Gramercy Park, This is an Emergency! Our Ellie is gone…

Where are you sweet Ellie?!!!!   You left without saying goodbye!!   What the heck?! This is not the way it was supposed to be!!  You fought so hard, for so long, you kept your cool and kicked ALS’s arse so many times that I thought you were going to be THE ONE, the freaking one to beat it! … You deserved it, You earned it !  What the bloody hell! …. YOU DID!  You know what I mean?!

I was waiting for your next stories… you said you had so much to tell us… you promised! …or did you?  I thought you did…  Your last post was so beautiful!  It took my breath away! “The Journey Home” … what a gift you gave us!  -perhaps you knew?  I’m sure you knew it wasn’t this home you were talking about, that’s why you had to come back so desperately… –  The post was magnificent,  just like you my dear, witty, naughty, irreverent you, incomparable and unique YOU, dearest Ellie…  THANK YOU!    God Bless you!!!-   I’m so glad you got to do that, I’m so glad you left France on a high note and I’m so glad you had that magic opportunity to reconciled with your beloved Provence… It couldn’t have been any other way!  You were able to have everything you always loved and enjoyed so passionately and fiercely, in one magic place for one last time … I’m grateful you made it home to your precious Santa Barbara, I’m grateful you made it to “Merica”, that’s all you wanted!

Are you running in Gramercy Park now Ellie?  Are you finally carefree, blissful, unafraid?!  Are you jumping up and down, and skipping over the cracks of the sidewalk, peering into the bottom windows of the brownstones you wanted so bad to be able to afford?  Are you doing all that like you said you would?!   Tell me you are spinning around in circles, hair floating, arms stretched as far as possible, head in the clouds like you always had, face lifted towards the sky staring into heaven with eyes wide open … Please… let us know you are!

I wonder….  If we were really careful, and would pay really close attention, and would keep really quiet … I wonder if we would we be able to hear your laughter mixed with the wind blowing through the treetops and among the roses…

I think you are in Gramercy Park right now…I can almost see you…now you don’t need to bargain with God for five more minutes of freedom anymore my dearest and bravest Ellie, YOU GOT IT … you are finally free, unbounded and limitless…You are finally Home.

Here is one of my favorite post of yours, “Don’t Mind if I Do, Gramercy Park” one that moved and touched every fiber of my soul. I want people to read it and get to know you, I want everybody to have that joy….

What are “We”, your “imaginary friends”  -like Gracie used to call us-   going to do without you?!   It seems like we were part of something special and magic that others won’t be able to understand…  I’m going to miss people I don’t even know!  I’ll especially miss   Penelope Bianchi,  Stephen Andrew,  Heather of Lost in Arles, La Contessa , Hollie of The silver Pen , so very dearly, and others I got to know over there in your brilliant, hysterical, smart, emotional, profound, refreshing, and freakingly honest BLOG  Have Some Decorum

I guess is time to say goodbye … but it seems I’m not able to do that just yet … I’m not ready…it’ll only have to be  à bientôt for now…   I LOVE YOU sweet Ellie O’Connell, and I’ll be seeing you in my dreams.

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And here you are, for those of you who don’t know you, with your husband David, the French guy.   Ashtonishingly  beautiful !

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And here You are with Gracie, Amazing Grace, like you liked to called her!

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…. and here you are with mom… “Look, I can walk!” That’s what you said about this picture!! You blew my mind !  You really never lost it….  you were the coolest chick in town, and still are,  your spirit keeps going on for ever ….

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Don’t mind if I do, Gramercy Park…

 

In Manhattan, New York there is a very special park called Gramercy Park. This park is so special that it’s private and can be only accessed by those #LuckyDucks who live on Gramercy Park. And they get a key. The golden key to Gramercy Park. Be jealous, be very jealous.

But, guess what? As part of an old New York charitable holiday tradition, the gates to Gramercy Park are open to us losers on Christmas Eve! The Gramercy Park church, Parish of Calvary St.George, will also be having carolers starting at 6 PM in the park. This is absolutely not to be missed!

You may be wondering why I am so excited about this. Well, it’s hard to even write this without crying, but Gramercy Park happens to be the last place I was before, minutes before, I was diagnosed with ALS. I thought that I would let you guys in on a chapter of my book about it. I should have my book finished by March but I thought you guys would like a preview of the Gramercy Park chapter.

