The Privilege of Growing Old

I am stuck!  Don’t know what the heck has happened to me, it’s been three months already and I can’t stand looking at the last post I did any longer! I officially hate it, so I left my bed in the middle of the night determined to fix the problem. Enough is enough. I have something to say and it’s been stuck in my throat and heart for a while… My friend Ellie is dying, she is dying really young…and Aging is a privilege, so if you are aging you are so darn lucky.

My friend Ellie is dying with ALS. I’ve never met her, but thousands of us consider her our best friend. She has this crazy beautiful blog called “Have Some Decorum” -you can find it here  – and thousands of adoring followers and friends…she is young and gorgeous, with a loving french husband and a pretty teenager daughter whom she adores and calls The Brat!  Ellie is a California girl living in Paris, she’s hilarious and irreverent, tender and tough, with a dirty mouth and a mischievous brain as quick and bright as a ray of light.  All her friends around the world, myself included, can’t accept the fact that we’re losing her and are praying for a miracle… and I would be all so grateful if you could add her to you prayers too.

To understand Ellie, you have to get to know her, it’s so worth it. I promise!  But you must go way back in her blog to really get her. Don’t make the mistake to judge, just let yourself experience a lesson in life and strength that is rare and remarkable. I found her  in 2014 through Janet from the blog The gardener’s Cottage  Janet had just discovered her and  begged us to pay her a visit, she was smitten and couldn’t stop reading…and then crying…  I started reading and I was hooked. I can only tell you to be prepared to laugh out loud and cry like a child…

I don’t have images of “Real People” growing old with grace, I’ve been told in this post  “Gray is Beautiful, or is it?” that the people in the pictures are rich, famous and photoshoped.  I agree, but those are the only pictures available and until I become a famous photographer and I can produce my own material, this will have to suffice, of course that’s never going to happen, I barely know how to use my camera in automatic and prefer my iphone!

What is true  and will continue to be true is that aging is a privilege not offered to all and that there is remarkable beauty, strength and character hidden in the lines that cover us all.

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Ellie and Gracie in California

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Ellie (Left in red and rhinestones?) and husband David. Don’t know who the lady in red in the middle is.

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So let’s never forget to give thanks for the privilege and beauty of growing old

 

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Thank you for listening…

 

The colorful life of Eddie Ross, Here comes the sunshine take 2

Eddie Ross… where to start?!  The talented East Coast editor of Home and Gardens Magazine brightens any space he enters with his sweet personality, down to earth demeanor, boyish smile and tremendous talent.  He can bring light and color in a masterful way to any room using things we own in combination with family treasures and some very affordable Salvation Army or Goodwill pieces.  His spaces are definitely unique, bright and so darned positive that they can chase the blues away out of any heart in the world.

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And now, with his new book, written in collaboration with his handsome partner Jaithan Kochar, he is on a mission to help us do just that on our own.

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I find myself looking at old images of his work and realizing it has a certain timeless quality to it!

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There was no chance in hell I wasn’t going to include next picture, a tablescape he did in collaboration with Bunny Williams for Christmas!  People at this point might be sick of Christmas Decor, but this is so fresh and creative that nobody could tired of it, even after the holidays.  What an honor to work with Ms. Williams, she is one of the best and most respected decorators in the world and a wonderful and down to earth person as well. I can only imagine how Eddie must have felt working with her, I would have cried. Yes, right there and then, burst into tears!  Not just because of how talented she is but because she is a very real and classy lady who is unaffected and unimpressed with all the fluffies (is that even a word, or I just invented one?!) and pretentious stuff that comes often with the lifestyle of famous and top interior designers.   I could spend hours and hours listening and talking to her, it must have been a rare and delicious treat!  Nothing more on Bunny because of course, I’m going to have a post on her, and even if I try very hard,  I won’t be able to begin to scratch the surface of her contribution to the world of design and her fabulous work. These posts are such a treat to me, to revisit the work of all those incredible people… Priceless.

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What a joyful table…. I can’t stop staring.  Tabletop fabric by Bunny Williams for Lee Jofa, the inspiration for the whole tablescape.

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Eddie used his own antique English salad plates with  Bunny’s Gold Star collection  and his French Opaline Goblets. I love those who are not afraid of change and experimentation, opening new ways in any field and widening our horizons!

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Notice how nicely combined the flatware is with Eddie’s own vintage silver and Bunny’s Paris Flea Market collection

How gorgeous those salt cellars and shakers are as well as that pepper mill?!  It is in the little details, I’m telling you… I always say the same thing! Well, not just me, everybody. 

