Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Thankful For...You

(My new iMac)

To all of you who have commented on my unfortunate computer situation, I thank you. It's slightly ironic that immediately after revealing my "we shall overcome" knitting story I was faced with another test of character, thanks to the machinations of a corrupted (ruthless? immoral? unscrupulous?) hard drive.

After crying for a day, here's where we stand:

Plan A (a.k.a. "Recovering My Data") is looking quite slim, and in all likelihood, I will probably lose all of my photos from 2009 (around 3,000) as well as countless bookmarked ideas that I was researching for future blog posts (which is an awful lot of homework down the drain). What makes it especially frustrating is that I have been backing my files up on a regular basis, but apparently, I was doing it wrong. (Oh, the sheer lunacy of it all.)

Add to this the O. Henry-ish coincidence that for months I've been longing for a new computer. Now, thanks to this unfortunate real-life plot twist, I have one. My new machine is lovely and sleek and hopefully has only honorable intentions for the relationship we are about to forge together. But it's a slightly hollow victory because, like walking into an empty house, it contains nothing personal in it.

And having said that, I'm ready to move on.

Dramatic beat. A shaft of sunlight enters the room.

So here's Plan B (a.k.a. "The Fresh Start"):

I was thinking as I lay awake last night in bed that since blogging is, in its most satisfying aspects, a shared journey, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to invite you to help me fill up my computer with ideas.

Sometimes the inspiration for a blog post comes down to a single word, one that is so intensely redolent of a person, place or thing (or period of history or style or even a feeling, for that matter) that it sets into motion a Sherlockian treasure hunt for what lies beneath.

Herewith, my list so far:

Blotting paper.
Country manors.
Dinner parties.
Exotic travels.
Fete champetres.
Gipsy caravans.
Glamorous souls.
Morocco leather.
Vivienne Westwood.

Would you be so kind as to add a word (or words) that you would like to see explored on this blog? Truly, truly, I would be so honored.


Lily said...

Scimshaw & Turbans & Madeira & Schooners & Camera Obscura & Edith Sitwell... all Very Important Subjects Which Should Be Discussed At Length!
Sorry for your loss of pictures and words- I lost all my diaries and photos in a shipwreck once and the only consolation was thinking that the mermaids were swimming around with my jewelry on, trying to make heads/ tails of my scribblings!

froogal said...

More Fearless Women and more embroidery...
Loosing all your files is devastating, it happened to me...sometimes we loose something to gain something...fresh starts are good and so are NEW MACS!

Kate said...

sorry about losing all the files. Lost my mind back in 97. Can't remember where or why. It hardly matters, yes? Landscaping, Bliss, hidden acquisitions, simplifying, living today.

Susan B. said...

Sorry about your computer. I live in fear that mine will go any day. And, I, too, have been backing up regularly, but am I doing it right? I'm going to have to check that one with my husband...

The word(s) that I would put on the list: friends/friendship.

home before dark said...

I second the nomination for More Fearless Women, Please. Sorry about the recent death in your family. I have always been a MacGirl. I have evolved from the 9" B&W to the big girl of today. I have always named them: Eve, Minerva etc. Today, older and a bit more jaded: Lilith! I think it's important to name something you address everyday!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Well, what I love most about your blog are the personal stories (like this one) with pictures of your lovely home and different ideas and things you come across. Sorry I can't do better for a suggestion than that!

erinkate said...


Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Since your computer tale is one I think almost anyone can identify with (I have slowly dismissed all Windows based computing from my life) a good word might be....Inspiration.
Enjoy the new machine...I know you will!

David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

Laura said...

Having just seen a wonderful Avedon portrait exhibit in San Francisco, I'm a bit into voyeurism at the moment. I find peeking into the lives of others to be endlessly fascinating. Be it through portraits, writing or some other means. Terrible shame about your files, but my, you have a completely fresh start which I imagine must be freeing on some level?

Anonymous said...

