Friday, October 3, 2014


The scene:  Bannisters entangled in black vines.  Hallways stalked by black cats.  A ghost bride veiled in black tulle.

You guessed it -- we're gearing up for Halloween.  Our home has turned into a gothic haunted house.   But wait!  Snap out of Tim Burton mode.  It's not that hallowed eve yet.  Better hold off on the fog machines and get back to modern edge.

AIKO black/grey sweater
worn with cigarette pants and suede booties
(also my husband's black fedora
flung off frame)
Trivia: This is in my bathroom.

Luckily this weekend, I happened upon a consignment shop along 14th Street with lots of edge.  And inside, I discovered a clothing line that revels in, well, lines.  Have any of you come across AIKO?

I'm always curious when a design line speaks to me, so I quickly looked up AIKO on the web (what did we ever do before Google?).  Curiosity gave way to surprise when I found the photo below of AIKO designer, Cynthia Mittweg.  Note, this was  after I had taken the photo above.  I swear my shoji screen was there before I saw her grid below (which looks to me like paper laid out on the floor, pretty cool).  Ah so, we must speak the same language.


Now, looking up from that floor, my mind crosses into another old photo of mine, this time of a ceiling at the California Academy of Sciences.  The Academy's architecture revolves around sustainable design, energy efficiency and innovative technology -- I sense white lab coats and silicon chips just by looking at it.  It seems so dizzyingly smart.

Grid roof at the California Academy of Sciences

But scientists, architects and designers are not the only ones with affinities for grids.  The grid I find relaxing and look forward to at the end of most days is the Crossword.  Others might unwind with yogic twists before bed. I prefer mental pretzels.

Unraveling my Gordian knot of thoughts smooths the muddle of the day away.  The stark grid blurs as I fill the puzzle in.  Eventually, hazy, black pixels seep through the white ones.  And often, the last letters grow dim in the inky darkness of sleep.

Crossword puzzle grid from PBS

How do you unwind?


  1. That roof is splendid! But I always find grids and hard lines feel restrictive. I start off thinking I like them, then find myself trying to introduce curves and colours and textures.....
    Thanks, as usual, for your great comments on my blog. You always have such interesting things to say.

  2. Hi Jenny, yes, I bounce back and forth between rigid lines and curves and organic shapes too! I spent so much time on curlicues and frothy tulle setting up for Halloween. I think it was like a palate cleanser to to get all clean and minimal. But the pendulum is slowly swinging back over as we gear up towards gothic Halloween parties.

  3. I see monochrome Mondrian and Bridget Riley in these images. And crosswords as pre-sleep 'mental pretzels' - brilliant. For me it's books/words/poetry and/or music for unwinding. Although the books are likely to keep me awake for far longer than I may have intended...

  4. Hi Rosalind, thank you for introducing me to Bridget Riley! I had to look her up. She's got some dizzying grid art, alright! And I've always loved Mondrian with his precisely placed reds, yellows, and blues. There is certainly something soothing about words before bedtime. Whoever invented the bedtime story was onto something ...

  5. Jenny!
    You are now in DC!!!
    I have off the grid for a couple of years now, but slowly coming out of online hibernation. We are in the same time zone. yehey! love the outfit. Hope you've adjusted to DC. Love your treetop room. I would never leave that room if I had books, food and a bathroom. One of my favorite bookstores in DC is Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle. The adjoining cafe even had one pinoy entree the last time I was there. Like lechon kawali or something like that. It was a pleasant surprise. I forgot to email Bdlp last Oct 15th, but I did not forget that it was his bday. I also did not greet Lillian last Sept, either, come to think of it. As I said, I've been so off grid. but I am upright. which is good. Hope you've been well. Your daughter I must be a teen now?

  6. Chesca! Welcome back to the grid too! (I guess many of us have gotten unplugged for a while) Do you know that we used to go on dates at Kramerbooks years ago, back when Lee lived in DC? I don't recall the lechon but we loved the Jambalaya ... We were just at Dupont Circle last weekend but instead browsed at Second Story Books. Loved it too. We need to catch up at a coffee shop sometime now that we are within a few hours of each other.


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

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