Friday, July 30, 2010

GG Spies With Her Little Eye - Week's End

...something annoyed & frazzled. Oh, that would be her editor! Have a refreshing weekend, try to keep cool. We'll be back next week for a little round up & announcements for August.

ciao-cheers-meow/GG's editor

(beautiful photograph by Virginia

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clunkers for Cats, Paws in the Park, & Certified Pre-Owned Cats

OK, it's Clunkers for Cats & Dogs...see here for the Washington Animal Rescue League's program for donation of wheels to benefit the League. Also, while GG will be on holiday, there are two more opportunities for dogs to take their people to a cocktail party at the Park Hyatt. The dates are 4 August & 1 September, 6-8pm. The low cost of this hilarity is $12.00 (includes 2 drink tickets). You just never know who will show up, so mix & mingle, people!

Here is the complete list of events listed so far, for the rest of the summer. There will be a dog adoption event at the Whole Foods near us this weekend, 31 July-1 August. (GG thinks it's her Whole Foods but it really is for everyone.) Also, note there will be another dog adoption event the same weekend at the Legg Mason Tennis Tennis Classic, nearby.

Finally, a very worthy program & it's GG approved (well, that is important, after all)--

This Summer the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Washington Animal Rescue League and Washington Humane Society are teaming up with local car dealers Don Beyer Volvo, Lindsay Lexus, Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota and Mercedes Benz of Alexandria to bring love into your life. Throughout the summer find great adoption specials on certified, pre-owned cats at any one of these “showrooms.”

All adopted cats come complete with a “five point inspection” including all basic vaccinations, testing for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, sterilization and microchip. What’s more, their value actually increases when you take them home!

Special features include:

* A lifetime of love & companionship
* Loaded with adorable features
* Standard 4-paw drive
* High-performing engines (up to 9600 purrs per minute)
* Automatic lap warmers
* 100% loveable, guaranteed


* Spay/neuter surgery
* Feline leukemia/feline AIDS test
* Distemper vaccination
* Personalized I.D. tag
* Microchip
* Information packet

We have a variety of models to choose from at all of our showrooms.
Click on our different locations to find just what you’re looking for!

[image via WARL website]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Beatrix

"It's the birthday of the children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, (books by this author) born Helen Beatrix Potter in London, England (1866). She's the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903), The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904), and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (1908)." --The Writer's Almanac

GG & her editor are, but of course, big fans of Miss Beatrix. We have little time today to write much, but visit the V&A Museum links for information much better written (& edited) than we can accomplish today. The V&A holds the world's largest collection of Potter's drawings, literary manuscripts, correspondence, & related materials. The museum hosts a changing display on particular aspects of Potter's work in the Beatrix Potter Showcase. Another terrific link is the ENR Illustrators Project: Helen Beatrix Potter via the University of Pittsburgh's Helen Nesbitt Room site.

GG is a wee bit jealous to learn that her editor has seen much of Miss Potter's work (especially in the UK). We have explained to her that this was before she was born. We've not had a chance to return in four years--how could we? We can barely leave her for 48 hours to go to Chincoteague (the pony swim is today, remember). Honestly, you just can't win when GG begins to catalogue her complaints. (If you were thinking, GG's exploits over the years sound a tad Peter would be correct.)

ciao-exasperated meow/GG's editor

PS: Quelle horreur! A man on a radio program is reciting his favorite rabbit recipe. Must go flatten GG's ear-tips to muffle the sound.

[images via the V& A, & wikimedia here, & here]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Darfur Peace & Development Organization - Annual Report 2009

Darfur Peace & Development Organization's Annual Report (2009) is available here, in pdf format. Below are some highlights from the report, & here is a link to listen to Program Director Susan Burgess-Lent’s interview on Circle Connections BlogTalk radio program. She discusses the progress and status of the Darfur Women’s Centers.

