Friday, October 31, 2008

French Toffee on Hallowe'en

This is our friend Toffee dressed up for Hallowe'en! She's a Franco-American chienne & we're just crazy about her. As a French girl, she knows that a little classic touch (note the hair bow) goes a long way. And she was worried that she didn't have a great costume! She knows just how to pose--touching her forepaw to a tiny autumn gourd. C'est adorable. Look at those cute baby pumpkins.

xoxo, bisou
GG & her editor

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en

GG Central

Thank you to Vintage Holiday Crafts. Please visit their site & share with others (but follow the rules of public domain).

Tents of Hope for Darfur/Tentes de l'espoir pour le Darfour

Reminder: the Tents of Hope gathering in Washington, DC, 7-9 November 2008. Please check here for updates. Darfur Peace & Development Organization will be the beneficiary of the tents & will participate in all activities.

Painting a tent in Philadelphia is the courageous journalist Al-Ghali Yahya Shegifat, also president of the Association of Darfur Journalists. Al-Ghali was released from a notorious Sudanese "ghost house" earlier this month. His "crime" was reporting the truth about Darfur. The Darfur Alert Coalition led an international campaign for his release & he has reunited with his sister, Suad Mansour (a member of the Philadelphia Darfur Alert Coalition).

Lire l'histoire ici en français "Un journaliste détenu au secret."

Despite death threats, Al-Ghali continues to speak out about the genocide in Darfur. He will speak about the plight of Darfuri political prisoners on Saturday, 8 November. Please check for updates.

Thank you so much. Merci beaucoup.

GG's editor

[photo by Susan Burgess-Lent/DPDO]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

American Stories, American Solutions

Vote, please.

Don't Be Bashful

Any help you can give, especially calling people, is so helpful. Even if you're bashful (get your pin here), you can do it. Sign up here. You can call from home. When you get an ornery person on the other end, it's a good opportunity to build personal patience. It's not so bad. Would we lie? (We would not.) Watch Barack make phone calls here.

Remember to watch Obama tonight at 8.00pm (on all networks except for ABC).

GG Central

Hang on to your hat!

It's turned so windy & cold that we had to go hat shopping at home. We love this designer. GG would look best in the modish burnt orange. Her editor loves the side flip on the sleek, stylish ivory hat. These & many more charming chapeaux are at Tomokotahara shop on Etsy. The Japanese designer, Tomoko Tahara, lives in Vancouver, BC nowadays. Most important--to GG--TT loves cats & goes for walks just to visit the neighborhood felines. Tomoko is a featured seller on Etsy this month, though we've admired her work before now. Congratulations to her.

bisou, xoxo
GG & her editor

Steady on

We can't afford to slip up in the final days. Volunteer this weekend and into Election Day, November 4th, 2008.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Butternut squash for tough times

We're a little embarrassed. We've never cooked butternut squash. Or any winter squash except the glamorous pumpkin. So when we saw organic butternut & acorn squash on sale, we bought some. It's stares & mocks from a large platter in the kitchen. It knows we're scared. It knows we've inexplicably lost our best paring knife & peeler. (Into the garbage? Is this possible? Nowadays, anything is...we are in an Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole drama.)

We have cooked things so much scarier than squash, so the fear is grounded in icky-gooey gourd dishes to which we were subjected as a child (not by our mum, though). We have nightmares about marshmallows & treacle-y potions poured onto root veggies & squash in autumns & holidays past.

A butternut squash soup recipe from Nigella Lawson's site reader's recipe link--one of five top-rated recipes. Here's another tasty looking soup recipe from the Whole Foods site.

Also, while out & about last week no less than five free publications were worth bringing home & reading; they range from Edible Chesapeake to a Cook's Illustrated give-away to The Whole Deal at Whole Foods. In a previous The Whole Deal, here's a roasted butternut squash with sage & cranberry recipe. We have all three items on hand--what are the odds? (The other pubs were literary & we'll get to them later.) So off we go. It's so cold & windy here that turning on the oven will be a relief.

Today, GG
has alternated sleeping in a huge red felt Italian cape & playing with a ball of yarn . But of course.

