Friday, January 28, 2011

L-House Update: Three

An L-House Update...
1. The song "Sister" from the album Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens.  The lyrics are beautiful.  Listen to this sometime in the summer, at the end of a good day, when the sun is almost down...

What the water wants is hurricanes,
and sailboats to ride on its back.
What the water wants is sun kiss,
and land to run into and back.

I have a fish stone burning my elbow,
reminding me to know that I'm glad
that I have a bottle filled with my old teeth.
They fell out like a tear in the bag.

And I have a sister somewhere in Detroit
She has black hair and small hands.
And I have a kettledrum
I'll hit the earth with you.
And I will crochet you a hat.

And I have a red kite;
I'll put you right in it.
I'll show you the sky.
2. Moss-covered trees...

3. A dark green 1960s MG convertible...

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  If you haven't read it, you should.  It's a rite of passage sort of thing.  But, read it in the fall.  It's an autumn sort of story.

5. Sealing Wax.

6.This recipe.  The pear is so pretty--such a cool bowl, too.  And, what a lovely contrast to the tart!

7. English roses.

8. Floor to ceiling bookshelves.

9. Top hats.
10. Make-believe....Of course.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Edith Head: The Most Beautiful Costumes

Edith Head
Okay, if you didn't know, Edith Head is probably the most famous costume designer for film ever.  She won eight Oscars during her career. Her personality and history provided the basis for this famous Disney/Pixar character.  Edith Head designed clothing for many great films including Sabrina, Roman Holiday, All About Eve, To Catch a Thief, and The Sting.

So, why am I bringing up Edith Head?  There is no particular reason other than that I love beautiful clothing, and I think everyone (especially if they haven't seen the movies) should see these fantastic creations:

All About Eve

Bette Davis in All About Eve
In All About Eve, Bette Davis plays Broadway actress Margot Channing (this movie has fantastic character names).  It is one of my favorite movies of all time, and if you haven't seen it yet-- I urge you to shut of your computer, go to the library, and get the DVD, right now. (A gown with pockets?! Awesome.)

To Catch A Thief

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief
Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief
Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief
In To Catch a Thief, Grace Kelly plays an heiress touring the French Riviera with her mother.  The pair come into contact with John Robie, a mysterious former cat burglar (played by Cary Grant naturally...)  This movie is a highlight of one of the many collaborations between Head and director Alfred Hitchcock.

Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Kay Thompson in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face credit must be given where credit is due.  Not all of these costumes are by Edith Head.  She and designer Hubert de Givenchy collaborated on the film.  Audrey Hepburn plays a "homely" (har har) bookish type, Jo Stockton.  Fred Astaire is a photographer for a famous fashion magazine.  He discovers her and "drags" her to Paris to be photographed as the new face of the magazine.  A wonderful whirl of beautiful clothing immediately ensues... (Fun Fact: the photo with the fish was a complete accident.  In that picture, she's really just shocked that she caught a fish!)

Rear Window
Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Grace Kelly in Rear Window
Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Grace Kelly in Rear Window

In Rear Window, Grace Kelly plays a fashion editor type dating a professional photographer played by Jimmy Stewart.  He is recuperating from breaking his leg and is therefore stranded with nothing to do in his apartment.  Until... he witnesses a murder.  Or, does he? (This is a bit of a pointless statement but, movies with fashion have the best clothes.  It's like how British dramas have the best character names.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

L-House Update: Two

An L-House Update... 

1. Footed bath tubs are possibly the coolest thing ever...

2. Sparklers.  They are beautiful.  Simple, summer-y, and exciting...

3. John Singer Sargent's painting, "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose"

5. "Drama is, 'that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith' poetic faith.  It's a beautiful idea." Geoffrey Tennant, quoting Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in an episode of Slings and Arrows.  (If you haven't seen this mini-series I highly recommend it, and I have no doubt that I will shamelessly promote it in the near future...)

6. Edith Piaf singing La Vie en Rose...

7. Bosc Pears

8. this typewriter

9. Old cigar boxes.  This picture is the same as one I have.  Except, on mine, the clasp is broken.  I have it tied up with a piece of silky turquoise ribbon.  A couple of times a year, I'll untie it and read all of the old letters tucked inside.

