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Archive for the ‘Button du Jour’ Category


Upon arriving home, I found white paw prints leading to two chagrined kitties lurking beneath the sleigh bed, both tails swishing dejectedly. In the spirit of Tom Kitten, they had spent the afternoon frolicking in the bread flour container, and were covered from ear-tip to tail-tip in white powder. All they’d need were curls and ringlets, and they’d be mistaken for unctuous French royalty. Gathering one limp cat under each arm, we had a bath time adventure, and were now snuggled in bed together. I am reading a kitty bedtime story to pacify them. They ‘re wearing newly washed and dried fur, and I’m wearing my turquoise blue peacock Liberty pajamas fastened with fancy-pants Tahitian grey mother of pearl shell buttons.
“Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer were a very notorious couple
of cats.
As knockabout clown, quick-change comedians, tight-rope
walkers and acrobats
They had extensive reputation. They made their home in
Victoria Grove–
That was merely their centre of operation, for they were
incurably given to rove.
They were very well know in Cornwall Gardens, in Launceston
Place and in Kensington Square–
They had really a little more reputation than a couple of
cats can very well bear.”

(From Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer by T.S. Eliot )

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Lord Tennyson said that in spring ones fancy turns to love, but I find that mine turns to adornment, sweetness and beauty. I have spent the day baking tiny ginger cakes, each pâtisserie a dollop of perfection wrapped in waxed paper and tied with a thin length of leaf green grosgrain ribbon to merrily distribute as springtime gifts. For my house-to-house cake excursion, I’m wearing fitted black leather 501s, harness boots, a cream ribbed turtle sweater, and a black velveteen jeans jacket with wagon wheel shaped, antique gold rhinestone buttons.
“In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove;
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”

(From Locksley Hall by Lord Tennyson, 1835)

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One of the first signs of spring is a lone pale pink petal from a flowering pear tree fluttering on the grey, gritty rain-moistened sidewalk. One delicate petal reminds me of that soon trees will shower their petals into softly blowing pink piles. I am happily strolling in a spring drizzle, my rubber spats tightly snapped, my tweed Inverness overcoat with Italian chocolate brown plastic buttons flapping in the wind, and Hart Crane running through my head.
“High in the noon of May
On cornices of daffodils
The slender violets stray.
Crap-shooting gangs in Bleecker reign,
Peonies with pony manes——
Forget-me-nots at windowpanes:
Out of the way-up nickel-dime tower shine,
Cathedral Mary,
shine!——“

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I have stayed up tonight keeping company with my seven towering wooden shelves of books. They are good company, if lacking in organization and visual harmony. I could remedy their slothfulness by any number of ways; I could arrange every book by author within its category, or by color, or by date of publication, or even by height. Then there are spine labels and call numbers and the Dewey Decimal system to contend with. I’m channeling my inner librarian with a bittersweet chocolate brown wool cable-knit cardigan fastened with vintage black wooden buttons, and tortoise-shell reading glasses. Reaching for another saffron-flavored raisin cookie, I ponder a well-worn copy of that classic, The Oxford Book of English Verse (1250 – 1918).
“The chough and crow to roost are gone,
The owl sits on the tree,
The hush’d wind wails with feeble moan,
Like infant charity.
The wild-fire dances on the fen,
The red star sheds its ray;
Uprouse ye then, my merry men!
It is our op’ning day.”

(By Joanna Baillie, 1762-1851)

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Can one be a flâneur anywhere? Am I only a foppish melancholic meandering anonymously, looking for clues without asking a question? It is a dismal early morning, and I need inspiration and exercise. I want my body to fall wearily into a café’s metal chair at the end of my travels, my eyes, imagination and heart full of city sights. Kissing Lulu and Francy’s snoozing heads, I leave my apartment wearing clothing suitable for a sidewalk hike and a tryst with the city; black ankle-high walking boots, brown flannel pants, a vintage wool herringbone Norfolk jacket with beautifully variegated deepest brown classic horn buttons, a cream pleated front linen shirt adorned with a burnt orange paisley ascot, and a chocolate brown wool newsboy’s cap. And a tailored jacket pocket crammed with a waxed paper bag of chocolate madeleines.
“In the flâneur`s perceptive eyes, what appeared incoherent and meaningless gains focus and visibility. The flâneur brings alive and invests with significance the fleeting, everyday occurrences of the city that ordinary people failed to notice. The unique relationship between the flâneur and the urban environment was invariably characterized by the metaphor of the city as text and the flâneur as reader.”
(The Flâneur and the Aesthetic Appropriation of Urban Culture in Mid-19th century, Paris, Theory, Culture and Society by M. Gluck)

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I am meeting you at the Metropolitan Opera to devour the French opéra comique by Georges Bizet, Carmen. We are meeting by the fountain, and I’ve promised to bring an appropriate tidbit. To this end I’ve spent an afternoon making caramel popcorn, which seems suiting for the rousing wide-eyed high dramatics that Carmen inspires. I fasten the softly iridescent shell buttons of my worn cream linen shirt, put on my wine-colored velveteen pants and wide-lapelled jacket, and my meticulously polished black riding boots. I am ready for Carmen.
“Ah! le mot n’est pas galant!
Mais, qu’importe! Va… tu t’y feras
quand tu verras
comme c’est beau, la vie errante!
Pour pays tout l’univers, et pour loi ta volonté!
Et surtout, la chose enivrante:
la liberté! la liberté!”

(By G. Bizet)

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I am packing a wee snack in my vintage wicker hamper to eat in Golden Gate Park. There is an accordion-led gypsy band playing near the Arboretum, and I am meeting you by the largest oak tree; I want to stare at clouds, be tickled by new grass and smell spring wind its flowery way into my heart. I toss in three folded pieces of lavash, a hunk of salty Bulgarian feta cheese, a handful fresh mint leaves, a thermos of hot sweet tea, and three kinds of nut cookies…walnut and date, chocolate and pecan, and peppered hazelnut cookies. I throw on my leaf green and violet stripped velveteen jacket with Italian wagon wheel buttons, grab a book of poetry and catch the bus to the park.
Just a perfect day
Drink sangria in the park
And then later, when it gets dark, we’ll go home
Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun
Just a perfect day
You make me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good”

(By L. Reed)

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