Friday, February 29, 2008

Phlegmie Friday!

"The Reluctant Bride," by Toulmouche

Blast! I caught a cold. My sinuses are so compacted with unmentionable nastiness that I'm walking around slack-jawed, breathing through my mouth. What's worse is that "mouth-breather*" is one of my favorite insults and now I am one! I selected this painting by Toulmouche not because I'm a reluctant bride (certainly not after 10 years of marriage!) but because the expression on the subjects face captures how I feel, afflicted as I am. If only there were kind nurses to soothe my brow and pet my hand. Gerrard has quite accommodatingly been sleeping on my feet to keep them warm, and Wasabi eyes me with concern each time I sneeze, but it isn't really the same. Sigh. I had so many plans for this weekend.

BTW - Happy Leap Year! Do something unusual!

*Mouth-breather: any Neanderthal-like creature who behaves in or expresses brutish manners or thoughts. An uncouth and uncivilized ruffian. - As defined by Mrs. Fox

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Jane In All of Us.

I just finished watching Becoming Jane and I am honestly touched. Luckily, I was warned that it was very sad so it didn't catch my unaware. I think for any woman who puts pen to paper and tries to capture some sliver of how she sees the world it is a lonely and frustrating task. I know I'm not alone in admiring Ms. Austen's work. Her books speak to so many of us about hopes, and dreams, and love. I chose a Mr. Knightley despite spending most of my teenage years swooning for Mr. Darcy. We all, I fear, know Mr. Wickhams and Mr. Willoughbys. Beyond the romances, we saw ourselves in the Misses Dashwood and Bennet, and consequently the lady writer herself. One can't help but wish that Jane had been able to keep her love, but would the stories she wrote for us have been half as good? Sue Grafton said in an interview once, "No one with a happy childhood amounts to anything in this world . . . That's the drive, the angst, the passion to accomplish." I think this is as true of Jane Austen as it is of any great writer. Bless you, Jane, wherever you are.

Mama's Little Bolsheviks Are On The Web!

My little sis has her own blog! The world may never be the same. She sews, she works with glass, and she's way cooler than her nerdy older sister.

Mama's Little Bolsheviks

Repression, Regression, Governmental dis-compassion,
Idealists, Liberate the masses, Equality among the classes
We’re Mama’s little Bolsheviks!

Suspicion, Derision, Inherent evil in the system.
Activists, Socially conscious, Occasionally obnoxious,
We’re Mama’s little Bolsheviks!

Inheritance, Our independence, Fierce maternal diligence
Sisters, Thinkers, Revolution makers.
We’re Mama’s little Bolsheviks!

Mrs. Fox


Jackie over at Mother's Pride was awfully sweet and gave me this award.

There are so many great ladies out there, and most have probably already received this, but I'll make my list anyway.

For starters, I've got to boomerang it back to Mother's Pride because any woman raising 5 girls deserves all the awards and acclaim she can get. Then there's:

Falling Down the Rabbit-Hole
Everything in It's Place
Mabel's House
Mother of Shrek
Tales from Pixie Wood

All of them amazing in their own right.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A friend of mine sent out an e-mail today about her twin girls turning 20 months. She mentioned that they each had their own special "lovie." I had never heard that term before used for a favorite toy, but I really like it. My sister had her "binkie," a big orange rabbit. My niece and nephews have their favorite "cuddles." I had an old fashioned teddy bear. His name was K. C. after Kansas City where my parents bought him. K. C. was my loyal companion for more years than I care to admit, and it wasn't really until I left for college that he was tucked away in my hope chest. Those little paws have dried tears, shared cups of tea and swashbuckling adventures. He's a brave little bear, my K. C.
I'm lucky to also have my dad's bear, Teddy Richard. Poor Teddy Richard has had a rough life and it shows. I've started several times to replace his lost button eye, but somehow it doesn't seem right. Don't you know he has some stories to tell!
I can remember how comforting it was to clutch my little bear when I was scared, how I never felt alone if he was there to play make-believe with me. Strange, isn't it? How a bit of fabric and stuffing can come to life in a child's mind. Stories like The Velveteen Rabbit, Winnie The Pooh, and Paddington Bear certainly capture that. Do you still have your childhood "lovie"?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dancing Shoes

This was my first mini-project with the new sewing machine (which sews like a dream). I made little pillows to transform an old pair of dancing shoes into cute door stops. Yes, in the days before sciatica I actually wore these to the clubs. My feet curse me every day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Evil is as evil does.

I've been searching for post inspiration, but to be honest, I'm in a bit of a foul mood (an alter ego, the hubby refers to as The Evil Queen). There are minor mundane reasons, nothing serious. Things that,"Off with their heads!" would fix right quick.

