having more time to garden, cook, read, and spend time with my family.  I have also been spending a LOT of time on the web (which I am grateful has enough bandwidth to support what seems like the entire country watching ‘Tiger King’ at the same time). Here are a few things that have kept me from going a stir-crazy over the last week.  Here’s hoping one or two will do the same for you…

…hoping you and yours are keeping healthy!

Death don’t have no mercy…

Blue skies & yellow fields

I spent the past couple of months curating and installing The Form of Reform show, which features art and writing from Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution death row population… Continue reading “Death don’t have no mercy…”

In tradition with the family plan…

It’s better to give…

Lately I’ve been thinking about traditions, especially those relating to families.  How they get started, how they become embedded, how we create new ones while maintaining the old, even after those we’ve shared the tradition with move on.  

I dearly miss the rituals I shared with my parents, and if I listen closely enough can still hear them calling me by the nickname only they used. I cherish the silly but touching things my parents did for and with me, which I have instituted with my children, and which we now share with each other (I’m looking at you, birthday song!) And I am so thankful for the new traditions created with family and friends, which continually strengthen our bonds of friendship and love over distance and time.

I am not sure it counts as a tradition but one enduring passion my parents gave me is my love for music. I remember my sister and I used to give them our record wants for Christmas. They would head to Sam Goody and hand the clerk our ‘wish list’, who would ask which they wanted to buy. Their answer was always ‘all of them’.  Over time, my music wants have been replaced by another parent-instilled passion for reading and books. I’ve posted before about the annual ‘gift of 9’ (here and here), which my mom and dad traditionally gave me each Christmas…

…until this year. To my great sadness the tradition is in hiatus and won’t be happening again until someone else I love adopts the gift of ‘9’ going forward.  Until then I am maintaining the practice myself, albeit a little later than normal, with my next nine reads pictured above. 

How about you? What are your favorite traditions? What traditions for you miss the most? Drop me a note…I’d love to know.

*Levon – Elton John

What are you doing New Years Eve?

Happy New Year Baby!

If you know me at all you know I no longer make resolutions based on the calendar. Over the years I’ve resolved to lose weight, starts a business, pay off debt, stop smoking, travel more – you name it and I’ve probably resolved to do it. My good intentions rarely worked out however, leaving me feeling blue by February since I could never make my ‘new’ habits a reality for long.

I’ve adopted the mentality that I don’t need to wait until January 1st make changes to my life, which is quite freeing since I have the power to make changes big and small any day, hour, or minute that I am alive. So do you.

Happy New Year to you and yours and here’s hoping your own resolutions – made tonight or throughout the year – become your new reality!

What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve – Kacey Musgraves

11-30-19 Ephemera (Gift Guide Burnout Edition)

You really CAN find these [questionable] gifts online

Can you believe the holidays are upon us?  I feel like I’ve received a billion emails and insta posts over the last week identifying the ‘best’ gifts to buy NOW for that [insert the identifier for the person you need to get a gift for here] and frankly none of it looks that special to me.  While I am trying hard to get into a gift giving frame of mind I am always down for my favorite holiday of all, Thanksgiving.

For me, it’s a four-day whirlwind of cooking (this sweet potato gratin was a winner!), catching upon some TV and movie time with my favorite culture vultures (including 5-star worthy The Righteous Gemstones, The Irishman, and Knives Out), and catching up on all-things web. Here are a few stories which helped me recover from my tryptophan-induced lethargy……

…here’s hoping you are having a lovely – and long – weekend full of family, friends, and fun!

 

Remember a day before today…

In memory of…

Since the WWI battles in the poppy fields of Belgium these little red flowers have become a symbol of remembrance for soldiers around the world who have died during wartime. When I was little you could buy little cloth versions to wear as a show of thanks. We had the day off from school to attend our local parade honoring the WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam vets for their courage, bravery and sacrifice. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a community or city Veteran’s Day parade and even rarer to see anyone selling, or wearing, these cloth remembrances.

This year I won’t be attending a parade but I will have the honor of sharing breakfast with a group of veterans as part of Vanderbilt University’s Veteran’s Day Celebration. I’ll get to tour a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter, which is used to care for wounded personnel by the Army’s forward surgical teams. Finally, I’ll get to attend a special screening and discussion of war journalist Morton Dean’s documentary American Medevac, which follows his efforts to reunite Vietnam War U.S. Army medevac pilots and crew members with the soldiers they rescued in 1971.

I’m really looking forward to meeting the vets, hearing their stories, and sharing a meal in their honor. If you’re reading this and you have served our country, supported a family member or friend during their war or peace time enlistment, or have a loved one who has given all, please accept my genuine and heartfelt thanks. This poppy is for all of you!

