Wednesday, May 26, 2010


But we felt that the silly girls had something worthwhile in their attitude. They were definitely amused. It is often so, particularly in our country, that the first reaction to strangeness is fear and hatred; we much preferred the laughter. We don’t think it was even unkind – they’d simply never seen anything so funny in their lives.
  - John Steinbeck

We were not smart, not very alert, but we were clean and we smelled rather delicious. Sparky sprinkled us with shaving lotion and we filled the air with an odor of flowers.

…. The young males watched us from the safe shade of the cantina and passed greetings as we went by, and a covey of young girls grew tight-faced and rushed around a corner and giggled. How strange we were in Loreto!

Our trousers were dark, not white; the silly caps we wore were so outlandish that no store in Loreto would think of stocking them. We were neither soldiers nor sailors – the little girls just couldn’t take it. We could hear their strangled giggling form around the corner. Now and then they peeked back around the corner to verify for themselves our ridiculousness, and then giggled again while their elders hissed in disapproval.

And one woman standing in a lovely garden shaded with purple bougainvillaea explained, “Everyone knows what silly things girls are. You must forgive their ill manners; they will be ashamed later on.”

But we felt that the silly girls had something worthwhile in their attitude. They were definitely amused. It is often so, particularly in our country, that the first reaction to strangeness is fear and hatred; we much preferred the laughter. We don’t think it was even unkind – they’d simply never seen anything so funny in their lives.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez: Being the narrative portion of Sea of Cortez

the report of the Steinbeck-Ricketts expedition in the Gulf of California

Laughter  Germain Monteil carnation perfume 1941 or 1949

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stolen & Black Pepper

With beautiful cinematography by Rebecca Dreyfus and Albert Maysles, more shocking than the twists and turns of a spectacular art theft that takes viewers through the art world, dealers, thieves and Sherlocks is that ...

The Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachussetts is the only museum in the world created by a woman - designed, built, named by and after a woman.

Make sure to listen to the deleted scenes and commentary of Stolen the film by Rebecca Dreyfus.

Isabella Stewart Gardner 1840-1924 married or eloped, depending on which society's story, John "Jack" Lowell Gardner II. Jack's mother was a daughter of Salem, Massachusetts shipowner (yes, one of the witch burning sites) Joseph Peabody.

Joseph Peabody imported pepper from Sumatra, not all of it a pretty history. He died one of the wealthiest men in the United States in 1844.

At the time, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum click here was controversial. She brought elements of her beloved Venice and Italy to Boston, with landscaping inside the walls. Gardens, art, rare books, architecture all find their place here. Almost every room looks out over the courtyard. And, they had some wild parties within.

In honor of the lady, the plant and the histories
Some Pepper Perfumes ...

Noir Epices/Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle/Michel Roudnitska
Piper Nigrum/Lorenzo Villoresi
Poivre Piquant/L'Artisan Parfumeur/Bertrand Duchaufour
Hermessence Poivre Samarcande/Hermes/Jean-Claude Ellena
Rose Poivree/The Different Company/Jean-Claude Ellena

Throughout the film, art investigator Harold Smith's face changes like a living Abstract Expressionism - the reason why is revealed.

"How does one go about getting 16th century paint chips?" is not directly answered.

Turbo aka Paul Turbocharger Hendry, "may not speak with a Public School (public is private school in Britain) accent", purchased legitimate art with money made from fencing stolen art.

Made me feel like sending him a snow scene, his favorite. Maybe Neiges, perfume by Lise Watiers of Canada?

Books to enjoy if you like this film:

Clifford Irving's Fake! on the talented artist and art forger Elmyr de Hory.

Ulrich Boser's The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft


Palette 2 Lura Astor
Watier advert

2 imps at the Source (on Lake)

The Source on Lake (click)
Pasadena, CA

Here I am with owner Joe Boutell
in 2005

Joe creates exquisite, award-winning, matting and framing

Friday, May 21, 2010

to all my "peeps" from '71

to keep alive a different vision

Bob Holroyd's Earthwatching (click left to go to his site)
music/video above

This is Your Sphere of Influence: lastor
earth goddess: artist unknown
Feather Box: lastor

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gardens, Gardeners & Kings


Reading Nathan Branch's current travels post Château de Versailles: A Lesson In Humility click here

reminds me of a slender book Gardener to the King full of insights into people and plants.

André Le Nôtre, gardener to Louis the XIV, is quoted from his notebooks; he also added to the field of meteorology using his knowledge of plants and weather.

I find his observations of people on the extreme ends of the range of wealth, insightful and witty.
Le Nôtre came up with some good growing and storing solutions to be at the ready for one thousand hungry people to descend at any time.

Gardener to the King, Frederic Richaud
Extract of Plan of Versailles: Jean Delagrive 1689-1757

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Smells ... elsewhere


While reading recipes and tales
from Made in Italy: Food and Stories
see previous post  and here

Giorgio Locatelli,
Chef of
London's Locanda Locatelli click here

(say that five times fast)
a Michelin starred restaurant,

Chef made
an interesting
nose-sensitive comment
in relation to food:

"... some people, I know, don't like the flavour of real coconut. I have had people tell me that it reminds them of soap or body lotion. You know, I am so against the idea that soaps and shampoos and even household cleaners are made to smell of fruit - because it is so misleading, especially for kids. They think of apple as the aroma of a shampoo, instead of the real thing. I say only food should smell of food."

And then I came across a coconut Pina Colada creamy textured deodorant. If I was four years old, I would've eaten a chunk out of it, the way kids used to think the medicine Corocidin were red M&Ms.

An interesting perspective, though too late, for the faux fruit fad is deep in the scent world. I appreciate the Chef author's care of wanting to keep the connection with
what we eat and where it comes from, meaningful for all generations. These vital connections can lead to another feeding ingredient ... shared conviviality!

Hubert Lui, my Tai Chi teacher click here used to tell us before we ate together,
it is not just the food we are eating, it is the shared company, the energy of each other's company.

(Taoists are known as energy eaters, cloud and sky eaters, etc. ;)

There are still many in this world I hope to share a cup of tea, a coffee, a local beverage with ... break bread, laugh over a great texture and color of food, wherever, and whenever, it may happen.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


John Thorne writes on Irish Soda Bread in his book Outlaw Cook

"Inexpensive to make, readily adapting to ingredients at hand and a peat fire’s slow burn, it was a bread that could easily be taught that uniquely Irish language of open hospitality: to work great generosity from small means."

To work great generosity from small means

... brings in savor, elegance, appreciation, reception, moments taken, crafting from what is at hand, haiku, editing, sculpting, melding, offering, receiving, sharing.

photo: Lura Asstor