Some more words for your collection:


Jessica Thor-Miller said...

Cocktail hours, Madeleines, French Macaroons, and picnics!

jezebel said...

Please teach your ABCs to me.

jezebel said...

Oh, and words:

M said...

I can never get enough of:

Backyard Travel

pve design said...

Tenacious women
Lost and found

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Sherbet Lemons
Men in Kilts
and Horlicks

Katie said...

embroidery and textiles
obscure museums
more 'in-character' historic tours (love those!)

Stephanie said...

How devastating to lose your photos. I shall be certain to begin backing up my files.

Lilacs, Succulents, and the color Red.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

I am overwhelmed with all your responses...and so happy that there are people like all of you in the world. I LOVE all these words and will store them (and back them up and copy them again and print out a hard copy and keep it in a fireproof box... you get the drift.)

Thank you, thank you...

With great affection,


Unknown said...

Really? Are you sure? I've always heard unless your hard drive is physically damaged -run over by a truck or the like, the data can be recovered. I had data recovered from a drive gone bad. That was nearly ten years ago and I should think recovery methods have advanced -Moore's Law and all.

Anonymous said...


What a wonderful & inspiring idea!

So sorry to hear of your hard drive & loss of files, but thank goodness for new macs!:)

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Carbonite. an online backup site,I resorted to this after 2 unfortunate losses. it works. happily will provide you with some pictures if you want to start reassembling your files-let me know. GT

Gaby said...

English gardens
Mulled wine
"A day in the life" posts

Cheers to new beginnings and I look forward to your freshly inspired posts!

Jane said...

Hi Lisa I am pleased your computer issues are sorted out. We have just bought the same computer. It is perfect bliss. I think you have covered many pefect things already, including some I would have suggested like Mitford. One thing I am interested in, and already have posted on is You are What you Read. As everyone's personality lies in their bookshelf. Also as a nosy parker what about Last Nights Dinner.

Unknown said...

Jewellery, Diamonds, Rubies. See where I'm going here?

Your computer story is truly scary, backing up my blog sequel as we speak.

Helena xx

LPC said...


And how horribly unfair that your backup intent was good and only the implementation lacking.

Helen James said...

Oh how awful for you, but yes a fresh start is always a good thing.Look forward to your new posts. I think it doesn't matter what the subjectmatter of the post, it is the "bloomsbury life" slant to them that makes them so appealing. x

Jane said...

Oh and yes I echo the comments about your data. I have always used Mac and like Scott I am certain you can recover the data from your hard drive you may need to send it Off Site but it is worth a try. It is for that reason that my paranoid husband wont let me put old computers out with the hard rubbish collection!

Unknown said...

your cats

Angie Muresan said...

I would have cried the entire weekend!
How about:

Anonymous said...


Not sure what it is about "R" today.

Anonymous said...

hey (it's me, piero). remember what buddhists say: "you must change what you bothers you and accept what you cannot change."

that may have been the fortune in the cookie, but it's still relevant.

that seems like a good place to start (abc's).


see ya tonight.


helen tilston said...

I agree fully with Architect Design, I love reading your personal experiences and you joi de vie. I so loved your Dirk Bogart pics. I read all of Dirk Bogart's books, while caregiving my late mother - when Dirk died in 97/98, I planted a white lilac bush in his honour at my farm. You brought back a beautiful memory. Keeping writing from your heart, thanks so much

Anonymous said...

Oh for the love of Pete!
Men in Kilts!
I cannot get the images out of my mind,
put that at the top of the list!

jakubowski said...

Even with my macs I have managed to erase all the photos from a trip to Brazil and my itunes... I am much more vigilant about backing up, off my hard-drive these days.

subjects I need to research:

St. James' Way pilgrimage route
plague monuments
punch and Judy shows
Antinori Family
Le Baron nightclub in Paris
Gilda Radner
a better scone recipe, (more crumbly less cakey)
Art Basel Miami 2009

Anonymous said...

