Thursday, January 17, 2013


Greetings for the New Year, dear eFriends!

Thank you so much for all your notes and thoughts.  My online absence hasn't been due to some cosmic chasm.  Blame my cephalopod way of life (and sorry for referencing myself -- smacks of geriatric reminiscing) with multiple projects reaching in all directions. There must be some sensible name for this chronic condition?

Happy New Year!
Also celebrating my Grandmère's 100th birthday from afar.
I missed the grand family reunion in Asia
so we sent a video greeting instead.

The holidays were an opportunity to reconnect with family and old friends from around the world.  Too much to tell you.  Recent life has resembled a merry innkeeper's.  We've been welcoming a stream of out-of-town guests at home with just enough time for fresh linens in between.  Our evenings have been marked by live music, good spirits (libation and disposition, both), and interesting discourse!  It's been a marvelous month-and-a-half.

Which brings me to an homage I wanted to make.  My dearest grandmother, Grandmère to us, just turned 100 this week.  Her legendary wit is undimmed though her own memory might be.  Call her the upbeat version of Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess -- barbs not meant to cut but rather to induce laughter!  Her biggest accessory is a broad smile (and perhaps, huge dark glasses).

I find the sweater's asymmetric hemline -
short in front, long in the back -
an interesting counterpoint
to the horizontal stripes

Our Grandmère was the pillar behind our Granddaddy, now gone but a towering public figure for us, whose life was driven by principles of integrity and civic duty.  (Meritocracy and anti-Nepotism were indelibly imprinted in us through them ...  Pardon me but big words tend to surface whenever we think of our grandparents.)  We are so proud that my grandmother and her sisters earned their Bachelors of Science back in the '30s, at a time and place when few women were encouraged to do so.  Their role model?  Florence Nightingale (whom many may not know was a gifted mathematician)!  Emulating the Lady with the Lamp, they believed intellectual gifts were meant to be bundled with public service - all tied up with ribbons of gaiety and song for the loveliest of packages.  

My grandparents also believed in a simple life beyond reproach.  I still recall their insistence on receiving gifts only from family and close friends lest anything be considered a bribe, or worse, turn out to be a bomb!  (Trojan horses come in all shapes and sizes.)  Coming from a country cleft by poverty and antiquated rules of Class, they wanted no part in a lavish lifestyle which could be misinterpreted.

So here I am, beginning 2013 in my comfortable, "everyday" clothes of sweater dresses and jeans, accessorized only with large sunglasses and a smile - just like my dear Grandmère.

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the year!


  1. Happy New Year!
    I recognise your holiday. Your holiday sounds like the sort of bliss that large loving families create when they get together after much time spent apart. I've just come back from one! And warmest birthday wishes to your grandmother on her 100th! Your description of her makes me think she might have much in common with my only surviving grandmother who I have just visited on my holidays - in fact your grandparents sound fascinating!
    Love the cardigan and jeans you're wearing.

  2. Happy New Year doll...I hope it's a magical one for you!! xx

    The Dainty Dolls House

  3. What a wonderful glimpse into the lives of both your grandparents as well as loving tribute to your grandmother. An entire century of what sounds like an extraordinary woman's life: something to celebrate indeed.
    I have to say that I also rather like the sound of a 'merry innkeeper's life'! Wishing you a happy new year of creative curiousity and fulfilling projects.

  4. it was a true delight reading about your degrees back in the 30s!these are the women who have made it possible for later generations to believe and reach for stars meant earlier only for the boys.

  5. Jenny, thanks so much for sharing this story I really enjoyed, your grandparents sound fascinating! both very clever people, even I don't know you in person the way you write and comment, I can feel you are very clever woman, I can see where you get it from :) I'm also very proud of my Grandma, she is a very strong woman and this time when I was in Mexico I learnt a lot from her! Best wishes to you dear! x

  6. You are a bloggy treasure, dear Foolish Aesthete! Wishing you a wonderful, memorable and gloriously expressive new year!

  7. What wonderful people your grandparents sound. Strange that it is within living memory that women were so disadvantaged that getting a degree was seen as such a big thing. The people of that generation, never seemed sorry for themselves, even though in many ways their lives seem limited to us.

    Indeed, my memory of that generation tells me that they seemed to be sorry for US! :)


Dear Fellow Aesthetes, I love hearing your thoughts. I think the other readers find them valuable too! Much love xxx

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