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Of Cats and Jewels…

From my talented sister…  she comes up with an idea that many want to follow!!!!meeeow1

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Perfection…in a song….

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In praise of technology…

Talked -via Skype- to our 3 sons and Aunt living far away…Seattle, Buenos Aires and Nairobi. Something which made me realize how lucky we are to live in this decade of this century. In the “golden day of aviation” once you left your city, you had to say a real Good-bye, because you probably never returned. But, today, nothing is really that far away. Skype brings us together via video and free chats. So, I am very grateful for the technology.

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Bird in Snow

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Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago

I have just discovered this Russian movie, “In the First Circle”, which is based on Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, and Solzhenitsyn himself was the playwright and narrator. I just started watching it, and it is faschinating.

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Perfection: Alan McFadyen’s kingfisher.

Beautiful spot to meditate.

Beautiful spot to meditate.

I sit around this pond as much as I can, when I am lucky to be next to it. It is a place that takes me to a peaceful realm of strange and marvelous creatures, from the heron who visits, to the singing frogs, to the bear I once mistook for a bush next to it, to the uncanny and gorgeous kingfisher that loves to dive into it to get the occasional fish. I take silly pictures that give me the pleasure of remembering those times when I was mesmerized by nature. You will find them strewn along this little blog.  Until now, I had never seen perfection captured by anyone. But today I did.  Behold, below, a majestic kingfisher as captured by a Scottish photographer.  My thanks to American Digest for having brought it to my attention.aaperfect-kingfisher-dive-photo-wildlife-photography-alan-mcfayden-311.jpg

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The blessings that come from working with good young people…

Today I realized how blessed I am to work with smart, honest and caring young individuals.  They made me laugh, they shared their concerns, they tried to rope me in because I was miffed about a silly ‘chantapufi’.   I realize it is an amazing privilege to share the ups and downs of life with my colleagues.  More than anything, I am very grateful, because these colleagues make my life meaningful.

One of my big regrets in life is that I did not take seriously the little talent I had playing classical guitar.  I was not a prodigy, but I was not bad when I was a youngster.  I did practice but not enough.  My fingers now are rather stiff compared to decades ago, but when I practice long, they regain their youthful spring.  Today, spending what I consider wonderful time conversing with my younger colleagues, made me think of a time when I was their age and ought to have continued with my classical guitar but I did not.   There is a beautiful Tárrega piece, Capricho árabe (Arab caprice), which has to be one of the most exquisite instrumental pieces ever composed.

I plan on spending time re-learning how to play it.  The lesson I hope to impart to my children and young colleagues -should they ask- is that you are never, ever old to go back and relearn something…  You are never too old to try to capture true beauty.  Compassion, empathy, appreciation for the exquisite and perfect, love of beauty, may be appreciated by the young -if they are lucky-, but these are gifts that eventually, at the sunset of one’s life, one pays closer attention because we finally understand that there are few universal truths – like this rendition of Capricho árabe, which makes me cry every time I listen to it:

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The Endurance.

Absolutely riveting: Retronaut’s amazing pictorial story of The Endurance.

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The allegory behind the girl and the mean wolf…

Before we worried about scaring children out of their wits…  we used to have stories that conveyed the dangers of human predators disguised as animals…  I watched the video below, which reminded me of the story…  I could not help myself but add this comment in Facebook:

In the old days, a Mother and Father would have told young daughters to be careful and NOT trust anyone… To pay attention to the surroundings, and not walk around like a zombie. Oh well… in this day and age it is not nice to point out the obvious. Little Red Riding Hood is so old and creepy. But, but… From my own personal experience through decades of having barely avoided trouble, the most important line in this video is the one about trusting your instinct. I can attest to the fact that “that gut feeling” or “instinct” is 99.99% correct. It fails us when we decide to be politically correct. Trust me, it is NOT worth it.

Little Red Riding-Hood

Once upon a time, there lived in a certain village, a little country girl, the prettiest creature was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grand-mother doated on her much more. This good woman got made for her a little red riding-hood; which became the girl so extremely well, that every body called her Little Red Riding-Hood.