We hope that you will consider buying a basket or two, to donate a small sum to the high school under construction, to any of the worthy programs. GG's editor assures you that money goes from you directly to Sudan, with very little spent in administrative costs. (DPDO financial reports, here).

Thank you so much.

[front cover & children at daycare center in Abu Shouk canmp by Susan Burgess-Lent/DPDO/all rights reserved]

Highlights from DPDO Annual Report - 2009:

The global economic crisis in 2009 created many challenges for humanitarian aid organizations--including DPDO. In the face of diminishing donations, we strengthened strategic planning to continue meeting the needs of program beneficiaries. DPDO board and staff have rededicated themselves to continue the vision and the mission of the organization.

This would not have been possible without our dedicated schools and supporters in the U.S., in particular, Ante Up for Africa, a celebrity organization that donated a total of $500,000. This funding enabled construction to begin on Gangy High School for orphans in El Fasher, near one of the largest IDP camps in North Darfur. The site has a new water well that provides 2000 gallons per hour for the school and neighboring IDPs. With construction underway as of September 2009, the school expects to enroll 460 students in June 2010.

Our Women’s Center beneficiaries have increased to 218 weavers, sixty literacy trainees, and 150 children in a pre-school program. Fifty-seven women were trained in first aid at the Centers in cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

In 2009, the Solar Cooker Program trained 184 beneficiaries in Malit, in Sakali camp, South Darfur, in Abuja and Abu Shouk camps near El Fasher, and at Ahfad University, Khartoum and in El Haj-Yousif (Khartoum North).

DPDO’s Schools Program has undergone significant change. The level of funding has not allow continued, equitable payment of teacher and staff salaries. Instead, we are improving the education environment by providing teacher and student supplies and additional resources for water.

With the support of the UNICEF, we were able to supply 37 schools in North Darfur with a total enrollment of 19,352 students. A goal for 2010 is to begin rehabilitation and reconstruction of classrooms, teacher offices and latrines.

Omer Ismail and Suliman Giddo were highly engaged in the process of bringing peace to Darfur as neutral third parties consulting with and unifying all conflicted parties. They completed five missions to Sudan, eight to Chad, four to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), three to Egypt, two to Libya, and four missions to Doha. In collaboration with ICAR, American University and Siena University in Italy, DPDO brought top leaders from seven Darfur rebel groups to Siena for five days consultation on unification.

Even with sustained growth and success, DPDO faces real challenges to continue serving our beneficiaries and to bring peace in Darfur. As always, we turn to our supporters and donors. Their generosity enables us continue our humanitarian work for the war-affected people of Darfur.

2008 DPDO Annual Report

Full 2007 Annual Report (pdf format)

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wild Ponies of Chincoteague - 85th Annual Swim

Giulia has greeted with unusual hard feelings the news that she will not be attending the 85th Annual Firemen's Carnival, Pony Swim & Penning & auction in Chincoteague, Virginia this Wednesday (28 July 2010). This news was not unexpected but one cannot always reason with a feline.

That her editor was in Chincoteague (briefly) last month, only adds to Giulia's distress. It was decided that GG would not accompany us to the elegant Channel Bass Inn. The wonderful innkeepers offered a room suitable for the redheaded feline but the stress of worrying about her mischievous nature was too much for her editor's delicate nervous system. Channel Bass innkeepers, Barbara & David had eleven cats on the premises, so GG feels that she's been held back socially.

In plain American English: GG is stinkin' mad. For she also wants a Chincoteague pony (who doesn't?) to ride, especially at sunset on the Assateague* shoreline. She wants to visit Mueller's Ice Cream Parlour (again, who doesn't?), & she just wants to parade up & down Main Street as if she lives there. (On cue: who doesn't?)

GG must be content--this summer--with listening to Marguerite Henry's 1947 award-winning Misty of Chincoteague & looking at 2-1/2 decades worth of photographs. We avoid the pony swim (it's very crowded but it's fun to do once or twice), but the week before the big splash, the fireman have a carnival. You eat big pieces of pie, hop onto a ride, become ill, & shriek for it to stop. It's a tradition, you see. The operators think they're giving you extra time/fun, & all you can think is, "Oh dear, that last slice of blueberry is about to become public knowledge." It's more entertaining than it sounds; especially for masochists, one's friends & family.

