Monday, June 13, 2011

(Long Beat, then....)

Apologies for the absence. My life (like yours, I'm sure, at this time of year) has been extremely plot-heavy. School ended last week and with it came a slew of pool parties, celebrations and sleepovers, all of which required highly complicated carpool stratagems. And in a highly unusual occurrence, my husband and I spent five evenings out in a row. It was a whole lot of fun and I am a whole lot exhausted.
(Our cat Twiglet doing an uncanny impression of me)

So here's what I've been doing to remedy the situation:

In the same way that a novelist sometimes follows a chapter of intense action with one that is calmer and more reflective, I have been making a concerted effort to insert some pauses into the narrative of my life.

The results have been mixed.

When Luca and his friend woke up the other morning and embraced their first taste of summer freedom...
(Cartoons at sunrise)

...I sat outside and welcomed the June fog in my favorite tartan wrapper and tried very hard to think about absolutely nothing (i.e. the Zen approach.) This was harder than you might think and I soon abandoned my efforts for an obscenely large latté.

Later that day, after taking the boys to see the "Art in the Streets" show at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary (an expedition bookended by far too much time on the Hollywood Freeway -- at 1pm on a Thursday? Really?)...

...I took refuge in my kitchen and marvelled over The Last Moments of My Peonies. However, I became derailed by the unfairness of the word "blowsy": such a compliment to flowers, such an insult to women. Meditative mission aborted.

So today, after driving my son and his friend home from basketball camp, I tried once more to insert a peaceful pause. Slowly, slowly they climbed the stairs to Luca's bedroom. (Darling boys. They must be so tired from all their exercise.)

I stole into the living room and began to float my fingers over all the books on my shelves. Where was I going to go?

(Long beat, then at decibel levels that would make Al Pacino cower):

Luca: Dragonite! He can save people from drowning!
Friend: Oshawott! He can use his shell as a sword!
Luca: So? Tepig can blow fire from his nose!
Friend: But Snivy's so little and cute!

(Repeat ad infinitum. Add a cacophony of overhead stomps and laughter.)

I glanced over at my cat.
Talk about a call to calm.

Here I was in a perfect storm of noise.
And there he was in a perfect storm of peace.

Message received.

Immediately, I sat down and lost myself in the photographs of Tim Walker, diving headfirst into his unique world of lush eccentricity. When Luca and his friend finally emerged for a snack (Two minutes later? Two days later?), I was restored.

My Reminder For The Rest Of This Week:

It's all we have.


pve design said...

I needed this! thank-you.

donna baker said...

doing absolutely nothing, zen, eccentric, my favorite things/themes. I'm certain you are going to take us to a castle or wonderful spot somewhere exotic.

helen tilston said...

Hello Lisa
Your life certainly has been plot heavy and hectic. I love how you have found wisdom from the cat's attitude.
"Here I was n a perfect storm of noise. And there he was in a perfect storm of peace.
Message received"
Breathe, peace, love, pause and patience.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love peonies! Our new house has them, and I'm one happy girl.
Fact: I once told a friend to look at some peonies, and she said "Pee on these?!"
I still tease her about it.
Traveling to Scotland in August, driving up the east coast to the Orkney islands. Packing tips would be greatly appreciated! This Southern girl has a hard time thinking of anything but sun dresses for August.

ASL said...

love your outlook...
wish we were neighbors.

non sequitur:
have ya seen the cartoon
"Adventure Time"?
kinda deep & dark if one looks beyond the kidness.
good for one & all...
happy to hear from ya
lisa anne

Notes From ABroad said...

Having moved to a land where hustle, bustle and noise are normal parts of every waking moment, finding a calm quiet spot anywhere is like finding lost treasure !
I find that the best place for me to be calm and withdraw from the noisy world is to sit on the floor with the dog and pet him. The two of us ending up swooning and one of us always falls asleep.
My little cat used to do it to me .. now I do it to the dog. What goes around comes around in some lovely ways :)

Susan in TX said...

Love this. I, too, am in the throes of plot-heavy, hectic life. Long ago, summer was for rest and relaxation. Teenagers have a different plan it seems. :)

Emily said...

Love how your cat spoke to you without ever uttering a word......

24 Corners said...

The image of your beautiful 'new' black bookshelves is now my favorite...the chair and lamp are perfect!
May you find many more moments of restorative calm...picture books *are* so helpful in getting us there...much easier than reading sometimes...pure visual escapism.
Love the name 'Twiglet'!
xo J~

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

lolling about:

Definitely wellies for hikes (but you can buy them there for about £10), sundresses are fine but bring sweaters for over them. Obviously, jeans a must. We had 70-80 degree weather, interspersed with rain.

If most everything that goes into your suitcase falls into the categories of either "layers" or "comfort," you should be fine.

Have the best time! xx

Lisa: Will check out "Adventure Time."

Diane said...

Hello Lisa, I love your site! I came across it via Gaye Tapp's Ottoline Divine blog. I am another acolyte of Ottoline, Vita, Virginia and their circles. I also love books, love to garden, and I am an artist (though lazy, you can see some of my stuff at You posted on OD that you've pored over pictures OM took with her Brownie--WHERE did you see these? I am sort of an image addict--I keep huge digital and hardcopy files of anything that interests, inspires or excites me; I would love to see these, are they online? Is there a link you could share? I look forward to reading more at A Bloomsbury Life!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Diane: Thank you so much for your lovely, lovely comment! The photos are in a book called...

"Lady Ottoline's Album: Snapshots and Portraits of her famous contemporaries (and of herself) photographed for the most part by LADY OTTOLINE MORRELL from the collection of her daughter Julian Vinogradoff"...

(how's that for a title-and-a-half?!)

I'm sure you can find it on Abebooks or eBay.

But do you know about The National Portrait Gallery (in London)'s website? There are a TON of Ottoline photos on there and you can even buy prints of them. I've spent a lot of time there, too!

Will check out your website...


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