Cheers. GG's cook

Public Domain Images .
Courges butternut (Cucurbita moschata)
Photo JH Mora, septembre 2005

Public Domain Images

Down the Rabbit Hole

That's just how GG & her editor feel about the weird anti-Obama email piled up in our main account. How on earth could anyone not know, by now, where we stand, that we've already voted, & we volunteer for the campaign? It's ugly stuff, too. So ugly that we're not going to put in our customary fun & pun links. Perhaps people are in denial, perhaps they slipped & hit "forward." We don't care any more--no excuses. If you see this & have to think for one second "Did I send anything like that?" -- then you did. Cut it out.

GG & her editor

Monday, October 27, 2008

You don't have your pumpkin yet?

Well why ever not? Get moving. Friday will be here before you know it. And yes, this pin is a little weird, but until the election something will be posted every day & GG's editor is in a mad rush. As always, from We expect our friends & family to send us photos of their trick or treaters. This means you! [It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will be on TV tomorrow evening in the U.S. Don't pretend you don't watch it.]

GG Central Mgmt.

Dylan & Sylvia

No, we're not morbid. Why do you ask? Because anyone who posts anything about Sylvia Plath must be: 1) morbid; 2) full of teen-age angst; 3) fill in the blank? Nah. We just like a lot of her work. We do wish that acolytes who seem to have read only The Bell Jar, Lady Lazarus, & Daddy would, uh, read more. And for heaven's sake, quit going on about Ted Hughes; read his poetry, too. Today, is also the natal day of the greatest Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

We're very busy, still no fast Internet, no camera; the illustration is in the public domain. Both Plath & Thomas families/biographers/industries are notoriously litigious. Honestly, a little cat blog is paranoid? You betcha.

GG is acting up, again. We throw up our hands. There is much interesting news, recipes, fashion, literary tales, newly-discovered blogs to mention. But no time. So here's a recipe for Welsh rarebit (not rabbit!) from the Joy of Cooking. (The cookbook was very important to Plath.) Additionally, here are two poems from each troubled, but honored, poet. Also, a new-to-us site maintained by a Plath biographer; it's intro: "A celebration, this is..." It's about time. (We cannot vouch for the biography, as we have not read it yet.)

GG's editor

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apricot Rose & Jane

The proverbial last bloom is nigh...GG's editor has seen late blooms on floribunda roses around the neighborhood, even downtown. In desperation, she snipped one small apricot-colored flower. Don't judge! Do you think that this will be held against Obama? We're at the ready to bat back ridiculous rumors, scurrilous commentary, & plain ol' mean-spiritedness--all of which are on abundant display. If you hear something you don't like, check here for the facts. This isn't over until YOU vote.

GG was working on her Jo the Plumber get-up for Hallowe'en (with help from management), but has stooped to cliché, unravelling a half-knitted scarf. We may push for the easier Sarah Six-Pack costume. We are not cat dressers but our late dear friend Jane S. said "a cat isn't a cat until it's been dressed up at least once." When Jane passed away, her garden was a 65+ year-old masterpiece (planted by her parents) & full of resident cats, kittens, dogs, & puppies (oh, & grandchildren, too). She was an endless source of heaps of cut flowers, excellent advice, wry commentary, recipes, tips, history, literary quotes, & everything else. When all else failed (whether the conundrum was a social crisis, chaos backstage, university hanky-panky, or stain removal), a cast of hundreds (including her fabulous family) thought the same thing: "Ask Jane." And so we did.

xoxo, bisou
GG's editor

Public Domain Images

A Signature Scarf for Sunday

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scarf Chic, la sixième partie...meow!

It's all in how you tie it, how you work it. Thanks to Birmingham-based (UK) Scary-Canary shop on e-Bay for the adorably named Vintage Pussy-bow neck scarf. Silver-cream, 1940s, Deco. What more could you want? You want more? There are more. GG is entranced by the moving slideshow, the bird logo, & the idea of slinking about adorned with a pussy-bow scarf. She was thinking about flower pins & scarves this past summer. Lately, she's been watching videos of Mireille G (& others) twirl pieces of fabric into stylish magic.

