Archive for November, 2009

Digest 11/27/09: I’m in Holland!…

29 November 2009

…isn’t that veird?

And before that, I was in Florida and I was too busying lounging around eating (Texas) caviar to remember to post Happy Thanksgiving wishes or a weekly digest.

Better late than never.

Moss and slime*, California

No need to reinvent the wheel. During the week, I collect my five favorite articles and then post them Friday. Look for a wide spectrum, and I welcome you to send suggestions.

1.  This little experiment at the hands of Google is hilarious and very clever.

2.  Happy Birthday OoS!

3. A Berkeley perspective goes rogue. Quite.

4.  Is this part of the stimulus too?

5. Do you know about Umuzi Photo Club? Founded by a grade school chum of mine and it’s brilliant. Absolutely worth a dedicated browse and an add to your regular blog routine.  Start with the very simple, very smart photo essay that was posted last Friday.

Hartelijk Thanksgiving!


*maybe it’s because I am below sea level, but everything does seem rather swampy here. plus, you know I love the littlest critters!


Tattoo You

23 November 2009

Remember what I said about cut flowers? That it is their extreme transiency that makes them so decadent? I think the opposite must be true about tattoos: their permanence makes them bold. The vase of posies withering and wilting makes one appreciate the fleetingness of life, but a tattoo is a reminder of the endurance of life, that no matter how long you are here on this earth and no matter what you do and what choices you make and who depends on you and who you are dependent upon, you have got this tattoo with you along the way. Do we get them so that, one day, when we are old and withered and wilting too, we can be reminded that once we were young and lively and courageous? Are tattoos a fountain of youth? A symbol of reassurance to our future (older, wiser) selves?

I don’t know, but I’ve always thought they were cool. Take a look below, recent photos from Garance Doré and Yvan Rodic.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Digest 11/20/09 plus a wee note

20 November 2009


Whew! Sorry I haven’t had a new post this week. Just a crazy time of year, and I had embarked on a delightful upstate tour. Pub dinners with my siblings, holing up and taking a chunk out of my thesis, and a hectic day of work and meetings in Ithaca before hauling back to the District. 

Two pieces of REALLY good news, before you get your links. 1: I am going to Wageningen at The Netherlands for a pre-Copenhagen conference for a few days right after Thanksgiving in sunny Florida. 2: I got an early birthday present, and I’m typing on it right now. It is fast and beautiful, slim and sleek, quiet and accented with a citrusy orange. I just love my new laptop. (As you know, I needed one.)

It’s a nose-to-the-grindstone Friday. But first,

No need to reinvent the wheel. During the week, I collect my five favorite articles and then post them Friday. Look for a wide spectrum, and I welcome you to send suggestions.

1.  Maybe it’s because in about a month I’m going to be that much closer to my fourth decade, but the longevity articles seem to be catching my eye.  Two from the Beeb, on mutant genes and healthy living.

2.  Scotch cures what ails you, but keep the dram wee! From my recent favorite, the FM Allen newsletter: Scotch 101, and the Top Five Single Malts.

3.  All of us do-gooders with a sense of style knew we were on to something. Vogue features Toms (see #3) plus some other good holiday ideas, which you probably can’t afford if you’re truly with me in this cohort.

4.  Not sure about these Copenhagen talks? No one seems to be, but give it a go anyway. Starting a month ago, the events I’ve been attending have featured speakers who have already moved past it and talk about the post-Copenhagen talks, so, Grist, to answer your question, I think, yeah, we might be føcked.

5.  To end, a little humor from Ireland at the expense of the French. I’m loving the Irish these days as I just finished the best book yet of the year, written by a tough little Irishwoman…next month, by the way, I’ll list all the books I’ve read this year, and let you know what you must read and what you can use as a doorstop. 

Feliz Friday my friends! Enjoy the weekend, enjoy the short work week afterward! Courtney

Digest 11/13/09

13 November 2009
The sweet wood ducks that roost above my couch

The sweet wood ducks that roost above my couch

No need to reinvent the wheel. During the week, I collect my five favorite articles and then post them Friday. Look for a wide spectrum, and I welcome you to send suggestions.

1.  Fashion week in Pakistan. Bravo! This gives me hope…

2. Budapest, Berlin, Iran, Obama. And, from the Beeb.

3.  If there’s one thing I love, it’s faux water fowl.

4. Fodder for the eons-old Nicolas Cage debate. (There’s not really a debate, I know.)

5. Powers on Pirate Radio. Check out the week’s best dressed while you’re there. It’s Friday, and it’s (probably) raining, and you can blame it on me.

