Friday, May 29, 2009

Do you think reciting poetry is outdated or ridiculous ?

If you have been following my blog for a little while, you surely know by now that I'm quite besotted with Monchéri. He's my best friend, my best source of inspiration, he's very generous, he makes me laugh, he can be very moody but it doesn't last and all my girlfriends love him a reasonable way of course. One of the little things I like about him is his ability to suddenly recite verses in a very exuberant way. It doesn't happen often but when it does, I clap my hands and laugh with delight.
I think I should read more poetry, at least get familiar with the work of Rafael Alberti (a contemporary of Federico Garcia Lorca).

When I was at at school, it was common practice to learn by heart poems of Ronsard, Arthur Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire etc..My mother would make sure I memorized each verse and recite in a proper tone. "Tu dois ressentir ce que dit le poète" (you must feel what the poet says) she used to tell me.

Last tuesday, as we were driving through the valley on a country road which leads to the coast, suddenly the sea was there, right in front us, so blue and unexpected....I kept saying "que maravilla, que belleza..." (how wonderful, how beautiful). Monchéri laughed because it seemed I was seeing the sea for the first time in my life. I laughed too and took a serious air before shouting these verses of Baudelaire :

Homme libre toujours tu chériras la mer
La mer est ton miroir ; tu contemples ton âme
Dans le déroulement infini de sa lame

Free man, you will always cherish the sea
The sea is your mirror ; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite rolling of its waves

(translation by Cat Nilan)
Funny how our memory stores lines or verses which had been learnt zillions years ago..

I think we will go to the beach this sunday, to enjoy a bit of fresh air, the sight of children playing with the waves and the smell of fresh grilled sardins.....
I leave you with the first strophe of a poem of one of my favorite poets, Saint-John Perse. It is extracted from Eloges (Praises) -1911. Don't ask me why but this poem to me is the very image of an exotic summer. I love reading it aloud. I love its sensual tone. It also evokes sweet memories of the year I spent at UVa, (University of Virginia) as an exchange student many years ago. The French literature department organized a poetry reading and I chose to recite this poem.

Les viandes grillent en plein vent, les sauces se composent
et la fumée remonte les chemins à vif et rejoint qui marchait.
Alors le Songeur aux joues sales
se tire
d'un vieux songe tout rayé de violences, de ruses et d'éclats,
et orné de sueurs, vers l'odeur de la viande
il descend
comme une femme qui traîne: ses toiles, tout son ligne et ses cheveux défaits

Meats broil in the open air, sauces are brewing
and the smoke goes up the raw paths and overtakes someone walking.
Then the Dreamer with dirty cheeks
comes slowly out of
an old dream all streaked with violences, wiles and splendour,
and jewelled in sweat, toward the odour of meat
he descends
like a woman trailing: her linen, all her clothes, and her
hanging hair

(translation by Louise Varèse - she made such a super job of capturing and translating the exact tone of Saint-John Perse, the English translation is as enjoyable as the original text)

I wish you a wonderful week end
Be dreamy, be poetic !

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Your tag is overdue, madame....

Dear readers, my lovelies, I've been tagged some weeks ago by Dakota Bear and Delphine on six unimportant things which make me happy. I thought it was about time to make an effort and play along ! It's pathetic but I'm a lousy blogger when it comes to tags....So here we go:

Six unimportant things which make me happy :

1 - my little breakfast in the sun

2 - listening to the bird singing in the morning

3 - driving at night

4 - having a nap in the afternoon

5 - cooking with Monchéri

6 - my collages at home

Marc Aurel tagged me, may be one month ago or more (?) with the following questions:

1. What is your current obsession?
I’ve got many ! right now, spending some time on the beach with Monchéri, working on a book project with him which will certainly take some years...planning a design project for next year

2.Which item of clothing do you wear often?
at the moment, a Scholl pair of sandals with mother of pearl sequins. Very comfortable and aesthetic

3.What's for dinner?
too early to say !

4.What are you listening to?
French radio FIP, featuring right now French singer Barbara

5.Say something to the one that tagged you.
Hi Marc, sorry for doing this meme so…late ! and hope you are well.

6.Favorite vacation spot?
that’s a tricky question. Please don’t hate me but sometimes, here I feel like being on holiday most of the time. I work at home, so I guess it makes life more pleasant. I used to go a lot to Ireland.

7. What I'm reading right now?
Ian Gibson’s last essay on Federico Garcia Lorca, Lorca y el mundo gay

Four words to describe myself.
Enthusiastic, dreamy, romantic, impatient

9.Guilty pleasure
plural or singular ? well…dark chocolate in winter, ice cream in summer and ..loafing! but honestly…why should pleasure be guilty ?

10. First Spring thing?
exercising !

11. What do you look forward to?
cliché answer but : tomorrow…les lendemains qui chantent as we say in French, the singing tomorrows

12. Adding one question: What is your most prized possession?
a birthday gift from my parents, a beautiful leather bound 1810 edition of a French dictionary of mythology in 2 vol.

I'm not tagging anyone but please feel free to play along !

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cherries for ever......