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I believe this is from the book and makes me just so happy to look at it, you must order the book!  After so many years of whites, browns and grays -which I ADORE-  we really need help to bring color back into our lives and this book will do it. Imagine this: Bunny Williams did the foreword. It means the book is smashing beautiful and perfectly illustrated! Every review I read is calling it: The BEST.   You can order it here:   eddieross.com/modern-mix

This is my first time including links!!! hooray !  Go me!  I hope they work because they make me feel so professional and stuff….  I apologize for any infringements with the authors of anything. If I need to remove something I sadly…not gladly… would do so!  I know, but I’m not going to lie, I love everything here and don’t want to take anything away…

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What a marvelous and happy combination! I hear Pharrel singing!

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The colors and textures, the patterns and all the eclectic goodness going on here is such a treat, it has that collected through time look, that natural and effortless feel, so hard to obtain and it’s so unassuming that will make anybody want to stay forever…

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I believe this is their guest room. I’m surprised of how restrained this room is in regards to color… that means they either compromised or Eddie can do neutrals with an accent color beautifully as well.  Of course he can!  I wouldn’t be surprised though if we find this room changed very soon, I can see orange curtains or at least the natural grasses roman shade painted orange or something like that!

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I am not a fan of the tablecloth colors and pattern but I can still enjoy the whole thing, I think the brass candleholders are lovely, and I am in love with that mirror!

That shows everybody that even things we think we don’t like can look beautiful with the right combination of elements. Very english garden and Art Deco vibes at the same time! Eddie Ross can make anything work but it takes an immense amount of skills and talent to do it so perfectly, and of course great taste and instincts.  I’m a big fan!

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I love the cutlery, those beautiful white, crisp, embroidered linen napkins and fabulous plates!

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I believe this an old photo but still, it’s so “Eddie talented”

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I absolutely adore this palette and the setting! Are those olive trees?! 

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Handsome treasure Hunter!

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Eddie’s vintage brass cart turned into a bar “fabuloso”!!!

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and a reminder that next on the list is Spring!  How can one avoid to fall in love with color with such a display of happiness and effervescent spirit?  Thank you Eddie Ross for taking the stiffness out of the Interior Design butt!

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Eddie and his partner Jaithan Kochar.  I think Eddie looks so much like Derek Hough, from “Dancing with the Stars”  What do you think?!

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Derek Hough…. WOW! right?!

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Eddie Ross … they look like twins separated at birth!

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And last but not least: Eddie and the fabulous and very smart Susanna Salk from quintessenceblog.com

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What do you think?  Are you loving all the color coming back in our lives? How do you feel about brass? Too much too soon or are you young enough that you never got sick of it?

Have a great rest of the week!

 

 

From my Window…. Desde mi Ventana. A Merry Christmas to All

Positano, Italia
From my window I saw summer go by…  from my window, I saw my thoughts go wild… I still wonder why I didn’t get to say goodbye
POSITANO, ITALIA
Oh Summer beautiful … liquid dreams and all…
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Can’t take away the beauty of Autumn or Fall, Winter and cold,  having their own memories their own soul.
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Fire cracking, book diving, dreaming begins again…
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Contemplating that all is possible… didn’t I feel before the same? .
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I find over and over that life repeats itself, I’m always starting over or at least it feels this way…
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…Despite all the beginnings … the decades we left back, some things  will never change, the language of silence, the feeling of touch, those arms and  legs intertwined like an abstract piece of art…
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..A tiny home is enough when your heart is in the right place…
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…waiting is a joy when you know who you are waiting for… When you have somebody else…
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Family oh family … we all have different walks but isn’t it just perfect, isn’t it the best when we can come together putting things to rest, when we can get together and stop?
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…and there they go again, leaving my soul all warm, but I love the sound of silence and I love my time alone…
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Warm wine, cossy feet, a good book …and somebody to share them with…
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I wish you all  tomorrow, along with a cup of JOY, to have someone to share, the birth of our LORD…

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

What a wonderful world…

I see trees of green…

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I see….

Red roses too…

 I see them bloom…

For me and you…

for me and you

for me and you

And I think to myself…

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what a wonderful world…


What a wonderful world!

  

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I see skies of blue…

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and clouds of white…


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And clouds of bright…

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the bright blessed day

The bright blessed day…

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The dark secret night…

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the dark secret night…

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And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!


The colours 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…

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I hear babies crying…

I watch them grow…

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I’m so grateful to be able to appreciate all the blessings we have; Sometimes I still catch myself bothered by minimal things that, under the light of the Paris tragedy , shouldn’t even face me, but I’m spoiled and impatient and need to be reminded how precious life is and how it all can change in a split second.

