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Showing posts from June, 2015

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British Isles Friday: Little pink houses for you and for me.

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"Ain't that America, home of the free"? No John Mellencamp, it's not. This little pink house is in London, on Elgin Crescent in Nottinghill. A street known for it's pretty pastel-painted row houses.
When I think of the colorful—colourful?—houses of Nottinghill, I think of rows of shining happy facades, neat as a pin. My mind skims right over the places where they need a touch up, the chipped white painted iron work of the front gate, the dirt that comes with the drizzle of the rain tainting the cornice over the front porch.
My photos from the trip that took us to London last spring clear the misty haze from my romanticized image, revealing the truth. As pretty as this pink house is, it isn't perfect. Still, I love it. I'm a fan of pink houses, turquoise walls, green doors, houses painted in the colors that you see on homes in the tropics.
They're not everyone's cup of tea, many preferring houses that come in shades of white and grey. How about you? Wo…

The First Time I Saw Paris [memoir]

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That's me with the glasses and the sensible shoes. Look at the height of my mother's heels! 
The first time I saw Paris it was December, 1958 and I was five. The old family photos show that when it wasn't dripping wet, the sky was a dull steely grey. This wasn't Paris when it sizzles, this was Paris when it drizzles. Cold. Miserable. Could it be that it just looks that way because the photos are black and white? Could be, but we had just left Tripoli where the sun blazed all year long; that wintry Parisian nip must have been shocking.
Little did I know my parents were about to take me out of the fire into the frying pan, or to be more accurate, out of the fire into the icebox. After several years of living in North Africa, we were on our way to Canada. Canada where we would arrive, by boat, in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the middle of winter. Average temperature: Below freezing. Brrrr, baby, brrrr!
But first, that stopover in Paris. My parents dragged us everywhere, from the …

10 Ways to Know You're a Brit at Heart

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We can't all be British. Yes, some of us love our British telly, are dotty for real football players—especially when they look like David Beckham—and actors like Benedict can grab our Cumberbatch anytime, but that doesn't make us True Brits. True Brits know teddibly, teddibly brilliant British-y things. Like the fact that being married to a prince doesn't mean we call Kate Middleton, Princess Kate. Her Royal Highness is actually a duchess. And William? He's not just a prince, he's a duke. Somehow that's even better than being an ordinary Royal type prince. Don't worry, even True Brits don't know exactly why.

But you might be a Brit at heart if :
You know PG Tips aren't pointers on your golf game.

You know pasties are a kind of pie, not something that would make the Queen blush.

When the flags start waving on the fourth of July, you pour one out for King George.

You know a cock-up is just another way of saying snafu. Unless you're a wanker.

You know mi…

File this one under: My British Roots are Showing

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I lost my English accent about half a century ago but I'm still a True Brit at heart. My addiction to British telly is, er, telling, and currently I'm in the middle of a Scott & Bailey bingefest. To be honest there are times I can't make head nor tails of what some of the characters, usually the criminals with the heaviest Yorkshire accents, are saying either. But still, these are my peeps.

So I was thrilled to discover that BBC America has a website devoted not just to their programming but to the whole wonderful world of Brits in America. They've dubbed it AnglopheniaBritish Culture with an American Accent which pretty much sums me up. Pretty much An American Girl lusting for London. I'm sure the site isn't new, it's just new to me. If you're feeling sad and lonely for the British Isles you can stop by to learn How to Make a Cup of Tea the British Way, or discover who's going to play Prince Phillip in the new Netflix drama The Crown, a sort of …

How do you say Z?

Z Zzzz How do you pronounce the letter "Z"?  If you say Z so that it rhymes with bee, then chances are you're an American. But if you say Zed, as in Ed wets the bed, then you're most likely from the British Isles or one of the other English speaking, probably commonwealth, countries of the world; Australia, New Zealand, Canada. Places where the Queen's portrait hangs on the classroom wall, and peers down at perps in your local constabulary.  Actually I hear Canadians are mixed on the subject of Z, they're so nice and accommodating they go both ways. 

While there's not a right or wrong way to say it, as those of us who live in America say, the letter is derived from the Greek letter 'zeta' and most other countries pronounce it similarly to the British way. Zéde in French, Zet in German, Zeta in Italian. While the way we say it in the states—Zee, rhyming with bee and oh gee—isn't exactly wrong, it's not right either. It's just different. 

V…

Have you been watching the wise, wild, wackpot, wonderfully real women of Scott & Bailey?

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Lesley Sharp as DI Janet Scott, Duranne Jones as Rachel Bailey, Amelia Bullmore as Gillian Murray
I've previously moaned about how homesick I am for England, and both my parents, now deceased. British telly soothes me, the familiar voices calm me, just as my mum offering me a cup of tea or stroking my head did when I was a child. I admit there are times when I'm not really paying attention, the television program behaving more like beautiful background music.

That's not Scott & Bailey. Written by the remarkable Sally Wainwright who penned both the gritty Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey is all about being a strong, capable, complex, crazy woman in a man's world. With some exciting crime show plots thrown in for good measure.

Have you been watching the show? I caught a few episodes here and there on PBS but when I discovered Hulu has the entire series, I decided to get serious and go right back to the beginning. I've just finished seaso…

X-hibit A: LACMA's 50 for 50 ... Things to See in L.A.

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About a week ago, I promised you (and myself) that I was going to finish up the #AtoZChallenge, a blogarooni thingey designed for the month of April. Ugh, it's somehow June and I still haven't wrapped it up. My last #AtoZ post was  W and Walking in LA because some of us, yes, even in LA do. I embellished that post with David Hockney's Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, one of my favorite Hockney pieces.  The piece lives here in LA, as Hockney has for years, on the third floor of LACMA's Art of the America's building. Although as far as I know, David Hockney never lived there; something about the lack of a bed and possibly a swimming pool. Yes, he left Los Angeles for awhile, went to Birmingham but he's been back at his Hollywood Hills studio since 2013.


Part of Mulholland Drive's  POW! power is how massive the piece is, at 7 feet high by 20 feet long, it stops you in your tracks. There's no way to escape it and why would you want to? Living here,…