Here it is…

Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park on the lower East side of Manhattan has always held a special place in my heart. The name alone just sounds cool. Then there is the Gramercy Park Hotel designed in part by one of my favorite artists, Julian Schnabel, with its amazing color scheme of rosy reds, Fire King green and sapphire blues. Then there is the architecture of the brownstones around the park. A little village within a big city. And then there is the garden. The secret private garden to which only a lucky few hold the keys.

I always feel like a little part of me is still in Gramercy Park. Like a little bit of me is still wandering around the park… The part of me that doesn’t have ALS.

As I walked out of the offices of 1stdibs on my lunch break casually walking to the neurologist office for what I thought would be a quick appointment, I never imagined that this would be my last carefree walk. Physically it was not a carefree walk because I had a strange limp and I was worried that every crack in the sidewalk would cause me to fall flat on my face. Mentally, all I was thinking about was the beautiful park.

I walked past the church at the corner of the park and I remember saying to myself, “On my way back from the neurologist appointment, I need to stop at the church and check out their little thrift shop.” I was thinking that I needed to come back to the Gramercy Park Hotel for cocktails later that week with my girlfriends. I was thinking, “God, I wish I could afford one of these brownstones around the park.” My mind floated around thinking how beautiful and lush the little garden was and if the residents who held the coveted key to the garden could grow tomatoes in there.

What I was thinking about was just… Nothing. Now all I think about is… Everything. That five-minute walk in Gramercy Park was the last trace of who I used to be. That girl was like you… She had worries but they were just regular worries. Can I pay my rent this month? Is Gracie getting good grades in school? Does David love me more than his ex-wife? Why are my friends such bitches? Will I ever forgive my father? You know, regular worries. My days were normal…wake up, deal, go to bed. I walked around Gramercy Park that day with my head in the clouds and what I would give to go back to that day.

Sometimes I close my eyes and try to remember that moment in Gramercy Park before I walked into the doctor’s office. I can see it, feel it, smell it and almost taste it. I want to remind myself of who I was before and what it felt like to be carefree. I haven’t been carefree since that day. I want to cherish those few moments and have them emblazoned in my soul so I don’t ever forget what it was like… Before.

Sometimes I beg God to just let me have those few moments of liberty back. Let me just walk around the park again without knowing my fate. Let me be ignorant, let me be blissful, let me be unafraid. If I could just have back a few moments… I would run around that park smelling every flower letting myself get pricked by a rose thorn. I would pop into the hotel and grab a cappuccino. I would peer into the bottom windows of the brownstones. I would skip over the cracks of the sidewalk. I would walk down the tiny broken steps of the church thrift store and pick things up and put them down at my leisure. Hell, I might even stretch out my arms, lift my head to the clouds, start spinning around in circles and sing a little song. At the end of my allotted time, I imagine I would try to renege on my deal with God and I would ask for more time. Don’t make me go forward to my life with ALS. Let me just stay in this park without ALS. Just give me another few minutes… This time I will cherish it, I promise.

So I encourage all of you to get over to Gramercy Park on Christmas Eve…

 

Ellie xoxo

Good Morning Sunshine! Beautiful Inspiration

The beautiful photography of @anatseem

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It seems that now-a-days we find our selves, more often than not, in serious need of inspiration, a lift, a push, something…. Perhaps it’s because we have access to the news 24/7 in so many ways that it’s impossible to escape all the emphasis in the negative. There must be countless acts of heroism and kindness happening all over the world every second but those are not reported. We need them, we need to know of them. How are we supposed to hold on if we only focus on how horrible we are and how low we have allowed our selves to descend?

My heart breaks with so much sadness for all the cruelty and craziness we are exhibiting as a human race. Animals have proven by far to be infinitely better than we are.   In the midst of all this madness I find myself  uplifted and renewed when by chance I get smashed in the face with the beauty of art. Yes, as always and from the beginning of creation, we have the privilege through art to have a glimpse into another soul, the soul of an artist that through his craft show us or remind us of how beautiful life is or can be.