One day, her mother, having made some girdle-cakes, said to her:

“Go, my dear, and see how thy grand-mamma does, for I hear she has been very ill, carry her a girdle-cake, and this little pot of butter.”

Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to her grand-mother, who lived in another village. As she was going thro’ the wood, she met with Gaffer Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he durst not, because of some faggot-makers hard by in the forest.

He asked her whither she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and hear a Wolf talk, said to him:

“I am going to see my grand-mamma, and carry her a girdle-cake, and a little pot of butter, from my mamma.”

“Does she live far off?” said the Wolf.

“Oh! ay,” answered Little Red Riding-Hood, “it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village.”


“Well,” said the Wolf, “and I’ll go and see her too: I’ll go this way, and you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest.”

The Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest way; and the little girl went by that farthest about, diverting herself in gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such little flowers as she met with. The Wolf was not long before he got to the old woman’s house: he knocked at the door, tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

“Your grand-child, Little Red Riding-Hood,” replied the Wolf, counterfeiting her voice, “who has brought you a girdle-cake, and a little pot of butter, sent you by mamma.”

The good grand-mother, who was in bed, because she found herself somewhat ill, cry’d out:

“Pull the peg, and the bolt will fall.”

The Wolf pull’d the peg, and the door opened, and then presently he fell upon the good woman, and ate her up in a moment; for it was above three days that he had not touched a bit. He then shut the door, and went into the grand-mother’s bed, expecting Little Red Riding-Hood, who came some time afterwards, and knock’d at the door, tap, tap.

“Who’s there?”

Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the [25]Wolf, was at first afraid; but believing her grand-mother had got a cold, and was hoarse, answered:

“‘Tis your grand-child, Little Red Riding-Hood, who has brought you a girdle-cake, and a little pot of butter, mamma sends you.”

The Wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could, “Pull the peg, and the bolt will fall.”

Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the peg, and the door opened. The Wolf seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes:

“Put the cake, and the little pot of butter upon the bread-bin, and come and lye down with me.”

Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself, and went into bed; where, being greatly amazed to see how her grand-mother looked in her night-cloaths, she said to her:

“Grand-mamma, what great arms you have got!”

“That is the better to hug thee, my dear.”

“Grand-mamma, what great legs you have got!”

“That is to run the better, my child.”

“Grand-mamma, what great ears you have got!”

“That is to hear the better, my child.”

“Grand-mamma, what great eyes you have got!”

“It is to see the better, my child.”

“Grand-mamma, what great teeth you have got!”

“That is to eat thee up.”

And, saying these words, this wicked Wolf fell upon poor Little Red Riding-Hood, and ate her all up.

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The “chantapufi”.

Time to revisit -AGAIN!- an old post. 

December 2015 – This year alone ends for me with many, many experiences with worthless but dangerous “chantapufis”.  Chantapufis are totally worthless because their only contribution to society is bullying.  But they are dangerous because, when cloaked under the mantle of authority, they can turn regular decent individuals into cowards and servile vassals.  The latest example of a Chantapufi that I have experienced is an obnoxious type, someone who wields power because of his/her position, who issues “orders” like a master to his dog:  “Come”…  And who resents what he/she perceives to be an underling who ought not to have better access to information and/or powerful individuals than he/she.  Yet, as always, when the chantapufi is revealed, he/she crawls back into the shell of isolation, like one of those crabs that move into another crab’s shell.  I ought to feel benign at this juncture, because I like to think I am a better person.  But, right now, I want to squish the Chantapufi like the cockroach that he/she is.  Not very noble nor charitable. Shame on me.

Imaginary fears, and the “chantapufi”.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, especially when doubt in one’s principles and abilities creeps in. Everyone is prone to tsk-tsk cliches and proverbs and fables alike (though not many seem to have heard of Aesop or La Fontaine nowadays), because they sometimes invoke stereotypes.  But, stereotypes are not necessarily all evil and sometimes they do help identify a certain character or characteristic, based on the cumulative knowledge that we amass through the centuries of experience.imaginary fears

One particular such stereotype is what the Argentines refer to as a “chantapufi”, a slang term that means someone who has no qualms lying or deceiving in order to gain something.  More specifically, it is a person whose word has no value because he or she has no honor.

