Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts....

John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
"As we express our gratitude, 
we must never forget 
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, 
but to live by them."

Still-Life with Oranges and Walnuts by Luis Melendez 
Luis Egidio Meléndez, 1772




File:Luis Meléndez - Still Life with Apples, Grapes, Melons, Bread, Jug and Bottle - Google Art Project.jpg
Luis Meléndez, circa 1771

Happy Thanksgiving!


Luis Egidio Meléndez (1716–1780) was a Spanish painter. 
Although he received little acclaim during his lifetime and died in poverty,
Meléndez is recognized today as the greatest Spanish still-life painter of the 18th century. 
His mastery of composition and light, 
and his remarkable ability to convey the volume and texture of individual objects 
enabled him to transform the most mundane of kitchen fare into powerful images.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Happy Birthday Jil Sander!

Heidemarie Jiline 'Jil' Sander  
(born 27 November 1943)  
minimalist German fashion designer and the founder of the Jil Sander fashion house. 
She was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013. 

Jil Sander’s journey has been one with many ups and downs, as well as ins and outs. 
She founded her company in 1968 and went on to become a prominent minimalist in the 1990s, 
alongside Helmut Lang and Prada.

In 1999, Prada bought a 75 per cent stake in the company, 
but Sander left just six months later due to business conflicts with Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli.

She made a short-lived comeback in 2003, 
but left again the following year because Bertelli wanted to move the brand’s focus 
from clothing to accessories, against Sander’s wishes.

Raf Simons was hired in 2005 and left in 2012, 
when it was announced that Jil Sander herself would be returning.

Last month it was confirmed that she’d be leaving for the third time. 
The brand’s fall-winter 2014 collection will be designed by an in-house design team 
and presented at Milan Fashion Week early next year.


So what now? 

 Jil Sander celebrates her 70th birthday today.

 It’s not unusual for a designer of that age to be active in the fashion industry 
(Karl? Giorgio? Oscar?) 
but maybe the ideas don’t come as easily as they used to. 
She’s probably too jaded to get the same rush from the fashion industry, 
which isn’t exactly surprising for someone who has done so much, 
seen it all and done it all.

to the

Jil Sander


see also my posts about Jil



Text sourcehere

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Grey November...

....and Glimmers of Light

Grey - Grey and Rainy....

....for Weeks and Weeks!

Stormy weather....

A fallen tree...

....our fig tree which has suffered already from two hard winters.
Very sad.

The only glimmers of light in these grey days....

Nandina domestica

commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo, 
native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan. 

 Despite the common name, it is not a bamboo 
but an erect evergreen shrub up to 2 m (7 ft) tall by 1.5 m (5 ft) wide, 
with numerous, usually unbranched stems growing from ground level. 
The glossy leaves are sometimes deciduous in colder areas, 50–100 cm (20–39 in) long, 
bi- to tri-pinnately compound, with the individual leaflets 4–11 cm (2–4 in) long and 1.5–3 cm broad. 
The young leaves in spring are brightly coloured pink to red before turning green; 
old leaves turn red or purple again before falling. 
The flowers are white, borne in early summer in conical clusters held well above the foliage. 
The fruit is a bright red berry 5–10 mm diameter, 
ripening in late autumn and persisting through the winter, 
the spring and even summer (here at La Pouyette)


Oh, wonder - Oh, wonder!....


Due to the lack of sun....

my olives are not ripening.


Then - a few days ago....

...a stripe of light and hope on the horizon

and finally....

a bit of sunshine.....

...and blue sky.

But as quick as the rays of sun appear in the sky...

so quickly have they disappeared...

...and we are back to Grey!


"Glimmers of light"....

...and my quote of the day:

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
Marcus Aurelius

A bientôt...
Our life is what our thoughts make it.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Remembrance Day - A Letter from a close Friend

A reporter’s love for the wounded people of Vietnam 
By Uwe Siemon-Netto

Dear Karin,

I would like you to know that on this Veterans’ Day I am thinking particularly fondly of you.
Your wonderful media pub in Hamburg, Funk-Klause became my favorite watering hole
and provided me much comfort when I needed it most.

When I arrived in Hamburg in 1973 to assume the post of managing editor of a local tabloid,
I had just drawn the line under an exciting but also wrenching assignment as a war reporter in Vietnam. 
Almost half a century has gone by since I was first sent there by Axel Springer Verlag
West Germany’s most important newspaper publisher.

  As you know I have finally written my memoirs.
They are now out in English, and a German-language edition will follow early next year.

Uwe (right) in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, 1965, 
the first major clash between division-size U.S. and North Vietnamese units.

The book is titled, “Đức":
A reporter’s love for the wounded people of Vietnam.
 The word, Đức, in the title refers to the Vietnamese term for German,
and Đức was the nickname my Vietnamese friends gave me.

