Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dig my bones....

I was about to write a post enthusiastically titled "can one love too much ?" as I am in one these moods since these past days, a silly amorous mood which strikes me violently (oh..the object of my passion is the same old guy you can see on my right bar. Monchéri has been away for a month and now he's back I'm all stupid and besotted and hilarious all the time). Instead of a sugary post, here is a very happy post about love and death. As you know, my roots are in a faraway island called Madagascar, l'île rouge...the red island. My younger sister went there last summer in august with her boyfriend and little baby girl to visit my parents near Antananarivo. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to join them and I was waiting impatiently to receive some photos of the family and of a big event called Famadihana. My uncle died two years ago and according to the Malagasy tradition, his bones had been exhumed, washed and wrapped into a long piece of white handwoven silk. Musicians are hired for the ceremony. Members of the family tell stories to the dead body or ask him some advices. I attended a few famadihanas, during my adolescence and have cherished memories of happy smiling faces, the dancing and the singing, food being prepared all day for the family, the neighbors, people of the village and also in honor of the dead. Death is extremely important in Madagascar. The after life must be prepared. We sometimes joke about it with my parents...not in a morbid way I reassure you. There is actually much love involved in all this...

pics by my sister last august

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Romantic collars

I made these collars a few years ago to present them at the Workshop tradeshow in Paris. I think I showed them on the blog earlier. At the time, I wanted to play with the idea of the ruffs or "fraises" which were in vogue in the XVIth century.

today I'm starting a new series of collars without fur, more evening-like with lace and velvet...As it is a grey rainy day here, I feel quite happy and lucky to work at home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The lightness of being on a monday

Is your monday being a bit difficult, too much of a race and not enough time to sit back and breathe ? then I dedicate this feathered card to you. Light as a feather is how I'd love to feel when monday knocks at the door and tells me Come on lazy one, you're late....stop dreaming of
spending the entire day watching the tomatoes grow...
yesterday sunday, my friend Pascale was having an after birthday party so we all gathered at her house to share a big paella
Laurent her husband was having fun, doing the DJ
the night before the party lasted until at 6h30am but we were still a few to dance a little bit more the day after in the afternoon.

and while the parents were dancing, the kids were still playing with water in the early evening

Wouldn't you say life in Andalusia is cool sometimes ?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Give time to flowers....

We will have nardos (tuberoses) until next month. They smell so wonderful in the living room which is also my work room. If I could, I would put bouquets of tuberoses in all the rooms though the fragrance might be a little bit too strong in the bedroom. I bought these last friday at the florist's in my village. As I was noticing the carnations didn't smell much the florist said : pues si...hoy en dia es que no damos bastante tiempo a las flores para que echen su essencia. Las flores crecen a la fuerza y algunas no huelen. Well yes, nowadays flowers are not allowed enough time to develop their fragrance. They are forced to grow too rapidly and some just don't smell.

I’m glad these tuberoses grew in Santa Fe, outside Granada in the air and under the sun.

Time, sun and love….

Isn’t it funny how life can just be beautiful when you combine these three elements? Giving time to friends, which I'm ashamed to confess is one thing I've neglected these past days.

Of course here the sun shines nearly every day, but when I lived in Ireland where rain was more present than sun, I discovered Irish people could create a brilliant sun inside their pubs and through their poetic mind.

Time, sun and love...

Right now, I would love to plant some tomatoes and watch them grow slowly under the sunny Andalusian sky or may be it's not the time for tomatoes yet...

Wishing you a lovely sunday.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Queens and kings...clubs and hearts...

I started a new theme yesterday in dark blue and red titled Lucky

may this king of clubs bring luck to the person who receives this card

This morning I told my friend Ellie about these new cards and told her : you know what? I'll send the king of clubs card to Obama's campaign headquarters to wish him luck!".

On this grey rainy day I also wish to thank my dearest Gillian for featuring my cards on her blog and selling them in her lovely spa shop and two new charming blogging friends Kendalee and Edi for being my first customers for the Xmas cards ! Ah...this magic of blogland...will never cease to amaze me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

purple woollies....cosy sunday, lazy monday

we had rain here yesterday so I didn't have a chance to pick up apples in el campo...
staying at home was equally nice...feeling cozy in my new purple poncho which I now wear all the time...
I have a weakness for purple woollies. Last winter I knitted this piece which I wear as a collar
this sunday I started a simple sweater with a low neckline, low enough to show the black lace of some nice underwear. It's wool and alpaca...Such a nice feel...I love knitting watching movies like Pride and Prejudice or romantic movies with French actress Isabelle Adjani as it makes me feel so romantic too !

