Friday, September 20, 2013

At The Moment

Anticipating the crisp air of the mornings to come and the extinguishing of mosquitos with the first rainstorm of the coming autumn is my greatest mental past-time these days. Yet with the academic year rolling anew, my spirit soars and a flush of energy rushes over me, every year like clockwork. Below you can find a few the things that caught my interest. I'd love to hear about yours in the comments!

Sartre's Sink by Marc Crick: A DIY book about fixing things around the house viewed through the prism of great literary figures. Makes one want to open a pack of Gitanes (and I don't even smoke!) and contemplate "to be or not to be" about kitchen sinks. The companion books Machiavelli's Lawn and Kafka's Soup are next in line.

Danceries de la Renaissance by Collegium Aureum. Lively dance tunes to put a spring in your step when going about your business.

Tons of figs with gorgonzola cheese. I'll probably get both high cholesterol and blood sugar before fig season is over, but it's SO EFFING GOOD.

Itching to get out the riding boots and get a new candy-coloured cashmere sweater or two, but for the time being I'm still mostly in summer clothes with the occasional pashmina or light jacket over my shoulders for evening and opting for ballerinas instead of sandals. (OK, the pic above could be me right now, minus the coat and plus about 15 lbs)

Seduced by the Ecrin Coleur eyeshadows by Guerlain: that's my kind of makeup. I also want to add Shiseido Salon RD305, a cool red but casual lipstick, to my collection. Since dark berry stains are also very much en vogue for fal 2013l, I'll be using my trusty Black Honey by Clinique with a vengeance.

Pet Peeve
News, broadcasted. There's so much manipulation of news that one never knows who is behind anything. Reading the Net is one solution, but there's so much material out there, it's not always feasible to have a spherical understanding.

Guilty Pleasure
Organizing paper clips, pencils, erasers, markers, stacks of papers etc. "Hold your horses, I'm busy organizing" I scream when interrupted from benevolent forces within the house.


  1. Using your categories, my interests at the moment seem pretty shallow, but they are what they goes: Reading-Still parusing the Vogue September Issue, Eating-venison Summer sausage with smoked cheese, Dressing-In the midst of a buying frenzy of Fall shoes, Beautifying-Loving Le Metier eyeshadows and buying Tom Ford blush, Pet Peeve-Government Regulations especially as they pertain to Medical Institutions, and Guilty Pleasure-Cuir Ottoman.

  2. Ellen20:02

    Eating figs right along with you. Still dressing in summer clothes as the Fall hasn't even begun where I live. Reading L'Morte D'Arthur for the second time. Pet peeve is the obstructionists in our government who have no interest in relieving the poor or middle class. Guilty Pleasure-Eau Duelle.

  3. Heya,
    I stopped watching the news too. Way too much manipulation and never a full story. also news is a huge bummer and brought me down. My friends conversation gives me the things I need to go looking for online and I still never feel as if I'm across any of the subjects. So I listen, google, look and rarely am able to formulate anything resembling a vision.
    Perfume is easier. Loved the camel coat BTW.
    portia xx

  4. Anonymous09:24

    Oh, fresh figs - lovely. As a child in the UK, the only figs we saw were dried and I hated them! They were so chewy and sweet but not in a good way. Fresh figs were a revelation - tender, sensuous and luscious. I've eaten them with soft goat's cheese, but never thought of gorgonzola. That sounds yummy and I will try as soon as possible.

  5. Anonymous10:28

    I'm also feeling the urge to bring out the snuggly cashmere/lamb-swool jumpers and long boots, also that feeling of tingly excitement and change that the cool of Autumn brings. Can’t wait for the leafy fireworks!

    My favourite read of the year has been The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver which came out in 2009 but I missed its debut. Incredibly descriptive book that brings to life the revolutionary 30s in South America then the beginning of the 'witch hunts' of the 1940s in the US. Sounds very political, and it is, but it lives and breathes atmosphere, not to mention the larger-than-life personality of artist Frieda Kahlo. An enormously sensual novel, but it also leaves you feeling like a convert to Anarchism!

    Listening: The beautiful voice and compositions of Scott Matthews, a Brummy-born singer-songwriter with a folk influence whose music has transported me this year and helped me paint.
    Listening to ‘Ballerina Lake’ is like the fragrance of Iris in musical form (findable on You Tube!).

    Talking of painting, my favourite exhibition of the year was the Peter Doig show in Edinburgh’s National Gallery. It’s the first time in a while I’ve had to choke back tears in a public gallery. Looking at his work, it makes me feel painters are allowed to be free again, not tied down by pretentious and empty conceptual art (I love good conceptual art but I think we all need a break from it dominating the art world!)

    Clothes, feel like I’m coming into my own clothes-wise now I’m (finally) established as a full-time freelance artist. Conservative smart tailored work dresses hang unused in the wardrobe, it’s all about casual (hopefully slightly elegant!) comfort now, interspersed with cocktail dresses when the occasion calls for it

    Eating – I love Damson plums at this time of year – cooked with a crunchy crumble, or (the ultimate) made into frozen parfait. I love the look of the purple/black plums too, with their opaque blue/white bloom

    Beauty – Talking about plummy colours, I love my L’Oreal Colour riche ‘Cassis Passion’ lipstick which smells like Lipstick Rose, but better (bit less sweet). Also glad I’m growing my natural hair in after years of dying it darkest brown. Turns out it’s mid-ash brown, a few greys- suits light highlights, less maintenance

    Peeves – Sick of politicians waffling in their sturdy-Dad pipe smoking tones (or if female, Mary Poppins tones) to me, as if I’m an effing infant. Stop telling me lies about cracking down on multi national’s tax avoidance. Oh, and while you’re at it, take a crash-course in Orientalism and Middle Eastern studies before wading in out of your depth!!