10. Jane Austen. (Naturally.)  Therefore, I give you, this Jane Austen blog.  Wow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Been Two Years Since...

The United States inaugurated Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president.

My sister got engaged during a sunset cruise somewhere in Malaysia.  (She promptly texted the family-- I was sitting in the middle of my final AP Gov class with Mrs. Moore-Lobach, and upon seeing the text I...squealed? Shrieked? Yelped?  Mrs. M-L just looked over at me with an "oh Molly" expression on her face and said, "well, what is it?!" So I said, "my sister just got engaged in Malaysia!!"  to which Mrs. M-L said something to the effect of, "Congratulations!  Oh my god.  Am I really that old already?"  ---She had Kate as a student her first year of teaching.---  Anyway, this is how several of my best friends, who were also in the class, discovered my sister had gotten engaged.... So, yeah... that was entertaining...)

And, of course, I graduated high school.

Suffice it to say, January 20 was a big day.

I've been thinking back to that oh so fateful day when, as a student, I drove out of Jamestown High School's parking lot for the last time.  I can still remember the song that was playing in the car...

 Nico's "The Fairest of the Seasons"

Now that it's time
Now that the hour hand has landed at the end
Now that it's real
Now that the dreams have given all they had to lend
I want to know do I stay or do I go
And maybe try another time
And do I really have a hand in my forgetting ?

Now that I've tried
Now that I've finally found that this is not the way,
Now that I turn
Now that I feel it's time to spend the night away
I want to know do I stay or do I go
And maybe finally split the rhyme
And do I really understand the undernetting ?

Yes and the morning has me
Looking in your eyes
And seeing mine warning me
To read the signs carefully.

Now that it's light
Now that the candle's falling smaller in my mind
Now that it's here
Now that I'm almost not so very far behind
I want to know do I stay or do I go
And maybe follow another sign
And do I really have a song that I can ride on ?

Now that I can
Now that it's easy, ever easy all around.
Now that I'm here
Now that I'm falling to the sunlights and a song
I want to know do I stay or do I go
And do I have to do just one
And can I choose again if I should lose the reason ?

Yes, and the morning
Has me looking in your eyes
And seeing mine warning me
To read the signs more carefully.

Now that I smile,
Now that I'm laughing even deeper inside.
Now that I see,
Now that I finally found the one thing I denied
It's now I know do I stay or do I go
And it is finally I decide
That I'll be leaving
In the fairest of the seasons.

The lyrics were unbelieving fitting for the moment.  As I was leaving, all of these nostalgic moments flooded my mind:  

"That's where Nikki and I got the flat tire!" 

"That's the path where Aubrey and I took a walk instead of going to Guys and Dolls rehearsal."  

"Those are the doors Emily and I walked through together on our very first day of high school."  

"That's the column where we all stood before school freshman year.  Right by the attendance office."

In that moment, I wasn't sure if leaving early was 100% the right decision.  I sat in the parking lot skeptically.  I took a breath, glanced back at the school for one last time, and put the car in drive.  As I rounded the corner of Eagle Way and turned left at that stoplight, a magnificent release came over me.  It was all over.  A smile spread across my face.  It felt right to finally be leaving high school early.  It fit.  And, I'm so glad that I did.  Some of the best days of my life were just around the corner, and if I hadn't left, they would be like a beautiful view to which I kept my back turned.  

I just can't believe it's been two whole years.  Time is so odd-- moving so fast and so slowly all at once.  I can still remember my impatience as I waited for the January 20 of two years ago to finally get here.  Little did I know that two more would come and go even faster than the first. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Throwback to: The Songs of Senior Year

Okay, so, with every year or event, there comes a certain set of songs.  The album "Funeral" by the Arcade Fire will always remind me of eighth grade.  The album "Riot on an Empty Street" by Kings of Convenience will always remind me of the summer after ninth grade.  I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately-- or at least in awe of the fact that it's been two years since that bizarre time of my sort-of-senior-year of high school.  I've got a few songs with which I associate January 2009- August 2009 aka "my time off", and here they are...

1. Sisotowbell Lane by Joni Mitchell
I don't really know why this song reminds me of this time after senior year... but, it's lovely.  I guess I just listened to it a lot back then.  Unfortunately, there is no recording of it on youtube.  But, I highly recommend that you look it up on itunes.

2. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon
On a CD Aubrey made me for my birthday.  I listened to this song on sunny days with the windows rolled down on my way to work...

3. Oh Happy Day by the Edwin Hawkins Singers
This song was also on the Aubrey CD.  It was the first track, so I heard it many times.  It's funny though, because in Switzerland, the day after Aubrey got deported, friends of Aubrey's Aunt Laura, Florina and Raffi and their kids, took us (Laura, her two girls, and myself) to dinner at an old Swiss biker-bar like place waaaaay out in the boondocks.  This restaurant is home to some of the best fondue in Switzerland.  The tables are all great slabs of wood that have been slicked over with time and carved up on every imaginable surface with initials and symbols and messages.  Raffi used to frequent the place, back in his motorcycle days, and so the owner new him and Florina by sight.  The owner was basically a cross between Dumbledore and a bar owner (So, Aberforth?).  He had a great white beard and a smile across his old wrinkly face.  Anyway, there was a Juke Box at this place.  I went up and put some money in.  I looked at the buttons, and this title jumped out at me: "Oh Happy Day by the Edward Hawkins Singers."  I clicked it, and it was the exact same recording as the one on Aubrey's CD.  A crazy coincidence, indeed!

 4. Carey by Joni Mitchell
This song is also on the Aubrey CD.  It's one of the best sing-a-long songs ever.  It has such fantastic harmonies.  And, the lyrics are awesome, "let's not talk about fare-the-wells now, night is a starry dome, and they're playing that scratchy rock n' roll beneath a Matalla moon."  Or as I sing it, "let's not talk about fairy-tales now, night is a starry dome, and they're playin that scratchy rock n' roll beneath a m...askdfja moon."  Also a very good one for sunny days with the windows rolled down.

5.Free Fallin by John Mayer
I've never really been hugely into John Mayer but, this was track two on the Aubrey CD, and it flows very well.  I like this song a lot.  It's good for contemplation on a sunny day with the windows rolled down.  (On the way home from work.)  And, maybe a bit of singing along--but only under your breath...

6. Take the A Train by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra
As a nanny, this job to which I so often drove on sunny days with the windows rolled down, the three little girls and I listened to a lot of music.  Their parents had this great CD of old big band classics.  I would put that CD on, and the four of us would have a dance party in the family room. 

 7. Every Disney Song in Creation
I had a few CD's chock full of random Disney songs.  The girls and I listened to them constantly.  Not to mention, we also viewed quite a few of the movies...

8. Out of Habit by Ani DiFranco 
Ani DiFranco is just plain cool.  There's no gettin around it.  My favorite line of this song is, "and the coffee was just water dressed in brown..."  I love that.  It's one of the best descriptions of bad coffee ever.

9. The Mamma Mia soundtrack. 
Again with the dance parties.  A favorite was the song "Money Money Money."  I attempted to find a recording, but it just came up with either the movie or the song in a variety of random languages: Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Norwegian....

10. LOVE by Nat King Cole
I lost count of how many times the girls and I watched The Parent Trap.  I was always there for the beginning, but sometimes I would leave before the movie finished.  Hence, this song always brings me right back there-- to snacks and movie time. (Usually post-dance party).  And, as a side note, this is one of my favorite movie intros ever.

Friday, January 14, 2011

L-House Update: One

For those of you who have never heard of the "L-House", it's a sort of dream-house-and-then-some of mine.  It's something near and dear to my heart and--you'll figure it out in due time. :)  I'm constantly gathering photos, songs, movies, places etc. that remind me of my L-House.  I've decided that every Friday I'm going to put a list of these items on here in a sort of "L-House Update."  So, here we go!  Week One:

In light of the closing holiday season, I've decided to list some of the Christmas presents I received that were very L-House.  I always particularly appreciate these because they are gifts of understanding.

An L-House Update...

1.A glorious pair of navy Hunter Wellies...

2. This bowl.  The inside is so interesting!  They stamped it with an imprint before they fired the bowl.  Also, I love the red symbol-thing on the outside.

3. An hourglass!  How cool is that?!

4. This perfume decanter... for when I'm super rich and the only perfume I wear is extremely snazzy and undiluted stuff from France (or so my dad said...)