Today I want to share the work of a gifted photographer whose name I don’t even know. I stumbled into her work in Instagram where she goes by @anatseem   I googled her, of course, but couldn’t find any additional information. While looking at my IG a new post of hers showed up and left me speechless. She takes mostly photos of who I imagine is her daughter, silhouettes of her playing in the light. There is a purity and innocence about them and so much love and artistry. I can’t judge photography or other art forms because I’m totally unqualified for the task. What I can do is share the things I love and move me.  I needed this today. I was in serious need of inspiration, my heart needed a hug and she gave it to me through her art. Enjoy and let me know what you thought of her work please and definetly visit her in Instagram.  Have an awesome weekend and make it count!  Thank you so much for visiting, I can’t believe we are aproching 18,000 views already!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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What a wonderful world…

I see trees of green…

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red roses too

Red roses too, I see them bloom…

 

For me and you 

For me and you

for me and you

for me and you

And I think to myselfIMG_8213IMG_8210

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what a wonderful world…


What a wonderful world

  

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I see skies of blue, and clouds of white

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and clouds of white…


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The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

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the bright blessed day

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the dark secret night…

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And I think to myself, what a wonderful world 


The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky

so pretty in the sky 
Chagall


Are also on the faces of people going by

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Picasso

 

Klimt 

 

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of people going by…
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are also on the faces….

 

on the faces…
beautiful faces…

 

I see friends shaking hands, saying, “how do you do?”

Friends

 

old friends…

 

shaking hands…

 

They are really saying….

They are really saying, “I love you.”

I love you 
I love you…
I love you, I do…


  
  

I love you 

I hear babies crying. I watch them grow

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I hear babies crying…
I watch them grow…

  

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know


  


And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…

and I think to myself…
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what a wonderful world…

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world




Louis Armstrong 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring

Spring has taken forever to arrive…. If I wait one more day, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me!  It’s been said that you create your own reality… so here we go!  Spring has sprung and I am happy beyond myself. Spread the Joy!

Keukenhof
Keukenhof, the prettiest gardens!
Naeem Khan Spring and Summer 2015
Naeem Khan Spring and Summer 2015
Holland
Holland, wonder of the world !
Spring in life
Spring in life
Pierre Auguste Renoir
Pierre Auguste Renoir
The colors of Provençe
The colors of Provençe
Flower market
Flower market
DC
Dazzling DC
Fresh and beautiful
A season for gardening!
A piece of heaven on the roof
A piece of heaven on the roof
Two of my favorite things
Two of my favorite things
Dreaming awake...
Dreaming while awake with Flowers and Florence!
The new Spring of life!
The new Spring !  Yes… who would have thought only 30 years ago!
delicious
delicious freshness!
Blooming Branches and chinoiserie vases
Blooming Branches and chinoiserie vases
ranunculous
Ranunculus, aren’t they pretty?!
A swing bed in the garden..
A swing bed in the garden..
Prosciutto wrapped pears with spicy arugula leaves
Prosciutto wrapped pears with spicy arugula leaves
Romantique, vintage, depression glass
Romantique, vintage, depression glass
I can see it, I can feel it !
I can almost see it, almost touch it,  I can feel it !
Chilled avocado and cucumber soup
Chilled avocado and cucumber soup, served with a light and airy parmesan cheese chip
Washington DC Spring Cherry Blossoms
Washington DC’s Cherry Blossoms
Pear, pancetta and feta salad with pomegranate dressing
Pear, pancetta and feta salad with pomegranate dressing
Naeem Khan SS 2015
Naeem Khan SS 2015
Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Italian Feast, Carolyne Roehm
Italian Feast, Carolyne Roehm. I can definitely see myself doing this often!
Can this get any better?!
Can this get any better?!
Gingham Pink
Gingham Pink
I would totally  feel like a southerner bell here..
I would totally feel like a southern belle here..
Lemony cucumber cream cheese sandwiches
Lemony cucumber cream cheese sandwiches
Dreamy!
Dreamy pink canopy
Woman at the Garden, Renoir
Woman at the Garden, Renoir
Spring table
Spring table in the city
I'm feeling the blues!
I’m feeling the blues!
A little piece of heaven
A little piece of heaven
I can't wait for those tomatoes
I can’t wait for those tomatoes…. Tomato, Tomato? Potato, Potato?
Sunshine through the flowers
Sunshine through the flowers! Peonies, my favorite!
Mimosas
Mimosa Bar….
If life gives you lemons...
If life gives you lemons… Yep, that’s what I’m doing right now.
There is something special about Spring and children,  both represent hope and a new beginning, a fresh start....
There is something so special about Spring and children, both represent hope and new beginnings, always a fresh start….
Wheelbarrow of fun
Wheelbarrow of fun
pretty in orange
Pretty in orange
chinoiserie influences
Chinoiserie influences
bring
Bringing the outdoor inside always helps!
Gazpacho
Gazpacho
Bouquet
Bouquet bedazzle
blues
Blues from Provence
Lavender Fields
Lavender Fields
Too much beauty...
Such beauty…
Van Gogh
Van Gogh, I wanted so bad for him to be happy… he seems happy here..
Freckles
Fantastic Freckles,
Greens
Nature’s perfection
Spring,  Pierre Auguste Renoir
Spring, Pierre Auguste Renoir
Emilio Pucci, Spring 2015
Emilio Pucci, Spring 2015
Hyacinth and pink tulips inspiration
Hyacinth and pink tulips inspiration
Oh my gosh...
Oh my gosh… those colors ! Only in nature …
Blueberry beauty
Blueberry beauty
Smithsonian Gardens in DC
Smithsonian Gardens in DC
Spring
Spring mold… of course, I couldn’t just put a regular cake mold or pan here, right? It had to be a SPRING ONE!
gorgeous
Orange pretty!
Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Garden dinner
Patio rendez-vous ! Hound’s Tooth table cloth…
birch cones
Birch cones
table dream
Organic green table
Gorgeous
Gorgeous woman at her best!
family
Family…. who else could sit at this table if not family, or friends who you consider a part of it?!  Freshly picked berries in grandma’s heirloom purple goblets…. long, neatly pressed linen napkins, bought together during a family vacation in Provençe… gorgeous flowers, warm and bright, still infused with Spring’s rays of sun…
lovely bar
Lovely colors and textures awaken my taste buds!
In the city
Peaceful and fun in the city, after you create your own, little paradise…
More bars
How pretty is this bar created with an antique silver tray and an old wicker table?! The Pellegrino cans and  fragrant oranges give this vignette a Tuscan vibe!  (Yes, I can smell the oranges… we have more senses than we realize!)
Tea time... I wish we could bring it back!
Tea time… I wish we could bring it back!
The beach, the perfect place for everything...
The beach, the perfect place for everything…
orange glow
Orange glow…
place to set
A place to set…
night dream
Magical nights begin!
barn lemonade
Barn lemonade, tea and Mason jars
love
Love is in the air, have you seen those velvety peaches behind the flower centerpieces?!… and everything else?!
detail
Wedding confidential..Those candelabras are exquisite!   Can I have a glass of that p-l-e-a-s-e ?! It’s almost too pretty to drink.  Almost.
glorious
Glorious blooms in Holland
chocolate
Chocolate and Berries! match made in heaven
Spring brunch
La vie en rose…
Time to start to create my dream...
Time to start to create my dream… Enjoy your Spring !