Soon to come…wish lists, book lists, must have lists…

This rain is making me tired, can you tell? Tonight, to the Himalayan restaurant on 18th. The thought of momos is getting me through the day. Take it easy! Courtney

V Day

11 November 2009
Raising Old Glory at our tent site, S. Africa

Raising Old Glory at our tent site, South Africa


Veterans’ Day, you know, was originally Armistice Day, to mark the end of the “War to end all Wars” (aka The Great War, aka World War I—which implies, of course, that there was a World War II, and thus you see that it did not, sadly, live up to its original name).  Armistice Day was declared in a 1938 Act of Congress to celebrate the cause of world peace, but was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 following the greatest mobilization of our military forces.

Today, if you have the day off, enjoy it. Let us honor those who have devoted their lives. But may Veterans Day moreover serve as a reminder to be a bit nicer to people, to give them the benefit of the doubt. It is no more true than with our nation’s military men and women that we do not fully understand what they have seen and felt. And in general, there is little that feels worse than judging someone, only to later find out something that makes you regret doing so. So err on the side of compassion, and in this way, we can as individuals promote the peace that this day originally intended us to do.

Peace! Courtney

Women who stare at George Clooney

10 November 2009
Montana 2005

How could he? Montana 2005

Saw Men Who Stare at Goats last night in Chinatown and I highly recommend it. Jeff Bridges channels the Dude for a stellar performance as an unlikely hero. If you’re bored at your desk job, you’ll commiserate with Ewan MacGregor’s Bob. Kevin Spacey is utterly detestable but his final line had me in an uproar. Some lovely locks dress Gorgeous George, a quirky misfit with the gifts of gab and of stopping the hearts of mid-sized bovids.

Symphony was terrific as well…some Brahms followed by Prokofiev. Russian violin soloists have such great, throwback style. Actually, the Kennedy Center itself feels like a tribute to Camelot. I wore a fluttery lavender DVF and chucked my aircast to don the highest heels in my closet.

Dinner at Churchkey Wednesday…

Digest 11/06/09

6 November 2009

Honest to goodness, I’m loving the end of Daylight Savings.  Faced with the end of the year crunch in both school and work—and the need to be super efficient so as to negotiate the upswing in holiday season parties—I’m finding the early darkening to be delightfully work-inducing. At home and at work, I’ve got a nice workspace by a window, plenty of elbow room, and a bright, low-hanging table lamp.  Jethro Tull and Carla Bruni radio take turns on Pandora.  I’m bunkered in by ever-growing assemblage of coffee mugs, nearly-finished pints of tea, and a tumbler with the sweet-smelling residue of Cutty Sark. Yes, it’s quite cozy.

Moon rise at Gladysvale, SA

Moon rise at Gladysvale, SA

Get cozy and read these:

No need to reinvent the wheel. During the week, I collect my five favorite articles and then post them Friday. Look for a wide spectrum, and I welcome you to send suggestions.

1.  Now this is sad. What would Hemingway think? I hope it alarms you.

2. Another shocking event, from this week, almost 3 decades ago. So tragic, I can’t believe stuff like this happens.

3.  H1N1 is on everyone’s mind. My sister Chelsey weighs in.

4.  Chanel is all about jade this season. Gucci also goes green, in a different way.

5.  MAD MEN: Did you read this? Read this one, too. And do let me know what you think, if you get a chance.

Off to the symphony tonight…my first trip to the Kennedy Center…cheers! Courtney

Recipe for a Grey Day

1 November 2009
A November of past. Roger's Pass, Alberta.

A November of past. Roger's Pass, Alberta.

One of those grey, marshmellow days welcomes November and Daylight Savings, which is very inviting after last night’s celebration. We’re both prone on the couch, swaddled in fleece, laptops propped, comfort food streaming from the kitchen. When I was a little girl, my mom used to perk me up with vanilla pudding made from cornstarch. It was an old recipe found on the box, and to make it even more retro, she would top the slightly chilled pudding with a fruit cocktail, one of those old-fashioned canned concoctions with one ruby-dyed cherry (two if you were lucky).  Bizarre that I thought of it today after all these years—DC’s fall drearies seem to uncannily remind me of home—but fortuitous, as I was sunnied from the first jiggly spoonful.

Here’s the recipe. It’s simple and you surely have everything you need already.

1. In a medium sauce pan, mix one cup sugar, three tablespoons cornstarch, and one-quarter teaspoon of salt. Next, add two cups of milk, by first adding a quarter cup and dissolving the dry ingredients to form a smooth paste and then adding the other cup and a half of milk.

2. Separate two eggs, beat the yolks for a second or two, and then add the yolks to the milk mixture and incorporate. Next, bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Allow to boil, stirring constantly, for one minute.

3. Turn off the heat and swirl in one and a quarter teaspoons of good vanilla. Immediately pour pudding into several dessert bowls or one big one and refrigerate. After thirty minutes, it will have formed a thin skin on top but the middle will still be warm and this is how I prefer it, but it is excellent completely chilled as well. If you don’t keep little cans of fruit cocktail on hand like my mom did, just snowflake a little powdered sugar on top, or drizzle some chocolate syrup, to garnish.

Old-fashioned cornstarch pudding, to warm the spirits. Enjoy!