Monday, December 17, 2007

Hump Day Reflections

Outside it's an ice skating rink. Yesterday my car slid down the drive side ways, little scary but was able to make it down in one piece. My fault to, we shoveled one car lane, but not the other. Oh well, maybe it will melt.

We aren't taking the tree out for a pic in the frigid tundra like we'd planned...but thought I'd share anyway, so here it is, nice and cozy inside.

Happy Christmas everyone and may your new year bring you nothing but joy.

Off to the right of us, see you in the new year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book Talk!

This will be the last Book Talk! of the year, and it showcases a "problem" I have in being a bookie [a real lover of books]. My name is Tilly Greene, and I own multiple copies of the same book, sometimes by the same illustrator. "The Night Before Christmas", six copies, five different artists, and I love each one.

Might as well start out with the lady who has shown up in Book Talk! time and again, including a Holiday book. It is none other than Tasha Tudor. Maybe she has the same problem as me, because she not only illustrated the book twice, and they are both different. I don't have a favorite, just enjoy them both equally.

Another person who has already been mentioned, and is here again, would be Robert Sabuda. I think this pop-up is one of his best. This particular book is vivacious and full of wonder, just like the tale it is depicting.

Might as well stay with the trend with Lisabeth Zwerger. This is a gentle and full of dreams offering. There's an other worldly quality to Zwerger's work, and yet is very beautiful.

One of the illustrators I recently found, who I have a few books by, is Will Moses. I like the simple and old Americana feel to his work. The views of his small towns are a joy to see, and the colors used are fantastic.

This is the book I bought this year and if you see it, buy it! This is a wonderful book to give as a gift or have a copy of for yourself. Done with elegant silhouette drawnings, each page shows two views of the same action. The finale is another wow factor. Okay, it's a delightfully delicate pop-up that speaks clearly of what this tale is all about...Santa is on our rooftop. Mr. Puttapipat is on my "list".

There you go, a holiday collection to maybe inspire you to buy a book for someone on your list - or yourself.

Naughty Thought for Monday!

Gives new meaning to bending her over the table.

Energy levels are flickering

Friday the cutie and I decided what to do about the holidays, whether to stay or go, and then went shopping. When we got home, some friends came over and, I confess, the cocktails flowed and I partook plenty of champagne and Baileys. Hence, Saturday started off a little slow, but we got going, shopped some more and stopped off another set of friends to do a little computer T.L.C. and partook some lovely Port from Australia [will have to remember this one for later]. We headed home to make it an early not and ended up have another Baileys next door.

Slept in and am slow to make a move - except the cutie has shown me how to make his chocolate surprise. If it works, then I'll write it up and submit it for "Coming Together: In the Kitchen", a cookbook whose proceeds will be going to 'Action Against Hunger'.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday 13 - 25!

Last week I mentioned having spent some time at one of my favorite places, The Getty Villa. If you didn't know, this museum is a duplicate of the Villa deo Papiri in Herculaneum and houses JP Getty's collection of antiquities. The building has recently undergone almost 10 years of renovations. For a couple of years I spent at least a day a week up here, rifling through their old reading room. It's gone now, and so are many other things, but it is still worth a visit. They now both an indoor and outdoor theater, great lecture series, as well as visiting exhibitions. The one we saw was glass and it spanned ancient, historical, and modern examples of various pieces. I honestly wouldn't have picked this one as being interesting, but it was.

Enough, here are 13 highlights and a couple of low lights.

The Structure
The outside peristyle is still the same - there's something rather relaxing about the Drunken Satyr, and his copatriot in debauchery at the other end. I could spend hours out here in the sun, listening to the water falls.

The east garden is the same as well, small, enclosed and totally peaceful. There are benches running along the path for sitting.

Okay, what's exciting about the roof of a parking garage? Nothing, other than it's a reclamation zone. That's right, despite being in an area prone to earthquakes, landslides, and wildfires, they still made an effort at conservation - kudos!