Other big attractions are the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, especially just before sunset. We hear sunrise is lovely, too, but um.... Also, ta da, our favorite, Assateague Island National Seashore. (Take a loop around the Refuge to & from the beach, daily. Terns, egrets, Great Blue Heron--if you are very fortunate indeed.)

The Feather Fund helps at least one child sucessfully bid on a pony at the auction. The late, lovely Carollynn Supplee & her spontaneous generosity inspired the Feather Fund. Grab a hankie & read Carollynn's story. We are pleased to see that there are two winners this year.

If you're going this year, have a super time. If you have never thought of going (not only at pony penning time), do. We've met many French Canadians over the years in Chincoteague. We're not sure if it's still a popular spot for them, but we hope so.

ciao-chinc-meow/GG's party pooper editor

(*Assateague barrier island is divided between Maryland & Virginia. The Maryland herd is managed by the State & does not auction ponies.)

[images via Chincoteague National Refuge, tripadvisor, & Channel Bass Inn; our photographs still await a good scanning.]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cool, Calm Green - Week's End

GG thinks that if she ever dons a fancy frock, this is the one she'd choose. A roll of the eyes, but actually green is her color, for sure. She wears a green cotton (organic, of course) collar, seen here.

For last year's post about the dress on GG's editor's blog, click here. For a wonderful dessert, Crème de Menthe Trifle, click The Clever Pup's blog. (The dessert title inspired our name for the dress.) For Nick Bartoletti's wonderful Clise Mansion photo shoot, please see here. If you want to do a little green shopping, check out these Darfur Baskets (ooh, sneaky), here.

Have a calm, cool, green weekend. We're trying--but it is the umpteenth day (month?) of 90+ degrees. Oof.

ciao-meow/GG's personal shopper

[photographs by Olga & Nick Bartoletti]

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cape Cod Morning

GG Central is under-the-weather & so we'll post just a little bit through month's end & then take a summer break.*

We're in a birthday acknowledgment mood--it makes things easier, yes. So today, it is Edward Hopper (1882-1967), American painter. This is
Cape Cod Morning (1950), in the collection at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum.
American Art's nicely done An Edward Hopper Scrapbook & Artcyclopedia's page on Hopper painting holdings world-wide.


*Before we take a break, all information regarding Darfur Baskets & their acquisition-by-you will be posted on the front page.

[Cape Cod Morning image via Smithsonian]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hemingway's Cats

Today is Ernest Hemingway's birthday & we're celebrating with a little tour down Key West way. GG is jealous of the cool lives these cats lead in the laid-back tropics (& of their lineage, of course). GG would dearly love extra "toes". (Her Nibs has been informed that it is an unattractive thing, envy. Didn't make an impression.)

Here's a terrific link to the Hemingway Home & Museum. There are photographs of the cats (there's even one named Audrey Hepburn), a live cat-cam, & explanations about the cats in the writer's life, how they are cared for now (they're quite well-off, thank you very much), & the history of cats on Key West.

The largest available archive of Hemingway material is at the JFK Presidential Library & Museum, here. You can read Hemingway's short story
Cat in the Rain, here (a pdf download).

ciao-meow/GG's literary editor

[photographs of Hairy Truman via LA Times blog, Hemingway with kitten via JFK Library & Museum & Hemingway Home & Museum]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Picnic on Box Hill

Refreshingly pretty images for a hot July Monday (although the idea of wearing the clothes in hot weather is another matter entirely). If you haven't seen the "new" Emma on PBS, you really should catch it (the links have re-run schedules). The two-part program was nominated for several Emmy Awards for good reason. The Emma site is great fun. Take the Bachelors of Highbury Quiz. We are not satisfied with our first run-through, so we'll try again; of course, we prefer Mr. Knightley--who else?