    Guilty pleasure, learning to say no if I don’t really feel like doing something

  6. Miss Heliotrope08:06

    Seasonal dissonance again.

    Australia's media is so limited in its ownership & so biased within that, that once a week I read both so-called broadsheets available in Melbourne & try to see if I can recognise any agreement at all - sometimes in the weather.

    Otherwise, it is getting lighter & warmer, and there are rumours of a hot dry summer. Which is chilling, given the rebuild from the last horrifying fires is still happening.

  7. JW,

    no such rec is shallow, after all the books I mention are good fun!
    Yum, love sausage and cheese, there's something about all that gooey fat, isn't there? I have missed this during the hot months of summer, so my newly found appetite is taking hold of the best of me, I'm afraid (*need to practice control*)
    So, is the Tom Ford any good? The lipstick sure is, but any feedback is welcome.

  8. Ellen,

    what a delightful list.
    Morte d'Arthur reminds me of my student days when I was writing a long article on the San Graal as seen through the Malory compilation.
    As to governments opposing the relieving of the poor and the middle class; haven't you seen what's happening here? They're trying to eradicate the middle class in one fell sweep. :-(

    BTW, ladies, I need to get out my Eau Duelle and Cuir Ottoman decants again. You have me tempted.

  9. Portia,

    hi ya there darling!

    Well, it is exactly as you say. So nodding my head reading your comment! The media is so heavily controlled that in the age of the Internet (and with a good insight into what to read, what to check and how to cross-check) one gains a better understanding anyhow.
    The camel coat is delicious, isn't it? Alas, it will be a good two months ahead before I entertain the thought of a coat. We're talking late November. I'm more of a sandals into boots kinda of type and the go-between decisions on dressing are rather puzzling in the mornings, but anyway...let's not complain, I live in one of the mildest corners of the planet. Might as well be grateful.


  10. Jillie,

    I know!! When in the UK all the fruit I saw (except from berries, forest fruit) was sold by the slice or the item. It was particularly funny for me as a Greek to see watermelon sold by the slice, wrapped up in those cling-film thingies. And cast my mind to the squashed and cut in half watermelons our vendors in open air food markets throw away so abundantly. I guess it's scarcity which makes things seem precious.
    Dried figs aren't too bad, they're exceedingly healthy for one, but I think you need to get them from a reputable vendor, first, they have to be freshly dried, as well (they gain a very chewy texture later on which isn't as pleasant) and they also need to be eaten with condiments, not alone.

    Fresh figs are surely nectar by the gods, though, no comparison, I could eat them by the kilo. It's no coincidence that people as far back as 3 thousand years consumed them on the island of Crete and Santorini; the little seeds are found regularly in fossilized excrement (sorry for the unappetizing image) in excavations of drainage sites.(Brave archeologists among us with the use of specific chemicals even reconstitute the scent) ;-)

  11. Rosestrang,

    I am noting down The Lacuna, as I was even't aware of it before you mentioned it! Converting to anarchism isn't a bad idea, you know, judging by what is happening locally, though I'm too pampered, too preoccupied and too spoiled (a bad thing!) for lively action. It does sounds like a fascinating read. Thank you!!

    Ballerina Lake is so dreamy! (Love your parallel) My list of things to listen to is growing. :-)

    It's a good thing that you're growing into your new status (and the exhibitions to suit). Many successes on your way! Re: painting, I find there is an amount of wanting to fit in with what galleries want to show and what the galleries want to show is pretty specific, based on how curates and who funds in the first place; I suppose the question of "was it the egg that made the chicken or the chicken who made the egg" is a bit of a conundrum.

  12. ΜΗ,

    hi there! Waving a hand in salute of warmish weather.

    I do wish for you that this summer won't be as insufferably hot as last one. I know deforestation is no joking matter only too well. Best of lots of interspersed rains even once in a while to keep things nicely moist and unsuitable for burning down.

  13. ahhhh, always seems to me that life starts again in the fall of the year. probably because one can breathe again after the heat & humidity of our summer.

    reading: usually a number of things at a time. top on the bedside stack at the moment is "helen of troy: the story behind the most beautiful woman in the world" by bettany hughes. under that, "the essential rumi". i can't see the rest without moving the cat...

    listening: lots of imogen heap and frou frou for some reason. vivaldi. my usual bellydance playlist in the car. this singer who reminds me of adele but isn't, who did a song used in the "gatsby" movie? (need to track her down.)

    eating: autumn fruits & veggies. FIGS, yes, yes!

    dressing: happy to dust off my boots and velvety things. linen put away, suede out. thinking crimson, sapphire, violet, and utterly obsessed with greens---pine, bottle, jade, chartreuse...

    beauty-making: still searching for the perfect red lipstick for me. (pale & blond; everything is too pink or too orange or too brownish on. ) and need a malachite eyeshadow or khol-stick.

    pet peeve: people who are nasty to---or simply ignore---their children. have seen quite a lot of parenting failure in public places.

    guilty pleasure: pinterest. what a delightful time-suck...

    thanks for the insight into your own autumn musings!

  14. NFS,

    how could I miss your comment when it was posted? Sorry for the delay.

    Noting down some of the things you mention, thank you!!

    As to children, I have become a bit more elastic since having personal experience; sometimes ignoring something is the best way to let it pass over with minimal drama (though I don't tolerate neglect and plain out laziness/selfishness) ;-)

    Pinterest is a wondrous and gratifying time-suck. One has to time their stroll there or it's easy to lose track, I found. (It was my spring guilty pleasure in the corresponding post, I have since managed to get it a bit under control, so I don't end up rushing through the rest of my day! LOL)


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