5. Due to my sister and brother-in-law's wedding this summer, pictures were a frequent gift.  These will all, most assuredly, be on display somewhere in the L-House:

The Wedding Party (aka a J. Crew ad...); Photo Cred: Wedding Creativo
Me, buttoning Kate's wedding dress; Photo Cred: Wedding Creativo
Kate and me after my toast.  Probably one of my favorite pictures ever. Photo Cred: Wedding Creativo
My sister and mom on their wedding days.  A gift from my dad to the three of us. :)

6. These sunglasses.  Aren't the fabulous?  They remind me on Annie Hall, and I feel like a stylish anachronism every time I wear them.

7.This mirror.  It's a key!  And, be sure to check out the back.

8. The Last Station.  An absolutely beautiful movie starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, and James McAvoy.  The story chronicles the end of Tolstoy's life, and tells of love old and new.  The whole thing is wonderfully aesthetically pleasing, and the soundtrack is absolutely lovely.  It's simple and nostalgically sweet in such a way that it makes me feel as though I'm remembering something that makes me smile... Here's the trailer.

9. This adorable, tiny, antique key.  I wonder what stories it holds... I plan on wearing it on a chain as a necklace.

10.  And, of course, a pair of denim overalls... :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breakfast with Destiny

This whole blog thing is really the girl on the right's fault. Well, hers and my sister's... ;)

My friend Destiny and myself many a moon ago en route to see John Mayer and Ben Folds
Destiny and I met my sophomore--her junior--year at ye olde Jamestown High School. We had gym together.  Destiny, our friend Alexa, and I would walk around the track outside and have discussions and debates on just about any controversial topic imaginable.  This always proved to be a lively discussion given our contrasting political opinions, but we never felt frustrated or put down.  We respected one another.  Once those conversations died down, I would teach them colonial drinking songs I'd learned from working at Colonial Williamsburg. We would sing them everywhere. Joan Glover... White Sands Gray Sands... Here's a Health...

Destiny and I had that Gym Class, Choir, AP Music Theory... and all sorts of shenanigans in between. I think she would agree that logically there is no reason we should still be friends. We're totally different and didn't have too many close mutual friends in high school.  Our friendship should have faded with all the others.  But, ever since she graduated in 2008, we've gone to breakfast at The Five Forks Cafe (what my family affectionately refers to as "The Greasy Spoon) a few times every year.

I get the Feta Omelet (heavenly). She gets the side of Biscuits and Gravy (aka the Southern Belle Special). And then, we have some discussion of anything and everything. She'll tell me about her family (eleven brothers and sisters and a brother-in-law!), and I'll gush about whatever is forefront on my mind. Of course, the favorite topic? Re-hashing the multitude of hypothetical questions we explored in high school. Such as:

If you had to pick five books/movies for the rest of your life, what would they be?

If you could have dinner with five presidents-- which ones would you pick? And, of course, what are you having for dinner??

You are hosting a dinner party. Money is no object. You can invite whoever you want, wherever you want. Go. (Ex. Go on safari in the African veldt in the late nineteenth century with everyone decked out in Khaki safari clothes and then have a “picnic” in the African sunset with good wine, and cheese, bread, and fruit, and then someone pulls out their violin....)

I love that Destiny and I still have breakfast whenever we're both in town. I love how after so many years she and I somehow still manage to talk about anything and nothing despite how relatively unalike we are.

Do any of you have a Destiny? I hope so. I can't tell you how lovely it is to have a friend who is totally removed from your everyday and is solely associated with the comforting bits of your life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Year's Resolution

I realize that it is a bit late... but, who cares?  It's only a few days.  I don't think I've ever actually made a New Year's resolution.  For some reason, this one popped into my head yesterday while I was driving and listening to the wonderful show Out of the Box on WHRO (89.5 FM Monday through Friday 7-9 PM, for yall from Williamsburg).  He plays the most fabulous new music.  Local stuff, Indie rock stuff-- just your general small-band-awesomeness.  I digress.  So, the New Year's resolution?

No more self-deprecating remarks.

I do this far too often.  I don't know why it happens.  Perhaps it stems from a fear that the world will find me a conceited snob?  And, while I do believe that this is a genuine reason, I also believe that many of us are self-deprecating to a fault.  