Jane Austen Today & AustenBlog are two favorite (of several) Jane Austen sites. In case you're thinking that they are prissy & pursed mouth affairs, you are quite mistaken. Good humor (& a good dose of cheekiness) is the hallmark of these informative, charming, & well-written blogs.

Also, have a look at Hats and Laces. It has wonderful images of all fashion periods, including Regency. It beats washing the kitchen floor, no? Especially since GG refuses to do any sort of housework. She was keen at first, but then became bored. Perhaps Emma has been an influence in this regard. Oh dear. Have a wonderful Monday.

ciao-meow/GG Central

[PBS Emma images via Jane Austen World]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GG Wants a French Braid - Week's End

For heaven's sake, Giulia has longish fur but it is nothing like her editor's. Still, she pines for a crown of braids. She might get crowned today, but it's a different kind. (We're teasing!)

Recently, several ladies stopped GG's editor & inquired: "How do you do that? Do you do that on your own?" GG's editor does so occasionally on her own, yes. But it requires much swearing & one shouldn't do that in front of others, including a devilish feline. When she was younger & more (delusionally) powerful, one of her interns adored playing "beauty parlor." Before working hours, braided masterpieces appeared on our head. How we miss Antoinette (not just for her braiding artistry).

Herewith, a little summer fun. A link for 15 Grown-up Ways to Wear Braids; a link for African-American hair & braiding; & the history of braids & other styles. (Much to Giulia's dismay, there is no--repeat--no history of cat fur braids.)

ciao-meow/GG's parrucchiere (stillista)

(Renoir image via artcyclopedia (dot) com; braid via A Cup of Jo; black & white photograph via LIFE archives)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day

...or le quatorze juillet as it is informally (& widely) known. It is also the natal day of one of GG's aunties & we have humorous memories of sparklers & French treats--so as to do justice to both hallowed occasions. We are not French but Giulia is half-French & responds to French much better than English or Italian (she is scolded in Italian & this no doubt explains her language preference). Her editor went to school in Strasbourg, France & a major GG Central feature is our friendship with a Franco-American famille.

Maison Française (part of the French Embassy) in Washington, DC probably has room for you if you'd like to attend the party tonight. They publish France Magazine (which we love); we remember the good old days when it was free. Oh well. It's still worth the money.

Please remember, you can always make a donation to UNICEF or to Darfur Peace & Development Organization instead of buying the most expensive champagne. There are several lovely French champagnes that do not cost a fortune. Yes, there are, so do not argue! Oops. Sorry, got carried away there.

We're off to plan all manner of delightful doings (well, for the weekend, truth to tell), so we'll be back on Saturday for week's end. Salut!

ciao-bonjour-meow/Centre d'Activités de Giulia Geranium

[Claude Monet, Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30, 1878.1878. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Go Green with Darfur Baskets

Replace plastic bins and containers with these vibrant, eco-friendly baskets made of all-natural materials. It’s a win/win/win for the weavers of Darfur, you, & the planet. You can read here about their construction (it's very interesting). The baskets are sold through retailers & you will find the growing list, here.

Many of our friends & readers have asked about Sudan (both Darfur & in the South). Things are not good, not good at all, friends. (There's lots of news, check with the BBC or any of the links in the right sidebar closer to the bottom of the page.)

But you know what? No matter how things are in Darfur, these women have mouths to feed like everyone else. It's just that simple.

We also wanted to say that these are very sturdy baskets. GG's editor has sat--accidentally--on some. This is not a recommendation to throw yourself on baskets. Just letting you know that if that didn't destroy them, we don't know what will!

ciao-salaam-meow/GG Central

[photographs by Susan Burgess-Lent/DPDO/all rights reserved]

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Morning is Full

The morning is full of storm
in the heart of summer.

The clouds travel like white handkerchiefs of
the wind, travelling, waving them in its hands.