The inside of the museum circles around the inner peristyle. Nothing changed here, although walls have been put up so there's no more immediate view of the Lansdowne Herakles in his special marble alcove.

Infamous Pieces
The Lansdown Herakles is a key piece to the collection and I think a real stunner. This is one the articles I studied in depth, and let me tell you, having to take pictures of a larger than life cock with a guard standing nearby laughing is no easy task.

There's been a problem with museums around the world and how they obtain some of their work. The Getty is caught up in this area, and the Italian government has asked for the return of this bronze. The Victorious Youth now has his own room, sealed so he doesn't fall apart so I guess he's staying for a long time.

This gentleman, the Getty Kouros [male] was accompanied by notes for the viewers to know of his dubious status - rather ingenious of the curators. He is either a pristine very early archaic [530 BC] statue, or a flawed forgery.

Interesting Pieces
The Dionysus Herm, an odd gentleman with one eye watching you check out his cock and balls. It's hard not to.

The way this goddess is dressed makes the experts believes it's Aphrodite. If you can imagine this, her garments were red, pink, and blue, some paint still remains. What never fails to hold my interest is this lady's marble face. It's amazing how her hair, and most likely a veil, fell, but the face remained intact.

Folds, it's all about how the sculptors were able to make such perfect folds, while still remaining true to the body beneath. Later, came the wet fabric look, where the body is show with a thin piece of wet fabric over it [another incredible approach to stone] but in 475 BC, this was HOT!

Missing Pieces
The boys. I miss them so.

12. This centaur used to be the greeter at the old entrance, overlooking the outer peristyle. He is simply stunning.

13. Ahhh, Marsyas, used to rest just inside the inner peristyle, in the room of smaller greek objects. He isn't large, but he definitely packed a punch.

It's interesting how in contemporary times viewers think these pieces are stunning, but their original state is much more garish, gawdy, and scary looking. Maybe I'll do another list on what the gorgeous marble and bronze sculptures would have looked like all tarted up.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Book Talk!

Last Tuesday I started with my Holiday books, today is the pop-up part of this particular section.

If there is one thing you should know about me personally, it's that I love a good pop-up book. The ones I'm drawn to are those for adults and kids alike - they are full of energy, pop with wow, and are simply stunning.

One of my favorite paper engineers is Robert Sabuda, so it is no surprise I have more than a couple of his books. Using all white pops with colored blocks is what drew me to him in specific, and this style is prevalent in his holiday works like "The 12 Days of Christmas" and "Christmas Alphabet".

Last year Sabuda made a small(ish) "Christmas" pop-up using a few pops from previous books and a new one. Another one was done this year, "Winter in White", but I haven't picked a copy up - space limitation makes me very picky and I think these two books are great for kids or those wanting an introduction to Sabuda in particular or pop-ups in general.

Chuck Fischer may not have elaborate pop-ups like "Great American House and Gardens" and "The White House", but they hold interesting information and are visually delicious. A couple years ago he released "Christmas in New York" and it is a wonderful celebration of how the city celebrates the season. This book closes with a spectacular New Years pop, full of color and speaks almost as the night itself does, without the chill that is.

This year Fischer released "Christmas Around the World". There are pull outs of details and an ornament at the end in both of these - someone who loves the holidays will like both of these.

"Happy Holidays" is one of those tiny books found at the counter and, although they are hard to find now, it is a true gem about receiving a card in the mail. It's all in cream, tiny, simple, and a keeper.

My most unique pop-up in my holiday collection, isn't really a pop-up. Jan Pienkowski's "The First Noel" is both a shadow box and carousel, a fantastic choice for anyone interested in the wonders of paper engineering. Pienkowski is an incredible silhouette artist and here he works his magic in all white against a lovely red background. The book opens all the way up and ties open so it can be set on a table top and viewed in the round.