It reflects my experiences as a journalist but also discusses my work
as a chaplain for Vietnam Veterans in the 1980s.
I don’t know if I have told you this but partly as a result of this Vietnam experiences
I turned to theology, earning an MA and a Ph.D. in this field
and writing a textbook on pastoral care to former warriors,
titled, “The Acquittal of God, A Theology for Vietnam Veterans.”

I have never quite got over the dreadful treatment
these brave young men received at the hands of their compatriots
when they returned from the front with wounded bodies and, worse, injured souls.
All of the nearly 100 vets I provided pastoral care for during my years
as a student of Lutheran theology told me that they had been called
“baby killers” literally on their first day home.

The WRONG Side Won
 (Please note my story in the upcoming December 2013 issue 
of the American Legion Magazine. Uwe)

In the words of Peter R. Kann, the former publisher of the Wall Street Journal,: 
“Uwe Siemon-Netto, the distinguished German journalist, has written a masterful memoir… 
He captures, as very few others have, the pathos and absurdities, the combat, cruelties 
and human cost of a conflict, which -- as he unflinchingly and correctly argues -- 
the wrong side won."

“From the street cafes of Saigon to special forces outposts in the central highlands,
from villages where terror comes at night to the carnage and war crimes visited on the city of Hue at Tet, 1968,
Uwe brings a brilliant reportorial talent and touch.  Above all, Uwe writes about the Vietnamese people:
street urchins and buffalo boys, courageous warriors and hapless war victims,
and the full human panoply of a society at war."

Women and children crouch in a muddy canal 
as they take cover from intense Viet Cong fire at Bao Trai, 20 miles west of Saigon. 
In the background, the paratroopers of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade escorted the civilians
 through a series of firefights during U.S. assault on a Vite Cong stronghold. Jan.1, 1966"
 by Uwe's friend, the German photographer Horst Faas

“As a German, Uwe had, as he puts it, ‘no dog in this fight’, 
but he understood the rights and wrongs of this war better than almost anyone and his heart,
 throughout the powerful and moving volume, is always and ardently with the Vietnamese people.”

Bestseller author Barbara Taylor Bradford calls Đức
“ of the most touching and moving books I have read in a long time.
It is also hilarious… I did cry at times, but I also laughed.......”
read full review on Barbara's blog


Former UPI editor-in-chief John O’Sullivan, my ex-boss,
describes Đức ” as an “angry account of a betrayal of a nation,”
adding, “But there is hope about people on every page too.”

In my epilogue,I raise the timely question 
of whether contemporary democracies are politically and psychologically equipped 
and patient enough to fight guerrilla wars to a victorious conclusion.
Citing the former North Vietnamese defense minister Vo Nguyen Giap’s assessment that they are not,
 I observe in Đức with an eye on Afghanistan,
“Even more dangerous totalitarians [than the Vietnamese Communists] are taking note today.”

Much love,Uwe

Thank YOU my dear friend Uwe, 


Written in English, Duc is available on Amazon. 
It is also on offer in Vietnamese, and a German edition will be published by Brunnen-Verlag Basel 
in Switzerland under the title, Đc, der Deutsche: Mein Vietnam, in early 2014. 

Cover of Uwe Siemon-Netto's book, Duc
showing  the author in a lull of the fighting during the 1968 Tet Offensive in Hué.

“This brilliant book reminds me of Theodore White’s In Search of History,”
commented Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: 
Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. 
 “Uwe Siemon-Netto challenges facets of our flawed historical memory of the Vietnam War,” McMaster continued.
As Herbert Kremp, the former editor-in-chief of Die Welt writes,
“Uwe Siemon-Netto took nearly 50 years to sum up the Vietnam War –
a seldom practiced historian’s virtue presented in reportage style. What a combination!”
"Excellent background and history of the Vietnam war as told by a reporter who was there. 
Important book for all students of history and anyone interested in this aspect of American foreign policy 
with numerous applications to the struggles going on today. 
An engaging and well written book which is a delight to read."
Review by  By Cornelia Richardson on July 17, 2013, at Amazon

Order your book from Barnes And Noble:  


 War is Hell.
An unidentified U.S. personnel wears this sign on his helmet. 
He is with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion on defense duty 
 at Phuc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam. June 18, 1965
by Horst Faas, 
German photo-journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner

War is Hell.


Book description and reviews:  here
Barbara Bradford Taylor blog: here
Uwe Siemon Netto:  here
Horst Faas:  here   and  here

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Quote of the Day:

Nature to be commanded must be obeyed


  Sir Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban

File:Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban from NPG (2).jpg

22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) 
 English philosopher, statesman, 
scientist, jurist, orator and author.