Have a cosy, lazy monday !

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rubies for you.....

I was so surprised when my neighbor knocked at my door this morning saying :¿Quieres unas granadas ? Son de mi cortijo.. Would you like some pomegranates ? They're from my orchard...

I cut one immediately and thought you would like to share it with me....virtually speaking....

Pomegranates are good for you especially in autumn...I also like the idea that it is the emblem of the city of Granada
markets in Granada are now abundantly full of typical autumn fruit we find here
azufeifas and acerolas...fruit I never tasted before coming to Spain....
Have a great week end !
perhaps will go you picking chestnuts in the wood ?
I think I'll sneak into someone's orchard on sunday !

Also, thanks to all of you who commented yesterday
on Blog Action day !

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day : yes, I join in.....

-->Today is Blog Action Day to fight against poverty…

What does it mean ?

Thousands of bloggers will write a post related to poverty

What difference will it make to the present state of poverty in the world ?

I think we already know the answer: little steps, little actions, little streams of love, little words which hopefully will grow.

I’ll be sincere…perhaps one year before, I would haven’t joined in, thinking : oh well, others will participate for me. I have no time…I’ve got my own worries. What’s the need of being involved, it won’t change the face of the world in one day, anyway?

May be, having read Maryam's series of posts on Rwanda made me want to react.

May be my job #1 makes me more aware of poverty in the world. (since last summer I do regular translating for the World Bank about their Strategies for the reduction of poverty, mainly in Western African countries)

Certainly the thought of going to Madagascar in a more or less near future, made me ponder a bit more about the ever growing gap between rich and poor countries.

As you know, my parents are from Madagascar. They’ve got lucky. They were born on the lucky side and could get an education, then settled in France, where my sisters and I were born. I went to Madagascar for the first time at the age of 8 for a summer holiday. Until then, I didn’t know what poverty was.
Of course, I was shocked by the kids in rags, begging in the streets. But it’s mostly one little girl I remember who occasionally came to play with us at my uncle's house in Antananarivo. We were of the same age. I soon realized she sometimes had to skip school to help her mother out. It made me sad but then I resumed my quiet happy life in France and totally forgot about her. My parents took us for another journey there when I was 16 and I met the same little girl again. Except that she wasn't that little any more. She had to leave school and was now working selling fruit on the market. Her dream was to eventually get married to a “vasa” (a white foreign man) and escape from her life. Not that she was unhappy or extremely poor. She had food on her plate at least twice a day. But she dreamt of having a future. A better future. I sometimes take it for granted that I had a chance to get an education, to travel when I was 20 and study in the States. I grew more and more conscious about the need for education.
My mother is now commuting between France and Madagascar. She's going back on october 19th. We had a long chat on the phone, last sunday and I was slowly trying to convince her to actively participate to the building of schools in the countryside. It's not done yet but I’m still hoping !'re going to ask me: what did you today on that special Blog Action Day ?

I’ve been naughty and put aside my translation about the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a few hours.
This morning, I updated my etsy shop with the new Xmas cards. I guess the items will appear on the site tomorrow.

I decided to give $0,10 on each card sold to the Fistula Foundation. (you can read more about this foundation here). I heard about fistula for the first time on dear blogging pal P. and it broke my heart to learn that in some parts of the world, women endure suffering when giving birth because of a lack of health care facilities and medical equipment.

Oh I know…there are other zillions of things to take care in this world....

Oh I know….$0,10 per card is trifle….

It’s not much but it’s the least I can do.....with love and caring for women who were not born on the lucky side of the world.

Thank you for reading….

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shakespeare in Spanish......