Children's rooms
More about the Brussels Sprouts
Your New York apartment
Your taste in rock or punk music
Starter embroidery projects

My computer tech (Mac Concierge in NYC) swears he can retrieve files that Genius Bar says it can't....

Helen Marie said...

Here are a few topics I thought of, one I really want to learn about, one I want to learn more about, and one I just learned about and think everyone else should too:

truffle flour
beaded jewelry
la cidrerie michel jodoin

PS: good luck with the new computer; I just love, love, love your blog and look forward to reading lots more entries in the future.

Kim said...

Sorry for your loss. Word idea: upgrade.

Unknown said...

Dichtung und Wahrheit

Let it pass...
And a good start ahead!


Unknown said...

What I appreciate most about your blog is that you seem to "bloom where you are planted." I love that you've created this way of life within, as you say "spitting distance of Hollywood and Vine". I most love the posts that reflect this notion, but I love all your posts--so, follow your bliss.

Anonymous said...

More on sorting life out! Grace, acceptance. Surrounded by beauties in a room of one's own, often we are unable to be satisfied. For over 40 years I collected, acquired many beautiful things; however, for a time, they had me hypnotized. It is easy to identify with our things as being who we are. So important to recognize where our true wealth lies and not always seeking outside of ourselves for happiness, for it is an inside job. This blog delves to combine creativity and beauty while also being introspective about what life is all about. I like it for that reason.

Victoria said...

Stationary - to include notebooks (like Virginia Woolf used)

Pens and ink

Cursive writing

Garden gates

Victoria sponge

Delia Smith

Sorry you lost your files. I'm thinking about figuring out a way to store things on the web. We did the same thing at work - thought we were backing up then duh turned out we weren't. Lost two years of work!

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

I'm sitting here laughing as I think of words randomly off the top of my head, then check your list... ALL there, but then you are so much more clever than I can pretend to be... hopeless cause really.

I will hold a prayer vigil for your personal photos, and hope Scott is right! I live to make treasured memories for my tarnished silver picture frames.

jane said...

Lisa I am so sorry to hear about your photos. I had a similar experience once when my hard drive died whilst travelling and oh... the sad tears I cried, sitting on the floor at the bottom of the phone box, trying to find someone to fix it!
Some words which sprung to mind when I thought of your blog:
the fireside
and also, I would love to read about some of your style icons.
May your pretty new iMac serve you well (and better than the last, that's for sure!).

Rocio said...

More fearless woman, calligraphy, recipes, ethymology, men in kilts (that is just so great!) noel coward, age and personal experiences.

So sorry for your loss of files. A fresh start plan B is always positive, despite it all.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, I'm pleased to hear that your computer problems have been solved. What a shame about losing your photos? But never mind. No one can erase the images and stories that you have accumulated over the years which will all be safely kept in your brain. Dealing with loss make you more human being because you can share it with others. I don't have any recommendation for the topic for the blog because I love whatever you write x

Tricia said...

Gary Harvey!

bkmcneil said...

Since I found Beverly Nichols through your blog (thank you!), my suggestion for your word list is another author who I think you'll enjoy, if you are not already familiar:

Max Beerbohm

While he is a little earlier than Bloomsbury, his focus on aesthetics, humor, and language seem to fit you. I can highly recommend "Seven Men (and Two Others" and I feel quite sure you'll love "Zuleika Dobson" - find the version with Max's own illustrations, if possible. They are charming.

Good luck with this new direction for your blog!

Lily said...

It's as if all your readers are holding a seance and summoning the ghosts of Bloomsbury to come to your aid, whispering magic words! Really, I think Mrs. Woolf et al would have approved, because they relied on each other to weather certain storms, domestic and poetic. This problem of tempermental computers is no doubt like Virginia Woolf's lamentations to her sister about her tempermental servants- burned puddings! Cross Cooks! Draughty rooms! So not to worry, you've a tribe of fearless women who support you on the other side of this ouija board, aka the computer!

scj said...