There are many “chantapufis” in this world, and I have come across them quite often, though -in some cases- it took me a long time to figure some of them as such.  The problem is that these “chantapufis” are hard to decipher initially, because they are master liars and obfuscators.  They are very dangerous when they come cloaked in the veneer of reputable professions and organizations.

But “chantapufis” will forever be “chantapufis” so, when we are afraid of our imaginary fears, it makes sense to figure out who or what is originating that fear.  If it comes from a “chantapufi”, chances are we are hearing from a charlatan, like the fox in the Aesop’s fable….

The Fox without a Tail by Aesopfox

A fox lost his tail in escaping from a steel trap. When he began to go about again, he found that every one looked down upon or laughed at him. Not liking this, he thought to himself that if he could persuade the other foxes to cut off their tails, his own loss would not be so noticeable.

Accordingly he called together the foxes and said: “How is it that you still wear your tails? Of what use are they? They are in the way, they often get caught in traps, they are heavy to carry and not pretty to look upon. Believe me, we are far better without them. Cut off your tails, my friends, and you will see how much more comfortable it is. I for my part have never enjoyed myself so much nor found life so pleasant as I have since I lost mine.”

Upon this, a sly old fox, seeing through the trick, cried, “It seems to me, my friend, that you would not be so anxious for us to cut off our tails, if you had not already lost yours.”

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What is America to me… Frank Sinatra’s version.

This is a short (less than 10 minute film) about what America is. Not everyone feels this way anymore, but, there was a time when people did.

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One Life, One Flag, One Mile…

Words fail me.  What a remarkable man, and what a tribute!

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From my talented sister…

…from my perspective, my sister -jewelry designer Cynthia Dillon-, juxtaposes a mixture of Art Deco and Dali-esque drama, with a twist.

Why do I think so? Because, a long time ago I used to work for Tiffany & Co., at a time when “giants” of history and design were part of the Tiffany lore:  Walter Hoving, Gene Moore, Farnham Lefferts, Harry Platt.

I was not an artist (like my sister).  I was a budding lawyer, but, BUT, I was smart enough to understand the beauty and the drama behind what made Tiffany & Co. tick (it does not have the same cache today, sorry!!!!).  I was lucky enough to work for both Hoving and Lefferts, who were the kindest souls around, and taught me how to measure Presidents, CEOs and Chairmen using their example:  to this day, no one, NO ONE, -in my experience- has measured up to them.  These two patrician men knew how to relate to their workers.  Walter Hoving greeted his customers one-on-one.  He could relate to kings and dispatchers the same way.  He treated dispatchers as kings and kings as dispatchers.  One day I will write my memoires about those days.

Suffice it to say that one of my biggest thrills was to have Walter Hoving call me into his wood-paneled office to come admire the necklace President Lincoln had given his wife, which had been purchased at Tiffany’s and had been brought back there for cleaning and restoration.  I am an old lady now, who remembers how much in awe and admiration and reverence I stared at and touched the jewel as a young gal.  All these unique men are gone.  They made a big difference in corporate work and jewelry design.  Not all the T&Co. designers they encouraged were worth their time and effort.  In fact, today, the haughty store is suffering from a dearth of talent.  The mighty T&Co. of yore that carried beautiful Schlumberger designs [the legend of Breakfast at Tiffany’s] no longer exists.  But then, they were just mere mortals!  On the other hand, my sister has a unique touch that reminds us of what beautiful design used to be…even if with a flair.

…From The Depths of the #Earth….#Lava…#Jewelry

The bracelet below, I carved by hand in wax and then completed the  model in Sterling Silver and labeled it “Lava.” For the fun of it… I thought I would color one  bright red or  lacquer red…And the rest…. well, shall we say…we …leave it to the imagination!!

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From my talented sister: Rhapsody in Blue.

“Life is a lot like jazz… it’s best when you improvise.” -George Gershwin



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