Why are we so concerned about how others perceive us?  I have a bunch of fabulous friends (not to mention family!) that are probably going to be stickin' around for a while.  They all accept me regardless of my faults.  So, why not be content and be as much of myself as I can?

So, no more, "Yeah... Isn't it sad how much I like Star Wars even though I'm a girl...."  For God's sake! I love Star Wars!  As a matter of fact, I freely admit that I am an avid lover of the fantasy holy trinity: Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, and Harry Potter.  And, I will not say it as though I think it's a bad thing. (This sci-fi t-shirt is hilarious and I want it soooo badly.)

From now on, I'm going to do my utmost to avoid tainting my words and attempting to appear a particular way.  Nope.  I'm just going to state the facts-- pure and simple.

In honor of the new year here is one of my favorite new-year-scenes (which will probably make absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn't seen this movie, one of my all-time-favorites: Out of Africa):

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Head and The Heart

I'm super obsessed with this band--The Head and the Heart.  And, I'm incredibly jealous of my friend Melissa who gets to see them opening for Dr. Dog later this month.  I found them on the NPR website.  It's funny though, I have yet to actually buy the song.  (Too lazy.... too cheap... both...)  So, I keep looking it up on youtube.  I tried to find it on Pandora but, the band is too unheard of!  Imagine that.  Go NPR!

I'm all for the power ballad.  The beginning of this song just made me think of hipster-wannabe-whatnot but then the chorus emerges in a fantastic blend of raw harmony.  Favorite moments?  When the drummer hits the drum with a maraca. (Which I just had to google the spelling of.  Who knew it'd be so simple?)  The way they sound like a train.  Also, how the lead guy's top is a v-necked cardigan and nothing else--that's just hilarious.  But, the thing I love most?  I'm a sucker for any song about stars and losing yourself in something...

Lost In My Mind
The Head and the Heart

Put your dreams away for now
I won’t see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Momma once told me
You’re already home where you feel love
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Oh my brother
Your wisdom is all that I need
Oh my brother
Don’t you worry ‘bout me
Don’t you worry
Don’t you worry
Don’t worry about me

How’s that bricklayin’ coming
How’s your engine running
Is that bridge getting built
Are your hands getting filled

Won’t you tell me my brother
Cause there are stars up above
We can start moving forward

How’s that bricklayin’ coming
How’s your engine running
Is that bridge getting built
Are your hands getting filled

Won’t you tell me my brother
Cause there are stars up above
We can start moving forward

Lost in my mind
Lost in my mind
Oh I get Lost in my mind
Lost, I get lost, I get lost in my mind
Lost in my mind
Yes I get lost in my mind
Lost, I get lost, I get lost
Oh I get lost
Oh I get

Hence, Now is the Time to Begin

I like to write. However, I rarely have opportunity to do so. I mean, I journal and scribble down random whacked out ideas in said journals (unlined pocket sized Moleskine notebooks...naturally.) My savior last semester was a writing class, "Personal Essay". Our teacher, "Lorna", conducted us in an hour of soul-searching. Then we'd write essays about our discoveries and read them aloud for discussion. I'm rather embarrassed to admit the extent to which I relish soul-searching, day-dreaming, pondering, and the like. Despite their cheesiness--they do provide a fabulous outlet for whatever clouds your head. It's like what Lewis Carroll wrote:

"Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said 'one can't believe impossible things.'

'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Thank goodness for dreaminess. Unfortunately, this semester I will have no such outlet. There isn't any room in my schedule. You see, save some lone section of abstract algebra, my major is probably the farthest one could get from a creative writing class. I'm a Vocal Performance major. The majority of my life is spent frequenting a building with a room fondly referred to as "The Diva Lounge"--where the singers hang out. Don't get me wrong. I love it. I like to sing. It's quite nice. But, it does get a bit tiresome spending day in and day out in a place where there is a constant cacophony of sound and a continually unbridled discussion of its production. Everyone needs an outlet of some kind. And, I suppose this blog shall be mine.

I never really thought I'd ever attempt this sort of thing. It's a funky little medium the blog. But, it is the beginning of a new year. Hence, now is the time to begin.

PS. I promise here and now never to use the terms "bloggie" or "bloglet" or any of their derivatives. Also, I'll take this moment to apologize for any future grammar mistakes--however horrid they may be.