Our little saga of bucolic sundays continues with a visit to our friend Antonia who lives outside my village in cherry land or should I say, cherry orchard paradise....I always tell her, I'd never be able to do one tenth of what she achieves every day. Antonia is an artist and she also works hard on her land, picking cherries in summer and selling them, making wine in autumn, growing vegetables. She also has a few goats and makes cheese. Let's add to this, a few hens and roosters, little frogs, cat and dog...When she's in the mood, she takes up her brushes and paints and exhibits her work now and then. I just don't know how she does it all!
The house was built little by little. There was no bathroom, no kitchen

Antonia made part of the floors herself

the sunny terrace....once you sit there, it's quite difficult to make a move
here is our charming hostess
she set up her studio in her bedroom.

because the place is quite cold in winter, Antonia escapes to warmer territories during the winter months

after teatime, it's milking time...The little goat keeps jumping up and down the roof. So cute!
it's also teatime for the goats...yum...plenty of good things which will give a splendid flavor to the milk
wouldn't you like to taste the cheese Antonia makes with such a delicious milk?
tomorrow and during the whole week, there's a lot of cherry picking to do....Monchéri will give a hand
er....I will my own way, that is....Would you care to join ?

Happy monday to you !
I'll be back on wednesday to answer some tags

pics : me, Monchéri

you can see more of Antonia's work on her site

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh cream

Suddenly it's summer here and summer in Granada rhymes with ice cream...but not any kind of ice cream. The true connaisseur goes to Los Italianos, calle Reyes Catolicos, simply because they're the best !

busy little bees in their immaculate white jacket

yo tambien quiero un helado

simple, doble ? cucurucho, una tarrina...que quieres ?

why do you run ? not going to steal your ice cream...
I've got mine...want some? pistachio-raspberry ...mmm...
Can someone explain why pomegranate ice cream doesn't exist in Granada ?

Have a lovely week end !

If I have the courage, i''ll be back tomorrow to answer some tags...if

Los Italianos : one of the oldest ice cream parlour in Granada on calle Reyes Catolicos.
helados artesanales, of course....great choice of flavors and..granizados

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time is my friend.....

I was about to answer some tags today but my mind has been diverted by the very touching post Vicki from French Essence wrote recently about the passing of time. Tara from Paris Parfait also posted a slightly similar post a few days ago on the diktats and dictature of beauty and youngism. Reading both posts took me back to my Parisian life some years ago, before settling in Spain. At that time, I was working as a full time designer and running my own little stationary and gifts business. My girlfriends were mostly young and pretty and involved in the arts and fashion world. One of them worked as a model while finishing her studies at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. She was a gorgeous Eurasian girl and I was ever so flattered when people asked whether we were cousins. We were a gang of 5 girls, often meeting up for tea and cakes, dinner parties, dancing, lots of chatting, lots of secrets told and shared...well the usual things girls do. One day, I got a call from my beautiful friend. She said that she just shaved her hair. Her voice was weird. I went to see her immediately. Something was wrong. We had a long conversation in which she confided her sudden fear of not being able to cope any more. She needed the modelling job to sustain herself, pay for her studies and designs. She felt stressed, she was under pressure, she had not been selected for one special designer show and it annoyed her. In a fit of anger, she had cut her beautiful long hair and decided to turn her back on that world. But in spite of her determination, my friend was fragile and didn't find her balance. That day, when we talked she also confessed her obsession of growing old and she was only in her late twenties ! Naturally I worried for her. I wasn't perhaps the best counselor but I tried to convince her that life brings so much at each age.
One month after arriving in Spain, I learnt through a common friend, that she had committed suicide. I was struck and so sad. It also seemed so foolish. At first I was angry at her, then overtime I accepted her choice. This post is for her and to celebrate aging in beauty...

Here below, Brazilian designer Ronaldo Fraga selects models of all ages. Isn't she just beautiful and radiant ?
How about the smile of this charming Indian lady ?
I love the peaceful face of American Indian writer Twylah Nitsch, the grand daughter of the last medecine man of the Seneca tribe
Another beautiful model in her 50s for Swedish brand Gudrun Sjöden
yes ladies, let's seize the day
and...all the days !

A little reading suggestion ? Nabokov's Lolita pastiche by Umberto Eco, a short story titled Nonita which is about a very young man who lusts after very old women. Highly recommended for a shot of rejuvenating good humour !

pics 1, 2, 3 via Simonetta's colorful

pic 4, via another colorful blog, Kendalee's Dance of a painted lady

Monday, May 18, 2009

in praise of bucolic sundays....

Once again, our little gang got together at Gym's cortijo, yesterday for lunch. To get to Gym's little country house, you have to walk down a stone path and cross orchards and vegetable gardens. I love this door, the only remnant of a former house
Monchéri makes his way through the lush vegetation, carrying sardines in his basket
the little wooden bridge needs some repair but still looks good
the little boys, Lucas and Ivo are already here, ready to get into action

everybody's got something to do. Dave grills the sardines with his little helper
I prepared the grilled red peppers, with garlic and olive oil
Gym made this beautiful salad
Ellie made the apple pie. She's expecting her baby in july. Actually don't you think I look pregnant too ? alas, it's just from eating too much...Monchéri didn't approve of my flower tied round the neck, so here I show him that it can look better in the hair too
Ivo needs to change outfits at least twice, just for the fun of it
after tea, the hamac is quite tempting for a short nap
after we finish cleaning up the table of course
Gym now has two more little guests to feed
...her two little goats...they're so cute and always seem to cry like babies when Gym is away
there is always so much to do...picking up rotten oranges
the little boys are now quiet and concentrate on their painting
Monchéri picks up his book
when the sun goes down, we are all a bit sad to part but...until next time !

Have a great start of the week !
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