There you go, a small section of my pop-ups, all focused on the holidays. I hope you're now as drawn to open one of these treasures up and see how incredible they are. Next Tuesday, Book Talk! will look at the last part of my holiday books - all with the same title: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Naughty Thought for Monday!

Okay, you attend a black tie event, you're dresed to the nines and feeling fabulous. Champagne is being passed around with little canapes to nibble on, it's all good. Then you look up and wow, it's a giant glass penis hanging from the ceiling - do you blush, take a picture with your mobile, laugh, or tap the host on the shoulder and voice your disgust?

Me, I'd do the first three!

I cooked!

Ok, earlier this week I told the cutie I'd come up with 3 things to cook when he returned home and he was excited.

Deviled Eggs
Mince and Dumplings
Peppermint Brownies

So yesterday I started with the last one, nothing to heavy and a treat for later. After 3 trips to the market and 1 to the shops for a hand mixer [yeah, I know, who lives in a country for almost 10 years and doesn't own a hand mixer, that would be us], two phone calls to Mom and big sis for help [salted vs unsalted butter], they were in the oven when the cutie came home. After the usual welcome home "things" he lovingly called me a fraud.

Apparently he thought I was cooking from scratch and my Peppermint Brownies mix was bought from William Sonoma [add eggs and butter, the latter of which I messed up], although it was my idea to add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle the accompanying Peppermint Snow on top.

Nevermind, the other two things I'll make this week are from scratch :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Random Ridiculousness...

This is the time of year everyone starts looking for a calendar. It's not my choice this year, it's the cuties so I'm worried. My all time favorite, despite being terrified of birds, has to be the Extraordinary Chickens. It's like pin-ups for the chicken crowd. So what has caught my eye this year that I have no chance of getting?

Naked for a Cause has Australian rugby players stripping down to benefit breast cancer and they do a fabulous job of it.

A similar calendar that also happens to be a work of art is the ongoing Dieux du Stade series and I swear, these guys often show up as inspiration for my heroes...strong, agile, and WOW!

And something different came to my attention, Cofanifunebri, and I'm intrigued. Don't know it? They offer a fabulous mix of sex and coffins. Yup, that's right, but what I'd like to know is: can two people be buried together?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thursday 13 - 24!

The cutie and I spent most of November to the left of us, enjoying ourselves. Friday was spent doing laundry so the cutie had something to take on his trip, and I prepared for the book fair on Saturday. Well, I'm feeling overwhelmed with the to-do's and need to calm it all down so I'm going to share the trip with you all.

1. Our flight was delayed by 2 1/2 hours. This left us with a bunch of drunks who were loud and obnoxious, but that was the worst thing they did. About half way through someone behind us collapsed and there was a dash of oxygen tanks and what not, and the drunks all stared with their mouths opened. Sorry, I'm not a crash viewer, at the worst moment in someone's life, the last thing they need is to be stared at.

2. Because we were to the left, I was the driver - for the entire time. We had our first Prius and it was great. Quiet, faster than I thought - apparently the optimum speed is 65, or so the cutie kept telling me, but I drive 10 over the speed limit minus a couple to make it not worth a policeman's time to pull me over. Okay, I hit the 80's a couple of times.

3. There's a different mindset where I was brought up compared to where I am or to the right of us. People to the left of us don't talk about miles, they talk in terms of how long it takes to get someplace. The drive from the big airport takes about 1 hour 15 to my Mom's, 2 hours with traffic. At one time during this visit we used Google Maps for directions and there it was time with and without traffic! Anyway, this time it took a shocking 45 minutes and there were miles where there wasn't a car to be seen. I kid you not, this has never happened to me, there's always cars on the road.