Darkness, the absence of Light

Darkness, the absence of Light

The absence of Light
The absence of Light

My father loved poetry, he used to recite poems all the time as he walked around the house. “To Christ crucified”  was one of my favorites, it always managed to move me to unspoken tears … In spite of being too young to comprehend how deep those words were, I always had a profound feeling of respect and sadness at the same time every time I heard them.  The tone of his voice, the intensity and the feeling he had behind those words were powerful…  My father was an agnostic or so he said… I think he wanted to be and tried hard to make others believe he was. There were some moments like those ones when he recited this poem that lead me to believe later on that he was just trying, as strange as it might sound, to protect himself of hope.  Many of us try hard to stop believing so we can’t be hurt anymore. We try to stop believing in real love and decency, in human integrity and character, we try to stop believing in fairness and possibilities, even in God.  We feel all grown up and too smart to believe…even though there is something inside of us that needs desperately to do so and never, ever stops searching, even in all the wrong places, for that light that seems to start inside of us and needs to connect to it’s source, a much bigger and powerful light, in order to continue to exist. It is then, when we cease to believe, that we become broken, empty lanterns without a fire, without a purpose… It saddens me to accept that I, as well, had walked away from the light inadvertently, not completely, not that far, still far enough to experience such darkness… I love little Albert Einstein’s explanation to his teacher about darkness not existing and been impossible to be proven scientifically, he said it is only the absence of light. Researching the story a while ago I found out it was an urban legend… I was heart broken and refused to believe it wasn’t real so I decided right there and then to hold on to it, for as long as I could… too much beauty and truth in it to let go.