If you're chic & self-assured like GG, wind one 'round your head like this charming London girl.

Ciao-meow, bisou...
GG's editor

Friday, October 24, 2008

Brunettes for Obama

We're having computer & network trouble. Egad. So pardon us while we brood, worry, & wonder how we will have it fixed. Off to tend to our roots sans hairdresser. Due to financial disaster we are stretching out hair appointments: our one luxury (GG is an absolute necessity). Fume.

GG Central Mgmt.

GG in les Tuileries

GG & her editor can dream, non? We would watch the little kids & their sailboats...people watch, flip through a new Vogue (Zola or Balzac at night), go to a Ladurée shop for a macaron (or two). New York artist Carol Gillott of lovely Paris Breakfasts is off to Paris soon. We wish her a safe journey & look forward to reaping the vicarious rewards of her photography & watercolors upon her return.

We're having some computer troubles so we must go. We have much to report about the Tents of Hope gathering. And GG's big news--for Halloween, she'll be GG the Plumber. We think she's made an excellent choice.

Ciao-meow, xoxo
GG Central Mgmt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Young artistes for Darfur

Aren't these young Philadelphia girls adorable & talented? This photo was taken a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania. Our friend Susan from Darfur Peace & Development Organization went to a Tents for Hope painting party, in advance of the large event the weekend of 7 November 2008. GG might attend one short event (outside, in deference to the allergic) if she will behave & stay in her shoulder bag (as in no plaintive mewing to cause pleas for her release so that people can hold her). Please check the web site & blog for updates. We'll have more photos soon. The painted tents from all over the United States (like the one above) will be in Washington, DC for exhibition before they are shipped to Darfur.

Have a good evening (or morning to our friends in Australia & New Zealand!)

GG's editor

Autumn cameo

Isn't she lovely? This is the allegorical figure of Autumn (in Italian, Cammeo su conchiglia raffigurante testa femminile allegoria dell'autunno) carved into shell. [Generously offered to the public by Italian photographer Matteo Pedani under a Creative Commons license. There is no other link.]

GG's editor is fond of southern Italian cameos (where the art form originated). Along with seashell cameos, Campania is well-known for coral jewellry. We treasure dainty earrings with tiny coral oval drops surrounded by simple gold filigree, 'dropping' from little gold seashells. (Oh, we do need a camera; how frustrating.) The miniature earrings were waiting for us in a neglected Neapolitan church charity shop more than 20 years ago. They are not valuable to anyone but GG's editor.

Why cameos today? We are listening to Italian opera (at night) on the radio. Then we thought about decorative material representations of Autumn, the Palazzo Reale in Caserta (in Campania) with its huge ceiling "seasons" paintings, while we took off our costume cameo earrings. That is how a disorganized, overwhelmed mind works!

GG Central

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday at the Phillips with GG

GG longs to see the real The Boating Party. She'll have to sneak in because her editor is way too busy to take her. GG is taken with the story of her editor's Boating Party costume party many years ago. And with that, we must take our leave. Do visit the web site, it's lovely. GG is organizing a weekly salon (as threatened this past summer)...details forthcoming on her foray into café society. (She's already redecorating the apartment in her little feline mind. Great idea--now she can get a job.)

Ciao-meow, nos amis!
GG Central Mgmt.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bonne nuit

(c) Free pictures of cities

Woof. Meow. Squeak.

Update: We've taken out the video--it is wreaking havoc on our site & is massively irritating. Go to the Post site directly to watch them. Here's a photo of GG's editor's adorable childhood pup, Archie.

Here are the six finalists (two winners) in the Washington Post's Pet Songs Contest. Seriously. Naturally (sigh) both winning songs are to dogs. Not that there's anything wrong with being a dog. But we just knew that no cat song would win. You can vote for the reader's choice award here. The Post critics chose Bones; the staff pick is Mr. Scrappers, You're a Good Boy. (Baron von Scrappers is a Katrina rescue dog, & we have a soft spot for those guys.) There are four additional video/songs in competition for the popular vote: Sami Cat, Rescue Dog Rock, Georgia (cat), & in the Squeak category, Rat Song (or "We've Got Three Rats"). Actually, ever since seeing Ratatouille, we can't shriek at the sight of a rat (if it's not in our apartment). Miss Virginia, one of the rats, is quite a looker.