On the topic of "evil" women:
I was never drawn to the heroines in Disney movies when I was little. The role of a princess waiting in hygienic, vacuum-sealed slumber for some wealthy dude on a horse to kiss her and give her life meaning didn’t appeal to the little warrior in me. The villains, though! Powerful, independent, intelligent women with cunning plans and clever retorts - now, there were women you could look up to! Sadly, they always died in the end, but that was only because those wide-eyed debutantes muddled the plan. No, I’ve always been a fan of the wicked witches, evil queens - those Amazonian figures who defied gender roles but still managed to do so with a certain amount of panache. Their intelligence gave them an appeal that defied age and an allure that was more than surface deep. Why is it, do you think, that we don't get very many powerful, ambitious women as heroines? Better yet, what are we gonna do about it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gluttony Part II

In addition to keeping the streets of our fair city free of crime, my husband is an amazing cook. His specialty is Italian cuisine, so when he asked me what I wanted him to make for my birthday I answered, "Chicken Marsala" without a moment's hesitation. (The careful observer will note that he's armed even while cooking. One never knows when rogue bandidos will attack our kitchen.)

The meal started with a vegetable barley soup. Absolutely divine!

Look! Rogue bandidos attacking our kitchen! They were appeased with slices of ham.

Then we had Italian Chickpea Salad with Red Wine Vinagerette! Mmm, capers and olives!

Mmmmm! Chickeny goodness!

One of the bandidos gave up and decided to go watch TV. This brave soul lingered on.

The cake Big B ordered was supposed to say "Happy Queen's Day," but they forgot the apostrophe. Evidently, they thought we were celebrating the New York borough. Never fear, with pastry sprinkles and a kabob skewer your favorite grammarian saved the day (By the way, please ignore my peasant garb. It was my birthday after all, and if a girl wants to wear her PJs all day she ought to be able to.)

Ta da!

That corner with all the flowers was a 1:1 ratio of cake to icing. I talked a good game when I cut the slice, but ended up scraping it off. No one should eat that much icing.
It was a wonderful meal and my refrigerator is chock full of left overs so I shouldn't have to cook for myself all week. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

Monday, February 18, 2008


It is with distinct delight that Mrs. Fox celebrates her 33rd year on this strange and enchanting planet and looks forward to new adventures and discoveries in the year to come. She is immensely grateful for her many charming, eccentric friends as well as her beloved, eccentric family.

She offers a few of her favorite things in hopes that you might find some enjoyment in them too: Imperial purple, sunny mornings, moonlight, thunderstorms, wild things, pale pink camellias, white roses, & black tulips; ribbons & rhinestones; lavender & vanilla; poetry & mystery novels; tamago sushi, smelt roe, gyoza, panang curry, palak paneer, chicken pot pie, creme brulee, blueberry pancakes, chocolate truffles, & cookies; pretty shoes, hats, gloves & scarves; the Brandenburg Concertos, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Latin music, and Bizet's Carmen; The Beautiful Game & The Sport of Kings; laughter, honesty, wit, & compassion.

"Each day, and everything in it, is a gift without price."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Brush Up Your Shakespeare!

I love this . . . Prithee!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine

the lion’s bride

caramel & hot sun life,
sticky happiness
that seeps into
every cabinet, every hamper
such a messy joy.
far cry
from the self-imposed,
sterilized moon-pleasures
of my past.

bulls playing in china cabinets,
bears raiding the larder,
dolphins brewing darjeeling
and sneaking nips of amoretto,
and in the midst of
the cannons and cotton candy
a lion running rampant through
my darkened rooms,
making mock of
embroidered hand towels
and lace doilies.

the unwitting ring leader
to the gypsy circus
in my kitchen.
the frenetic pleasures
that have become my own.
and it all began
with the lion in my life,
who looked so harmless
when I first found
him sleeping in
the garden.

june 7, 2002
mrs. fox

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Artistic endeavours

This past Saturday I had some time to work on my painting. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the light was wonderful. In my usual Bohemian way, I just plopped down in the floor and started painting. Easel? Who needs an easel?

Of course, I had lots of help from the doggies.

Wasabi, being of Japanese descent, had lots of opinions on how things were progressing. She likes to try to stick her nose in the paint. Wouldn't a big splotch of bright red look great on that face?
Gerrard, who is very sweet but not very cultured, just wanted to have his powder-puff toy thrown.