My father lost his mother when he was a little boy, I can only imagine how hard it must have been…  I think that had a big influence on him trying to live his life without faith or hope. He never said it but it makes sense to me now… it’s made sense to me for a while actually, specially since he died in September of 2011.  It’s helped me greatly to believe that he actually, deep, deep down, in a dark, quiet corner of his heart, believed… the way he recited this poem with such sorrow and passion…   There were a few things and moments during his life where we were able to see signs of his lost faith since he went to Catholic school. Those moments had given me hope that he has finally reunited with his Mother and that I will see him again, joyful and in peace, without pain, the way it was intended to be… and he will hold me and comb my hair and tell me how pretty and smart I am again…

Father and daughter
Father and daughter

Here is the translated poem and the original.

 Sonnet to Jesus Crucified

I am not moved, my God, to love You
by the heaven that You have promised me
and I am not moved either by hell so feared
as the reason to stop offending You.

You move me, my Lord, it moves me to see You
nailed to a cross and your flesh destroyed,
what moves me is to see your body so injured,
what moves me is your suffering and your death.

What moves me, finally, is your love, and in such way,
that even if there was no heaven, I would love You,
and even if there was no hell, I would fear You.

You don’t have to give me for me to love You,
so even if what I hope for I did not hope,
the same that I love You, I would love You.

—Translated by José Leo O S

A Cristo crucificado

No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte
el cielo que me tienes prometido,
ni me mueve el infierno tan temido
para dejar por eso de ofenderte.

Tú me mueves, Señor, muéveme el verte
clavado en una cruz y escarnecido,
muéveme ver tu cuerpo tan herido,
muévenme tus afrentas y tu muerte.

Muéveme, en fin, tu amor, y en tal manera,
que aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara,
y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera.

No me tienes que dar porque te quiera,
pues aunque lo que espero no esperara,
lo mismo que te quiero te quisiera.

This week, as we remember Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, I better realize what happens when we extinguish the light.  We are surrounded by what we perceived as darkness, we are surrounded by the absence of THE LIGHT.

Is done
It is finished…
The beginning... Vierge Aux Anges, William Adolphe Bouguereau.
The beginning… Vierge Aux Anges, William Adolphe Bouguereau.
The Joy..
The Joy..
The Light
The Light, William Adolphe Bouguereau’s The Virgin of  the Lilies
Bouguereau's Pietà
The darkness, William Adolphe Bouguereau’s Pietà
Michelangelo
The hope, Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. Church of our Lady, Bruges, Belgium.
The sorrow
The sorrow, Michelangelo’s Pietà.  St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
L'Innocence, William Auguste Bouguereau
L’Innocence, William Auguste Bouguereau…. The world making sense !
Caravaggio
Betrayal: To deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty. The taking of Christ by Caravaggio, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
Madonna della Seggiola
Madonna della Seggiola, detail. I am totally captivated with this painting, Mary’s face and expression are beyond beautiful, the look in her eyes mesmerize me !…. I’m at a loss for words
Raffaello's Madonna della Seggiola
Raffaello Sanzio, Madonna della Seggiola, Florence, Italy
The world gone mad...
The world gone mad…
The beauty of colors
The beauty of colors.  The Star of Bethlehem by Edward Burne-Jones. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England.
The Pasion
The Pasion
Of love and family
Of love and family
The teachings
The teachings and examples
Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri
About hypocrisy and cowardly…. Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri
A child ... a Teacher, Jesus in the Temple
A child … a Teacher, Jesus in the Temple
Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  Van Dyck
Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. Van Dyck.  Hosanna!
The last Supper
The last Supper. Leonardo da Vinci.  Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Madness...
Madness… The Elevation of The Cross, Triptych by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.  Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium
Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens, The Elevation of the Cross, I find confusing that both versions are different, no idea which one is the original…
The Beginning
The Beginning
The end
The end
The world as it is supposed to be
The world as it is supposed to be.  Christ in the House of his Parents by John Everett Millais,  Tate Britain, London
Fisher of men
Fisher of men
Jesus with fishermen
Jesus with fishermen by Jean van Orley, in Sint Salvador, Brugge, Belgium.
The Light, the Hope
The Light, the Hope, Leonardo da Vinci
The road
The road less traveled…
We all carry our cross
We all carry our cross
And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time
And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time
King of kings, Lord of lords
King of kings, Lord of lords
Christ crucified
Christ crucified by Diego Velázquez.  Museo del Prado, Spain