GG's editor

PS: Thank you to [a really fun animal/pet site] for video link assistance. The Post is definitely not making it easy to share these videos. One has to question their business plan. More on soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Give Them Shelter

The Gathering of Tents for Darfur
An Interfaith Event
National Mall
November 7-9, 2008

Hundreds of activist groups, including school children from 48 states, will unite on the National Mall to send a message to the Darfuri people:

We care about ending their five years of suffering.
We are sending help directly to their communities.

Decorated tents used by groups across the U.S. for public education about the Darfur genocide are being shipped for use as classrooms in Darfur.

The event features a vigil at the Sudanese Embassy, interfaith services, workshops for adult & child activists, musical performances, speakers, & a rally.

For complete information & program schedule, visit our blog.

There will be regular updates & reminders about this event. If you can't be in Washington, DC, you can still participate & are very welcome. We'd love to hear from you.

GG's editor

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Dahlias in a moment.

GG's editor has received searches & requests regarding the "English Muffin" t-shirt worn by Nigella Lawson in a post earlier this autumn. We've searched & the shops that make them & are easily found (zazzle & cafepress) are vulgar & cheesy. And not in a funny way. So we're not linking to them. You could order a t-shirt from any vendor & it will look just as good. Slap a Union Jack on it if you like. If anyone finds a cute shirt like Nigella's, let us know. We are aggrieved that we are unable to accommodate our lovely readers.

Dahlias because...we needed to tell everyone about Nigella. And because GG Central hopes you have pulled up your dahlia tubers & put them to "bed" for the winter. And because we are so frustrated that we cannot, in good conscience, post photos from today's New York Times Style Magazine: The French Issue. So here's a link. Have fun.

xoxo, GG's editor

PS: Thank you to Mark Twyning for his lovely dahlia photos; he placed them in the public domain & we are very grateful.

Book Lovers for Obama

Here is Politics & Prose Bookstore's link--with the events calendar. If you're visiting the DC-area, we're sure you'd feel very welcome there. Look for's her favorite bookstore. The campaign pin, as always, is from

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The Marimekko Concept store in Silver Spring (Washington, DC area) offers quilt & sewing classes. Starting Monday, 20 October, is a pillow cover making class. There are four classes from 10am-noon & it's for beginners, so no worries. The store is staffed by friendly people & you finish with a new pillow & the knowledge to make some more. Homemade Christmas & Hannukah presents on the horizon? If your schedule can't accommodate Monday mornings, there are other classes available. Stop by to look at the sale & clearance items, as well. [Heila cushion by Marimekko]

bisou, GG's editor

Friday, October 17, 2008

Double Indemnity

GG's editor only knew Fred MacMurray as the dad in My Three Sons. When she was an undergraduate in France, she saw this film at an English-French cinema club. Shocked, shocked! After watching The Apartment (a favorite to this day), it was clear that MacMurray was disturbingly good at playing these guys. Double Indemnity, a classic not to be missed, is playing three times today (Friday) at the AFI Silver Theatre: 4.45, 7.00, & 9.15pm. It's easy to buy tickets on-line & there is no charge for doing so (I know!). The series is co-sponsored by The Film Noir Foundation. Here's a funny article from Wednesday's Washington Post about film noir.

Go & have fun. Or if you can't, rent it.

Good weekend,

GG's editor

(GG is preparing to be more present next week. She's planning an outing but we're not sure where yet.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to Oscar

Oscar Wilde was born this day in 1854 in Dublin. There are so many sites devoted to him but here are some good links. GG's editor has used an Oscar quote for her main email address for years. Everyone comments on it the first time they receive an email. It's quite clearly attributed to O.W. so we suppose the compliments concern our good taste & sense of humor. We accept the compliments but, really, how difficult is it to find a great Oscar quote? Have a great evening.