Pablo Neruda
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair (translation by W.S. Merwin)

Happy birthday to Pablo Neruda from GG Central. Giulia seems to be feeling rather dramatic this morning. She's flung herself on the floor, sighing several times. We're pretty sure this has nothing to do with Pablo Neruda. Off to investigate.

ciao-sigh-meow/GG's editor

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Shopping - French Sailor Stripes

GG's editor had a bit of a fit last month & wrote about Sailor Stripe shopping. The gist is that we cannot stand seeing consumers taken advantage of, especially when in the throes of fetishizing French(style) material goods. It happens to the best of us; we're not judging.

Satisfy your stripe-y longing & read here (or click directly over to Usually, even with shipping, it's less expensive to buy these items directly from France. GG Central knows this from experience. People around the world do not want to wear stripes made by an exploited labor force. At the same time, stop spending at stores like J. Crew when they overcharge for items they stock (like the shirts above) from other sources. It's the same Saint James shirt. Yep.

ciao-meow/GG's personal shopper

[collage photographs via brittany-boutique (dot) com/Audrey T. from a cute site Pink Peony--to the author: props to you for discussing cruelty-free diamonds/Picasso by Doisneau from goodness knows where; tragic but lovely Jean Seberg via Elle (France)]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

World Cup 2010

Good luck to both teams tomorrow. We have to remain neutral at GG Central (it's better this way). If you're in the States & are concerned about the health of our children, check out Let's Move. If you're anywhere, check out Jamie Oliver's campaigns, here.

ciao-waka-waka-meow/GG Sports Central

Friday, July 9, 2010

Run for Congo Women - Week's End

Important - From Enough Project & Amnesty International:

When: July 12th, 6:30PM
Amnesty International, 5 Penn Plaza, New York City

Journalist and UN Goodwill Ambassador, Jimmie Briggs, and representatives from Run for Congo Women will give a presentation about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the July 12th meeting of Amnesty International NYC, Women’s Human Rights Group. The speakers will talk about the violence being inflicted against women and children in the DRC, as well as providing information on the New York Run for Congo Women walk/run event on September 25, 2010. The event begins at 6:30 pm and will be held at the Amnesty International office, located in Manhattan at 5 Penn Plaza on the corner of 8th Avenure and 34th Street.

Due to security at the building anyone who is interested in attending this event must RSVP prior to the event to Alyce at

[beautiful poppies by Olga]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

GG & Suzy & Limoncello

Voglio un limoncello, per favore.

A fan whirs, the shades are drawn. Giulia is passed out (in a good way) on the wooden floor. She's comfortable because her furry little red head is damp from multiple applications of a clean, cool, wet cloth. And also because she is a great big Fan Hog! (Sorry for the outburst. Om. Om. Om.)

What GG cannot do, though, is make & partake of limoncello. We love lemons, we have pounds & pounds of them (for some reason) in the house. Tomorrow we will buy the other fixin's & have at this recipe on Bleeding Espresso. It's a very nice post, too, written by guest blogger Susan Filson of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy. We're not allowed to eat (currently) the cool stuff Susan makes but there's no harm in looking.


[GG's grandmother's favorite model Suzy Parker by Allan Grant via Life Archives (more Suzy on myvintagevogue); limoncello via Gioia Luisa (USA), & Italy photochroms via Library of Congress]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This is for our friend Marguerite who is ill & in the hospital. Giulia & her editor send much love & healing thoughts all the way to Lyon, France. bisous, Maguy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Too Darn Hot

GG & her editor are hiding behind pulled blinds & in front of a fan. It's 108 degrees Fahrenheit. GG's editor's plans to look for a summer cardigan are on ice. Ahem. GG allowed a cool, wet cloth on her l'il red head. We'll bring you news of...stuff....soon. We have hot scrambled brains. [photograph, Ella Fitzgerald sings at Mr. Kelly's nightclub, Chicago, 1958, by Yale Joel/LIFE archives]