4. First morning, it was all about settling into the usual. We hit Jean Paul's for coffee/chocolate milk and croissants and sat in the sun relaxing. The jeweler who made my ring [an old family friend] came in for his morning constitution and joined us for a bit - this is what we do when we're there. Next we walked into town and hit Friends of the Library for a couple of books, and last, to the beach to read until someone came to feed the birds - ahhh! Went back to mom's and then dashed across the road to sit at our favorite spot overlooking Rockpile. No surfers, they're working on the hillside so the beach is closed.

5. We made it to my nephew's soccer game on Saturday - he's a speed demon! Anyway, they were winning so we felt comfortable in leaving early to make the local theaters showing of American Gangster - didn't want to have to drive to one of those metroplex things. Wow, what a flick!

6. Big sis took us on her errands day - cutie didn't believe me it was an exhausting endeavor. I've since been told by niece 1 and 2 separately that she tones it down for me. Anyway, we lunched, shopped and found our Christmas tree. If we're here for the holidays we head over to a local farmer and chop one down - but after seeing this gem, we figure a little more fun is in order. What is it? A 7' pre-lit palm tree :-) The tree's been ordered because the cutie worried they'd sell out of them...kid you there will be a pic [maybe I'll set it up outside in the snow - yeah, that's part of why we did it, a palm tree in the snow suits us just fine].

7. Mom was being honored at her work with a special dinner and we weren't sure we were going. Well, once we found out we were going, it was a mad dash out to get the cutie a tie, coat and pants. I wore the dress with inappropriate cleavage with my leather jacket - give us a break, we were on holiday! Nephew was fantastic, dressed up in a coat, tie and real shoes - that's a big deal, and ontime!

8. We did a wine and cheese night up at big sisters house. It was lovely, although I couldn't drink any [an adamant no drink and drive, lost far too many classmates back in high school to this practice and don't need to see it as an adult], although it certainly smelt delicious. They also gave me my b-day pressie - it was back in September - and I LOVE it!

9. Sitting out catching some serious Vitamin D, the brother-in-law and nephew phoned and asked if we wanted to meet down at the cutie's favorite haunt for beers and nachos. We put on some shoes and walked down to join them. After the third round we went across the street to the beach and watched brother in law and niece #3 surf, and nephew swim. Then a school of dolphins came by and we watched them for a while. It was simply divine.

10. Thanksgiving came and we all went up to the big sisters. They hosted a fabulous feast for 13 of us. We watched a little football, chatted with the nieces and nephew, helped a smidgen, ate plenty, and were home in bed for 8:00pm.

11. There was a visit to Fatburger, Ruby's, Husky Boys for cheeseburgers - yummy in my tummy! We also hit the Royal Hawaiian for ribs and lapu lapu's - delicious! Went out to Thai Bros with the big sister and BIL, our anniversaries are within five days of each other, so it was all about celebrations and trying to talk them in to a trip to the right of us so we could show them where all their kids have been. We also visited a new Thai place so I had plenty of tofu to gnaw on.

12. Throughout our time there, and every time we go, Jean Paul's is where everyone met up with us at some point - even my big sister came [JP bothers her but if someone else will order, it's all good]. It's lovely when family and friends come and go from the table. We set something up or just natter for ages while sitting in the sun.

13. The cutie and I did only one organized thing and it was because I hadn't made it up there yet and really [really] wanted to go. The Getty Villa has reopened. This is someplace I spent months of my life at and I wanted to see what they'd done to it and some of my favorite pieces. I think I'll save all the details on this one for another TT. Now, to share with you how the cutie thinks, he was all excited to go because there was a big fire going on at the time and had hopes of seeing flames or something - nope, there wasn't a black cloud to be seen, it was simply lovely!

So, I'm sure you picked up on the trend for our trip...basically we did sod all except sit out in the sun and vegetate. Nice! Now I'm back and it's flippin' frigid! No, this isn't my usual it's 65 and I need a jacket, it's like 30 and to the left of us will be in the 80's tomorrow! It snowed on Sunday, on top of all the leaves that fell the day after we left - ahhh, the joy of Autumn. So beautiful and done in a few weeks, now we're left with copious amounts of leaf blowing. Bring on the hot chocolate!

