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For some people, winter is the season that is the most difficult. For many who suffer from depression, spring is their nemesis. (Hence “April is the cruellest month”?)

For me, it’s fall. I’m almost always struck with nostalgia, and a desire to go somewhere — anywhere — other than where I am. Even living in a city I love as much as I do Madrid, I find that my feet are getting itchy.

Where would I go? Good question… being as close as I am to North Africa, a Bowlesian interlude is one possibility, assuming that it is still possible to live as they did way back when. Or perhaps to the Central Coast of California, where the summer gloom should have loosened its grip by now. Looking back at the photos I shot when I lived there, there is certainly plenty to recommend. All of these were taken around this time of year…

Little Sur river at Andrew Molera State Park.

Little Sur river at Andrew Molera State Park.

November sunset at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

November sunset at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Point Lobos whaling station

Point Lobos whaling station

Giant kelp at Lover's Point beach

Giant kelp at Lover’s Point beach


Pseu at Une Femme d’un Certain Age invited us to share our brooches today, and I’m pleased that amid the pre-Thanksgiving running around, I managed to remember!

When I got out the brooches that I have with me (a lot of my jewelry is still in the States), I realized that I haven’t worn them as often as I used to, as indicated by the fact that I needed to polish them before I took their pictures! After I finished the photo shoot, I left a few out to remind me to wear them more.

You’ll notice that they are all silver. One of my Rubi-nesses is that I only wear silver jewelry, and preferably artist-made or ethnic in origin. I have a few gold pieces, somewhere, I think, but I haven’t worn them in decades.

My brooch-iest brooch is this seed bead mosaic stunner by Mary Kanda. I wear it often in the winter with my purple and black, and it makes me happy every time I put it on.

A biggie! I usually wear this one way up on my shoulder so it doesn’t droop.

I collect jewelry made by the Southwest tribes — Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi — and I’m fortunate to have inherited some lovely pieces, as well as receiving them from family members who share my obsession and are happy to enable me!

From top left, clockwise: Hopi overlay butterfly, Zuni inlay roadrunner and butterfly, Navajo wagonwheel, bear paw fetish, and thunderbird (formerly an earring, until its mate was lost). All but the Hopi butterfly were gifts or inherited.

My paternal grandmother’s initials were FNL, but she never went by her first name. My initials are RNL — I’m named for her, in the middle. I figure that 2/3 is close enough for jazz and government work.

Not sure how old these are, but the GM in question was born in 1906.

An assortment of silver pins/brooches (What’s the dividing line? the size? I should know that!), most of them gifted to me. The top three (sheep, scallop, and cat) are by Newport, RI, jeweler Jim Breakell — that is, I think the cat is. His work is very popular in my family! The Celtic cross came back from Scotland as a gift from the other blonde sibling, and the jagged sun I bought one rainy week in Seattle.

These usually hang out a few at a time on a beret or lapel.

Thanks, Pseu, for this fun group project — it was a treat to see so many of these “old friends” again, and I’ll be sure to get them out more.


It’s chilly, rainy, and dark in Madrid these days — time for boots, woolies, and the like. So I decided to get the rest of my cold weather clothes in order, and that included washing a number of my scarves (yes, I hand wash my silk scarves — it’s cheaper than dry cleaning, and since I don’t own any Hermes, not at all intimidating).

Mmmmm, silk!

Here are four from my friend Peggy at iro design, drying in the bathroom. Aren’t the colors beautiful? They made me happy every time I, um, visited them. And now they’re clean and in the scarf drawer, waiting for me. Bliss.

The giant ceramic baby would have come with me from Barcelona and would be in my living room even as we speak!

Cute as a button and no college fund required!

This past weekend, I went to the movies — and ended up totally delighted by a film that I hadn’t even heard about before the movie-going plan was made.

It’s called Le Havre, and it’s by Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. You can find a synopsis here, but I don’t think any synopsis could really do it justice. It’s a film that’s unclassifiable. I loved the story, the characters, and especially the visuals  — many of the interior shots have the feel of Edward Hopper paintings. While the setting is on the down-and-out side of the title city, the film is suffused with love and humanity, both within the story and from the director to his characters.

I don’t want to break the spell it still has on me by over-analyzing here, but take my word for it — find it and see it. You’ll be enchanted.

"We are not kidding! Don't even think about falling down here."

Another London image…

I realized that I didn’t tell you about the wonderful book that sparked yesterday’s photo. (I commented about it over at Pseu’s place, but, um. Duh.)

It’s called The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes, by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. I’ve thumbed through it — it’s going to London, too — and already I’m so inspired!

I’ll be sharing some of my photos with you here as I go along — and if you feel inspired to pick the book up and begin the practice, please share your images, too!

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