I’m so grateful for my family, they are my everything, it shouldn’t matter that we live in different places of the country and of the world, what matters is that we are alive and that we love each other and we have each other’s back.

I’m grateful for friends,  real ones, the ones that stay with you when you are down and cheer for you when you are up. They are rare and precious and we should treasure them for the blessing they are.

I’m grateful for the little moments and the little things, those that fill us with joy  and hope, making it all worth it; the moments we hold on to forever to remember anytime we want or need to. We only need to take the time to bring them back, pause for a while and accept them for what they are, presents from God, the opportunity to relive and experience the love again, perhaps not in the same way we would like to, but not less real for that so… We realize as we age, that we almost don’t know anything,  The more we live, the more we learn, the better we understand how little our grasp of the universe is, how minuscule our understanding of  the power of the brain… How limited our perception of the greatness  of the soul!

Today, after complaining for days about my computer’s wireless mouse freezing all the time, after being frustrated because even though I bought a new mouse I still can’t connect it to the computer because I can’t  sinc them!   Today I realized I still have an iPad and an  iPhone to THANK YOU for the more than 16,000 visits to my little blog…  More than 16,000  visits to my only 37 posts…. I’m humbled and grateful…. Even though for some bloggers that number might be small, it is not to me!  it means the world  to see people from all over the world in here, specially all the people from France these last days… I’m GRATEFUL for you all and I’m sending you my love.

I’m writing this on my phone and I’m not good at revising what I write, so forgive me for the mistakes, I just want you to know that I do feel you and I do appreciate you.

Finally and more importantly, I’m grateful for God, for His Love and teachings, for my faith, for always asking me to love and respect all, for asking me not to judge. For expecting me to help and serve others regardless. For asking me to be humble and for teaching me that joy is only found in love and compassion for all, for teaching me that there is no joy in a mean spirit who only looks up for its self and self gratification. For teaching us that we come from light and we come from love, that we are all one and that we need each other to connect with the source of it all. His love.  I’m grateful that my God never asked me to kill and hate others in order to be able to go to heaven and I’m grateful I was never taught otherwise.  Not everybody is that lucky.


 My Thanksgiving tablescape

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Luxemburg garden paris

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Fall Memories…

When my kids were little I use to drive my bicycle everywhere and sometimes I took them with me sitting behind directly on the grill… Oh, my … only the thought of it sends chills down my spine and through my whole body!… It was a time of no helmets and no bicycle paths… we didn’t overthink things as much back then, but some, we definitely should have!

The one who shared those rides with me the most was my little piggy, the youngest of them all, who at the time was going to a Preschool called  “Louis Pasteur”.

One day I arrived to pick him up and found him standing at the door with his little lunchbox waiting for me, very entertained in conversation with the watchman, the school’s security guard who stood there every day and at all times.

Riding with boys...
Riding with boys…

As I approached them he started telling me everything about their conversation and introduced me to his friend – Mommy, this is my friend Louis Pasteur! – he said very proudly and excitedly, I smiled and said hi, but tried to correct him about the confusion. He wouldn’t have it. The watchman WAS Louis Pasteur to him. He had seen him every single day, at all hours standing there, guarding the School,  so he “knew” that was “his” school, Louis Pasteur’s School!   I had to live it alone. Not worth destroying such cuteness!

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Many years later, he told me that he was actually terrified with traffic and the way I rode, sitting there on my bike, in the middle of that traffic and noise, completely exposed… while I thought he was enjoying it …. suddenly one of my sweetest memories was now a horrible one of child endangerment and child abuse!  … I wish I could go back in time, hold him so tight against my heart and change many, oh, so many things, so he would never have to be scared again… at least not because of me…

and now she's coming to pick me up!
…and on top of everything, now she’s coming to pick me up again in that bloody bicycle!
If I could go back in time...
If I could turn back time…

Memories that fall out of nowhere, like leaves in Autumn, surprising and delighting us, just not in this case anymore… and I thought, that maybe if I wrote about it, I could possibly…. I don’t know what I thought…  but we don’t get do-overs in life, do we?…

He grew up to be a US Marine ...
… but he grew up to be an awesomely brave, smart and strong US Marine, in spite of me… or MAYBE, just maybe, even a little bit, because of me! I wish I could know…
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It should be mandatory to go to school to be a parent, it amazes me there aren’t any laws about that yet…
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Moms and boys…
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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