Book Talk!

It's December and, after taking a look at my shelves for Book Talk, its apparent I love children's Christmas books so I guess we'll look at those. A little secret I don't often reveal is that it's often the illustrations of a picture book that will have me picking it up off the shelves to look at - that's for unknown to me authors/illustrators. Anyway, let's jump in and check out some of the holiday books in my collection.

I've mentioned this author/illustrator before, Tasha Tudor, but what you don't know is that my sister and I received this book , Take Joy, in our advent calendar one year when we were young. It's a true gem of a book, full of music, stories, poems, and more. Also on my shelves are two paperbacks, The Christmas Cat and The Doll's Christmas, and her most recent book Corgiville Christmas .

Another blast from the past for many that can be found upstairs on the shelves would be Holly Hobbie. Her Toot & Puddle pigs are favorites of mine, they're often sent out as gifts for little ones. Let it Snow was just released and said to be her last with the two porcine cuties, but I think the real treasure would be I'll Be Home for Christmas .

A more recent illustrator I follow and collect is Lisabeth Zwerger. She's fabulous, and in fact has a new Gift of the Magi out, but I haven't done it. The holiday books of her that I have on my shelves are A Christmas Carol and Nutcracker . Her drawings are incredible, thought provoking for children's book, if you get a chance check out her Wizard of Oz.

As far as I can tell, Elise Primavera has only written and illustrated Auntie Claus and Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas , and that's fine. There're beautiful, vibrant, and scream with fun for kids.

When it comes to the best Christmas story in this group, it has to be Audrey Wood's A Cowboy Christmas . I remember the day I bought this one. Robert Florczak's paintings had me picking it up off the shelf, but the story had me crying. This book is a true gem that every family should have and read together.

I'm on one of those people who, if I like someone's work, must have everything they've done. British author/illustrator Camilla Ashforth has a lovely trilogy about a bear, and Willow at Christmas is a part of this set. Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig have are the author/illustrator duo for Angelina Ballerina...a few of these are signed, yup, I'm that big of a fan from the start of this series, and Angelina's Christmas is there with all the others [although I'm missing Alexander and the Magic Boat]. Ahhh, then there's Mariana's Miss Flora McFlimsey series. Wow, I even remember the bookshop these came and the owner who read stories out loud to anyone who wanted - Going on a Bear Hunt was always my favorite. Miss Flora McFlimsey's Christmas Eve , one of seven, unfortunately I'm still on the hunt for two more [Miss Flora McFlimsey and Little Laughing Water and Miss Flora McFlimsdey and the Little Red Schoolhouse]. Another author/illustrator I collect and often give out as a gift is Ian Falconer's Olivia - a wonderfully independent pig if there ever was one. Every little girl needs to have this set which includes Olivia Helps at Christmas .

William Joyce's Santa Calls introduced me to this interesting author/illustrator - I love his work, especially Buddy and The Leaf Men. Yes, he also does the Rolie Polie Olie books/series on Disney and the recent moviee Meet the Robinsons, a take off of his A Day with Wilbur Robinson.

A couple of years ago I found Silent Night , illustrated by Will Moses, and have been hooked ever since. In fact, each Halloween our local framing shop has a poster of his called Girls Night Out and I'm always tempted.

I started with a treasure from my youth, well here is another. My Mom and I were at a holiday fair and in one of the tents was two ladies, the authors and illustrators of Sophie's Surprise and although I was too old for the advent calendar, my Mom still bought this for me and we had it signed.

Yup, I've warned you all, I've been a bookie for most of my life.

So there are a few of my holiday books, next week will check out the holiday pop-ups that reside in this house.

If you're looking for more Book Talk, today I'll be over in the Love Romances Cafe from 10-4:00pm est chatting about my erotic romances.