Any move to improve your life, or anything else, 
must begin with a good understanding of what is true right now. 
Not how you would like it to be, 
but how it actually is.
by Joel Wade



Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Monday, 4 November 2013

November - "By Invitation Only" - Post

We have already November...
how fast and where to.... 
is this year gone....?

The theme "By-Invitation-Only" for this month:
A guest post!

Who on earth can I ask to write a post 
(with/including images) for my blog????

After "breaking" my head about it I discussed it with
Marie Claude from my all time favorite French blog
 L'almanach désuet

 And, because we have so many things in common,
we thought why not writing a guest post for each other.

Here is Marie Claude's one in its original French language
and with images taken by herself:

Une petite Histoire autour du Lin....

 "Invitée au marriage de la fille de très bons amis,
 je tenais à faire un cadeau personnalisé, hors liste de marriage.
L'idée d'offrir des draps de lin anciens, teints, était une évidence 
pour la chineuse de textiles anciens que je suis."

"La première étape était d'arrêter un choix parmi les choses 
que j'aime et qui attendent une nouvelle vie."

"Ensuite, mes assais de teinture n'étant pas concluants, je pensais confier deux draps 
à ma talentueuse amie Karin ( blog : La Pouyette), spécialiste du lin, 
qui m'avait fait rêver devant ses merveilleuses teintures gris/bleu/lavande."


"La deuxième étape , et pas des plus faciles, consistait à décider d'une couleur
à partir des échantillons de nombreux essais de Karin".

"Il faut savoir, en effet, qu'il est très difficile d'obtenir exactement la teinte choisie,"


"qui peut varier en fonction de la matière ( lin , chanvre ou coton),"

"du tissage ( souple ou serré), et bien sûr des dosages de teintures."


"Les textures des deux draps étant très différentes, nous savions que nous obtiendrions 
des résultats contrastés, tout en utilisant les mêmes dosages."

I explained to Marie Claude
that every aspect has to be taken into account....
and that dyeing, finding the right color by mixing several colors,
 is a true science in itself!
It can be adventurous! 

"Le gris étant une des couleurs les plus difficiles à obtenir, 
nous avons commencé nos petits travaux de chimie".


"Les différentes étapes durant lesquelles les draps sont restés dans la machine, 
ont suscité de nombreuses interrogations et inquiétudes. 
Quelle serait la couleur  finale?
N'avions-nous pas trop forcé dans le noir?
Le premier drap nous semblait pratiquement noir ou brun..marron ou?!"

"Mais au sortir de la machine, 
voilà le bel anthracite que nous avions obtenu
réparti parfaitement uniformémént".

"C'est en patientant pendant que tournait la machine 
que nous avons euenvie de faire ce post, 
qui s'inscrivait bien dans le thème du " guest post" de ce mois-ci."



"Pendant que tournait le lin, j'ai eu le temps d'admirer les superbes
peignes à carder le lin ou le chanvre qu'a trouvé Karin.
Les voici les photos pour qui n'en a jamais vu."

  18e siècle  (1700's)


....une petite collection de paires Salerons en Argent,
de style Louis XV., fin du 19e siècle"  (late 1800's)

avec ses petites cuillères -  charmant!

 Retour au teinture....
"Une autre grande difficulté à laquelle nous étions confrontées , 
était de parvenir à faire des photos des textiles gris, 
car nos tentatives étaient fort décevantes.
Le gris varient suivant l'éclairage et  l'utilisation du flash.
Ils sont rarement fidèles 
à la couleur réelle, celle que voient nos yeux " .

"Il existe une gamme infinie de cette couleur"

"Ainsi, la serviette basque à bandes indigo, monogrammée, 
teinte en même temps qu'un drap, 
a donné un gris complètement différent, 
qui se voit à peine sur ces photos non professionnelles."

"Au fur et à mesure du séchage, 
le côté foncé au sortir de la machine s'évanouit peu à peu, 
si bien que l'on ne peut pas préjuger à l'avance du ton final."


"Il faisait un temps magnifique, 
idéal pour un séchage en plein air, dans le beau jardin de La Pouyette, 
objet de si beaux posts de Karin."


"Suivant l'emplacement, la luminosité des lieux,
 les gris se transforment en bleus..... .

.....ou redeviennent GRIS, 
à l'interieur."



"Seule, la proximité du blanc , fait ressortir la couleur grise."


"Après repassage, voici mon petit cadeau pour la mariée."


"J'avoue que j'aurai bien gardé pour moi ces deux draps !"

Merci Karin, pour les teintures, 
pour cette invitation,
et pour ces moments partagés, 
autour de :
l'Amour du LIN.

Thank YOU, Marie Claude
for an enchanting time and this lovely guest post!

To read my guest post on Marie Claude's blog 
click   here

 Please visit also Marsha's blog
to read all guest posts from our group