Such a shame about your files. I adore reading all of the comments on this post.

Transformations Home Stylists said...

Hightum, Tightum, & Scrub.

Tomascita said...

All things Bloomsbury!

DM said...

Here's and I:

Iceland, you've mentioned it before, I'd love to see more...

Prelude said...

Sorry about your computur...mine is acting up on me too...I am very afraid!

The best eye cream
ballet flats

Thomas Hogglestock said...

If I had read this post before I posted my "7 Loves" I would have tagged you to do it next. If you like I can break the rules and make you the eighth person I tag to make a list of 7's a good challenge to get your mind moving.

That aside, I would love to see you share more of your Penguin collection with us. Maybe a tour through your orange covered gems.

Denise said...

Good for you, getting a Mac. Something foolproof that works for me is sending myself emails with ideas/info/websites I don't want to forget. When the bookmarks reached hundreds, I found I stopped perusing them. And emails will always be recoverable.

Shakespeare & Company/Sylvia Beach
Joseph Cornell
Verve (pg produced their album?!)
MFK Fisher
Silk Road
Desmond McCarthy
Lisa Fonssagrives
Clarice Cliff
all the usual Bloomsbury suspects

Style Court said...

Oh Lisa, my condolences. What a loss.

I agree with Stefan again, more of you, your house, your work, your adventures.

Pimm's and Lemonade said...

Poor baby. Condolences.

Old Mac R.I.P. New Mac, New Day.

How about:

Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill
Flora (as in peonies, etc)
Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire
More of secret L.A.
In the kitchen with Piero
Celia Thaxter

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

You are all erudite souls and you are DAZZLING.

We would soooo have the best time at a cocktail party, don't you think? It would have to be three days long, though, so I could get a chance to talk to everyone.

If I ever throw a worldwide shindig, you are all invited.

LPC said...

For some reason I am imagining fairy lights strung across the Atlantic.

teabird said...

ooh, painful!

some ideas --
fountain pens - knitting - spinning - textiles -

melissa said...

How about delusions of grandeur? (I've always thought it would make a delicious ice cream flavor.) Lisa, you will animate and fascinate with anything you write...

Anonymous said...


Brian said...


*Have you yet delved into the world that is Nicky Haslam? Strikes me as an interesting, if ridiculously high life loving, sort...

*The films of Eric Rohmer. Very Gallic, not as intellectually rigorous or protean as Jean-Luc Godard, but something of a master at mining the subtleties of the haute-bourgeois dance between sense and sensibility. Oh, and some of his films' locations are simply stunning.

*Stephen Fry was, once, an interesting raconteur. No doubt he still has it in him but of late he as become obsessed with technological gadgets (he has very popular blog devoted all things tech) and more often than not can be found gushing about the latest iphone ap rather than regaling us with theatrical bon mots--which, if there was justice, is what he should be doing full-time. Here, to wit, is vintage Fry, at a slightly pompous 27 years old!, talking with the (oh dear) rather wonderful Kenneth Williams:

Love that gem about Olivier and Hoffman.

Brian in Toronto

Cocina Eclectica said...

I think your Blog is brilliant. If you can get through even half of the words that people have listed, you will be a "super woman". Sorry about the computer issues. It would be helpful for us all to hear what is the correct way to back up, your lessons learned.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent Decrepitude
Rural Shrine
Dowager Queen

hard drive whisperer


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Brian: As always, your comments enlighten and delight. Just watched the Dirk Bogarde documentary on Youtube via your suggestion and LOVED it. Can't wait to see the young Stephen Fry. Thank you!

Cocina Eclectica: Love that screen name! I promise to let you know what I did wrong when I find out if my computer can be repaired... xx

Anonymous: Love your oxymoronic phrases. Wait. Let me say that again for emphasis: L.O.V.E.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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