GG Central Mgmt.

Oatcakes for tough times

We'd not bothered to make these until this past summer & are making up for it. Now we're sure to keep quick-cooking oats (not instant) on hand. We are far too frazzled to be baking lately; however, these are an exception. All biscuit/cookie cutters (except holiday themed) have inexplicably disappeared from our kitchen, but a small juice glass or clean tin ring works just fine. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

While looking for a photo (no, still no camera), we saw scads of different oatcake recipes, histories, & so on. Here is a similar recipe from an interesting blog, Bread, Water, Salt, Oil; also an article from BBC Home. Perhaps a running series on oatcakes (!) is in the abstract future. Meanwhile, we haven't time to ask permission from any bloggers for photographs, so the Walkers photo will have to do...& no, these are not the same oatcake but they are very good.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lard or butter, melted
6-14 tablespoons, very hot water
1 baking sheet
3-inch biscuit cutter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the oats in a bowl & add the salt & baking soda. Make a well, pour in the fat & stirring with a wooden spoon, enough hot water to mix to a stiff dough. Knead it for a while to make it come smoothly together, then roll out as thinly as you can. Cut into triangles or rounds & bake on the ungreased sheet for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden brown & the oatcakes themselves are firm (they'll crisp up upon cooling). Remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes 15-20.

Nigella's notes: "There's something very satisfying about making such good, plain fare as oatcakes--as if you're doing something sober & basic & not entertaining yourself with fripperies. If you can bring yourself to use lard, please do. Did you know that it is a less saturated fat than butter?"

GG Notes:
These are fast to make, even in the morning. At teatime, they're nice with a bit of demerara sugar sprinkled on top. These are subtle but satisfying & inexpensive to make. Store in a tin--if they last that long. GG's editor makes two batches at a time. We cannot bring ourselves to use lard, though.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Save the change

GG's editor has always loved small purses, especially framed coin pouches. These from JPATPURSES on Etsy don't have frames but they are adorable, affordable, & on sale right now. The seller was featured in July; here's her profile interview. She's really smart & has great taste not only in fabric but in books & film, too. The picture at top is a public domain illustration (maintained by karen's whimsy) of a small purse. If you're handy, we suppose you could copy it. If not, Vogue has accessory patterns...


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Full Hunter's Moon

Full moon time. No time for us to do anything except say thanks to David Haworth on for the photo & information from Night Sky Info. Also to note that, appropriate to the ghoulish season, the moon after the Harvest Moon (this year it was in September) is also known as the Blood or Sanguine moon. Boo!

Buona notte.

Blue Belle, Buttercup, Paperwhites, & Greta

From Kitchen Table Studio on Etsy. There are so many lovely items & the artist is from Northern Virginia (in GG Central's region). Everything is well priced & made from already-existing materials. The seller has uniformly excellent feedback & at least one person in Ireland is very happy with the shipping policy, so that's no problem. We just might break our no-purchase rule before the year is out. Very tempting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Military Wives for Obama

Latte-Sipping, Arugula-Eating Élitists

People are angry & bitter & focus on a vegetable? This is really a shame. Arugula has always been a vegetable eaten by everyone in other parts of the world. It's a crucifer in the brassica family (you know, anti-cancer) & became popular in the States some years ago. Italians (non-élitist Italians, too) eat it. Some clever, non-élitist farmers followed a capitalist agenda & -- gasp-- planted & harvested arugula to their advantage. Apparently, this is un-American in some quarters. Oh, we're sure there are PhDs being written on such shady goings-on. Here are three good recipes from the fabulous (non-élitist) Lidia Bastinach. [The arugula & white bean salad is particularly affordable.] Catch Lidia's shows on élitist PBS where she makes much less money than on cable. Suspicious, eh?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Modern Times

Well, this is timely. The DC Labor FilmFest continues at the AFI Silver Theatre & Cultural Center through October 14, 2009. Modern Times shows today at 2:45pm. GG is meowing to the Internationale.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


It's been warm but before you know'll be sorry you didn't put in enough (or any). Bulb planting is the gardener's proverbial confidence that spring will return. What with the dreadful news all around, a little confidence couldn't be a bad thing. We're just saying...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Madeline and the Cats of Rome

Well, it's about time that Madeline went to Rome! The book was published in September by the grandson of original Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans.