Since my years at college, I’ve always been a Shakespeare’s fan. Last saturday I was greatly excited to go to the theater in Granada for the first time and see a performance of The Merchant of Venice in..Spanish. Although I do speak Spanish, let me tell you, I had to make big efforts to grasp every word and not being lost in translation.
I was impatiently waiting for Shylock's most famous cue, which we had to learn by heart at school:

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?
If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

The plot is the following :

The story is set in Venice. A young gentleman, Bassanio asks his friend Antonio to lend him some money in order to seduce a beautiful heiress called Portia. Antonio who loves Bassanio cannot refuse. He’s a wealthy man and has ships and merchandise busy at sea but needs to borrow the money from Jewish moneylender Shylock. The latter despises Antonio who insulted him previously but nevertheless accepts the deal on one condition : if Antonio cannot return the money on time, then Shylock will prevail 1 pound of flesh on Antonio's body......

(if you don’t know the play…then I let you discover it...)

portrait of Shylock and his daughter Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb

Although this play is classified as a light comedy, overtime I see it more as a drama and its antisemitic aspect bothers me. In fact the audience didn’t laugh too much. In Shakespeare’s time, English law forbid Jews from living in England so it is assumed that Shakespeare used a commonly spread negative image of Jews in his play. In fact, you might wonder, did Shakespeare mean to laugh equally at Christians ?

pic : the red curtain at Teatro Isabel La Catolica in Granada.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The shepherd

I like shepherds. I often wonder which thoughts go into their mind.

Do they find the day too long ? Are they lonely ?

I like seeing them guiding their goats on a narrow path in the sierra. They usually take them on the hills where thyme grows naturally. And there's a wonderful smell of fresh aromatic herbs in the air, once they're gone.

I wish you a happy peaceful week end

I feel romantic today thinking of Monchéri who's away for a couple of weeks.

I leave you with a few lines from a poem by Miguel Hernandez which he made me discover recently.

Born to a poor family in 1910, Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez spent his childhood as a shepherd and published his first poetry book at age of 23.

These lines are from a poem called La boca (the mouth)

He de volverte a besar,
he de volver, hundo, caigo,
mientras descienden los siglos
hacia los hondos barrancos
como una febril nevada
de besos y enamorados.

I have to return to kiss you,
I have to return. I sink: I fall,
descending among the centuries,
towards the deep ravines,
like a feverish snowfall
of kisses and lovers.
(translation by A.S. Kline)

And lots of kisses to you !

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flamenco addiction...

When I lived in Paris, flamenco was drug, my passion. I took classes 3 times, 4 times a week during 3 years. I never had enough of it. And as soon as I settled down in Andalusia the place to practise and dance flamenco to one's heart content, I stopped ! Go figure.....

You know what happened ? I felt so intimidated by the gorgeous Andalusian dancers - girls and boys...But I've made up my mind to resume the classes and

don't you think dancing should be part of our daily life like eating, talking, walking, laughing and dreaming?

photos in B&W by Tato Olivas

me dancing at a friend's birthday party

Monday, October 6, 2008

Paseo de los tristes en Granada...

This is my kind of monday...Take the day off and walk in the sun in one my favorite places in Granada
Paseo de los Tristes

I had lunch by the fountain....on my own but I didn't mind, the day was beautiful and I love watching the people...

there is always someone playing the guitar....

isn't it a cool place to hang around on a lazy monday ?

photos by your devoted blogging hostess

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Today I want to tell you......

little blogging friends're great !! Thank you for your comments and reactions yesterday. I am so glad that through blogging land Maryam could raise some money for this Rwandan NGO. So today, I feel confident again, smiling, hoping all these tiny grains of sand will in the end bring some happiness where it is needed....

Today i'll be working at home on a no night out in the horizon, no saturday night fever...I'll stay up feeding words to my computer. But if I could, do you know where I would like to go tonight of all nights ?

P A R I S .......because tonight is the Nuit Blanche - white night - the night when Paris turns into an exciting cultural scene : galleries and museums are opened all night, installations and happenings are nearly everywhere in the street...

I miss my city now and then...I miss Le Marais district where I lived...Ok, Parisians can be rude, arrogant at times, actually most of times but who cares when you know it is indeed a marvellous ,inspiring and romantic city...I can't wait to walk hand in hand with Monchéri like these two happy people here.....
after a little walk on Pont des Arts , we would have coffee in one of my favorite cafés ever, Café Marly at the Louvre......
oh....the garçons de café parisiens....what can you say about them ? stylish....
I miss the fantastic bookshop of Artcurial gallery

Are going somewhere special this week end ?
Enjoy !....

photos by your devoted blogging hostess
taken last february
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