*Remember A Day – Pink Floyd

10-31-19 Ephemera (The Road of Life Edition)

The [Sketchbook] Road

The road we call life can take unexpected and inexplicable turns without warning.  Sometimes those turns are fortunate, sometimes they require a fight, and sometimes they end in chaos and tragedy. Here are a few stories from around the web with twists and turns of their own…

…here’s hoping the twists and turns of your own personal road see you arriving at the destination of your dreams!

Judge a book by looking at its cover….

fall9
The Fall Nine

The Memory Police – Yoko Ogawa | Three Women – Lisa Taddeo | Those Who Knew – Idra Novey | Fleishman Is In Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akner | On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong | Delayed Rays of A Star – Amanda Lee Koe | Bunny – Mona Awad | Opioid, Indiana – Brian Allen Carr | The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna – Juliet Grames


In honor of Banned Books Week 2019 (September 22-28) I’m ordering my next batch of 9 reads which have been on my 2 B or NOT 2 B Reads list for some time.   I’ve really been wanting to read ‘Three Women’ and ‘Fleishman Is In Trouble’ so maybe I’ll chose one of those to begin.  And while none of these books has been placed on a banned list YET, give it time – one or two have the potential to end up on someone’s ‘do not read’  list before long.

I find it amazing that someone could be threatened by an idea in a book, since reading is knowledge and it’s the lack of knowledge which is truly dangerous, but what do I know.  My philosophy is pretty simple – read and let read. If the book offends close the cover and move on but don’t  prevent me from reading the story if I choose to do so.  I’ve written about banned books before (here) and encourage everyone to send the proverbial bird to the book censors among us by reading a few ‘banned’ books because you – still  – can.

*Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover – Bo Diddley

A dedicated follower of fashion…

Long time no post. I fell victim to the ‘dog days of summer’ in its truest sense and haven’t felt inspired to create much of anything, let alone share on social media.  Mostly, I’ve buried myself in work, family, reading (6000+ minutes read for pleasure between May 15 and August 21st), TV (the 3rdseason of Glow, the newest The Great British Baking Show, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and The Righteous Gemstones to name a few) and movies old and new.

I’ve seen Once Upon A Time in Hollywood twice and stumbled upon CBGB shortly after. One has made $124 million and the other $40,000 but regardless of gross both are love stories well worth your viewing time.  Once Upon a Time romanticizes moviemaking’s past while addressing the constant need to evolve and remain relevant while remaining true to one’s own moral code, set against an alternative, fairy tale, mid 60’s LA backdrop.

hippie
California Dreamin’

Zara high leg leather heeled boots | Molly chunky medium hoop earrings | Floryday floral round neckline maxi a-line dress | Tallulah small hexagon sunglasses | J. Crew white denim jacket | Miss Dior perfume | Farm embroidered denim shorts | Chantelle soft stretch bodysuit

Fast forward a decade later to The Bowery and Hilly Crystal.  Hilly was the grandfather of the punk rock music scene who created what is undisputedly one of the greatest music clubs of all times, CBGB’s. The personification of punk, Crystal tried his hand at being a musician, bandleader, booking agent and club owner, only to fail at them all. Even his original idea for “CBGB and OMFUG” failed.  The abbreviation represented  the kinds of music he intended to feature (CountryBlueGrassBlues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers) but he couldn’t get any of those acts to play the club so he took a chance on an obscure a punk band (Television) and the rest is history.

punk
New York State of Mind

Between the Lines turtleneck sweater | Kilian Vodka on the rocks perfume | Jenny Bird Sloane bracelet | Bec & Bridge pink party mini dress | Blondie punky pink muscle tee | Anthropolgie essential houndstooth bootcut trousers | Venus faux fur jacket | Jessica Simpson Pixelle 2 bootie | Rave Krisp-E’s Crossbody bag

Watching both of these music-themed stories got me to thinking about a paper I wrote in college on whether music influenced fashion, for which I earned an A+.  How could music and fashion not influence each other – even decades later as evidenced by the looks I’ve pulled together to relive my inner hippepunk!

How about you? What musical genre influenced your style? Do you still incorporate elements of that style in your wardrobe today? Drop me a line…I’d love to know.

*Dedicated Follower of Fashion – The Kinks

7-23-19 Ephemera (The Cooks and Crooks Edition)

bread
Farmer’s Market Breads

I haven’t assembled an ephemera post for quite some time, mainly because I am at turns feeling uninspired by, overwhelmed with, and/or suspicious of the internet. There are only so many ‘best of’, ‘you need’, and ‘cute [insert here] animals/kids/ kindness’ articles a person can take (or believe). That said, I still get lost down the rabbit-hold of the web with one click leading to another, and realized I am just a little bit consumed by anything having to do with cooks and crooks. In no particular order, here are a few of the articles I’ve enjoyed…

If you are surfing the web because it’s too hot to do anything else here’s hoping you find a good rabbit hole (or three) to fritter away the day with.  Stay cool…