GG looks longingly at the Madeline doll out of her reach on the bookshelf. She wouldn't play nice, we're pretty sure. She's like Madeline, a feisty, independent,mischievous redhead. In fact, GG's middle name is 'Madeline,' after guess who? She looks just like the cat in the lower right hand of the cover. More soon about the long list of Roman sights that Miss Clavel & the girls see (plan to see?).


Thursday, October 9, 2008

We'll Take That One

Capitalism is still alive, sort of. This is from eanderso's shop on Zazzle. Lots of (funny) merchandise from all over the world posted later today & through the week.
ciao, GG

Scarf Chic, la cinquième partie...clouds of warmth

These have a different function (keeping warm in style) but they remind us of Renaissance ruffs. Again, these are from the Canadian shop knittles on Etsy. Instead of a new coat, they zip up what's already in the closet; it could serve as a signature piece. There are short scarves, along with the cowls, here & elsewhere on Etsy's site, called 'scarflettes.' The knittles artist refers to them as 'clouds of warmth.' Poetic, non? Naturellement, GG wants one & her editor admits that it would be chic. However, we intend to pick up the knitting needles soon for a scarf (to be worn by a human), not an Elizabethan cat ruff. GG Central Management expects & is prepared for a protest, GG-style.

Giulia's editor

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Roman night...

More than any other city in the world, GG must visit Roma. Preferably, she would live there--a better city for a gattina, we cannot imagine. Look for Madeline in Rome on Friday...Check out If you can't be there now, at least you can read & see what's going on in Rome. (Real photographs, too, not just 'stock.')

Buona notte!

Rose & Azure & Autumn Bloom

Knitting & knitwear still on the mind (head). These are lovely & new on Etsy's Canadian knittles shop. One can buy a copyrighted pattern [in PDF format] or have something custom made. These are chic, flattering, & easy-to-wear simultaneously; not always the case. [As for the title, our Canadian artiste named the hats Rose & Azure & Autumn Bloom. GG's editor loves those very words & they popped up in an Etsy tag search.]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wake up, put on your glasses, & vote!

No we're not an optometrist...but GG's editor wears glasses (sometimes) & goes to a fabulous optician in Georgetown (not everything in G-town is expensive--relatively speaking). We don't even know if Virginia B. is an Obama supporter but actually, we don't have to ask. This is but one of hundreds of campaign buttons available. [Yes, we know the difference between an optician & an optometrist. Here is ours; he's really good.]

Watch the debate! Here's the lottery for debate question submissions...Tom Brokaw has received tens of thousands (at least) so it's participation in theory only.

bisou, GG & her editor

Welsh Cakes for Tough Times

GG's editor's food cravings are regressing towards childhood with each batch of awful world news. Nigella's Domestic Goddess cookbook hasn't had such a workout in this house since it arrived some years ago. We're excited about the debate tonight, though.


GG & her editor

(Photo courtesy of Anita of bakingandsewing)

Welsh Cakes 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
1-2/3 cups self-rising cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
scant 1/2 cup golden raisins (or be wild & use any chopped up dried fruit on hand)
1 large egg, beaten
3-inch crinkled round cutter (or glass, etc.)
smooth griddle or cast-iron frying pan
Rub the butter into the flour as you would if making biscuits, then stir in the sugar, spice, & dried fruit. Add the egg to make a soft but not sticky dough. Form a disc, cover with a plastic wrap, & leave in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch, & cut out your little cakes; you will need to re-roll & so forth but that shouldn't be problematic. Preheat your unoiled griddle or cast-iron frying pan & cook the cakes for about 3 minutes each side, until golden brown. Remove to a cold plate & sprinkle with sugar. (GG note: demerara sugar is lovely on top as a crunchy change)
Makes about 20.