Despite all the distractions, I managed to get a lot done. There's quite a bit of detail work still to go, but the foundation is there.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On Best Society

"Thus Best Society is not a fellowship of the wealthy, nor does it seek to exclude those who are not of exalted birth; but it is an association of gentle-folk, of which good form in speech, charm of manner, knowledge of the social amenities, and instinctive consideration for the feelings of others, are the credentials by which society the world over recognizes its chosen members." -
Emily Post (1873–1960). Etiquette. 1922.

Photo by Rodney Smith

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Clever North Wind

Chocolat is one of those movies that I forget how much I enjoy. When it crosses my path, and I sit still long enough to pay attention, it never fails to leave me smiling.

There are so many elements that make it wonderful. To begin with, the cast is marvelous. Juliette Binoche is incandescent, Johnny Depp is at his charming rag-a-muffin best (perhaps the only movie I like him better in is Finding Neverland), and let us not forget the divine Leslie Caron as Madame Audel. She barely has a line, but she eats chocolate so impishly.

The costumes are lovely. Does any one look bad in a cardigan and those flared 50's skirts? And the music! To think how pale life would be, if I had not been introduced to Django Reinhardt and the intoxicating rhythm of Gypsy Jazz. I dare you not to dance.

Chocolat also reminds me why I love to cook. I'm afraid I subscribe to the Mary Poppins School of Crisis Management, which is probably why my waist band keeps expanding and all my pets are overweight. No, food can be miraculous. A dish made with loving sincerity may not fix the world's woes, but it can give a troubled soul the few moments of calm it needs to find a solution. Why I have known a homemade oatmeal cookie to calm the most stressed of law enforcement officers! Never underestimate the power of a homemade cookie.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A little something to spice up your Friday.

Juan Luis Guerra's "La Llave De Mi Corazon" (The Key To My Heart)
Featuring Zoe Saldana (Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean).

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Why do I torture myself by looking at Anthropologie?

I love this quilt!! It would look fabulous in my bedroom. It would not look fabulous on my bank balance.

By the way, their Spring clothes are out too. Go. Look, if you must.

Jill Sprat and Her Hubby

"Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean

And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

Only in my house it's the wife who can't eat fat. This morning, I discovered that the chicken that I had roasted in the Romertopf had been divvied up into two containers by my husband. One was labeled, "White Meat" and the other, "B's Dark Meat, Fat, Skin, & Connective Tissue." As much as I love him, I almost gagged.

Granted it could be a trick. There could be German chocolate truffles in that box and no power on Earth would persuade me to open it marked as it is.

How about you? What puts you off your feed?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Update (8:00 AM Wed.): Liz's family is fine. The town did get hit by a tornado though. Still not getting a lot of information on the news about it.

It's been a hard night in our corner of the world. A series of storms passed over the state this evening. For those of you who read Liz's blog at Mabel's House I ask you to keep her family in your prayers. There is reason to believe her hometown was hit by a tornado. Unfortunately, the phones are down and there is very little information coming out of the area so it is hard to know the extent of the damage. As soon as I know more, I will update.

The news is consumed with Super Tuesday, and right now I couldn't care less about politics.

Of gluttony and painting.

I was thinking about the poem I posted yesterday and hoped that no one took me too seriously. While it is true that there is no "all-you-can-eat" in Europe, I don't know that it is such a good thing that we have it here. There has been many an evening when I wobbled away in gluttonous shame from the buffet at the Chinese restaurant near my home. I've got a weakness for fried drumplings that borders on vice.

My latest artistic endeavor is taking shape. The bad weather last week had prevented me from buying the canvas I needed, but last Friday the heavens relented and I was able to get started. I ended up downsizing from my original plan, partly because the canvas would have been too expensive and partly because I was intimidated. 30" X 40" is still a respectable size.

It's been ages since I last painted. Rediscovering the feel of the paint brush, remembering how to layer color, and the calm of being focused on a single task has been a joy. I've got a long way to go, but I feel like I've made a sold start.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Travel warnings for the picky.

traveling abroad

there is no "all-you-can-eat"
in europe
my sources have confirmed

such a shock to hear
to imagine
the lonely buffet
shabby in its offerings

nothing like the cornucopia
of gaudy delights
the choices
the temptations
enjoyed and consumed
by insatiable palates

there is no "all-you-can-eat" in europe
so you better eat all you can here

september 19, 2000
mrs. fox

Stupid Groundhog (grumble, grumble)

So, Phil saw his shadow. 6 more weeks of winter. I think there's a conspiracy - darn rodents just want to hibernate longer.

If you're interested in new food combinations this Food Pairing guide should be hours of fun. I'm not suggesting you start your day with a grapefruit and licorice breakfast beverage but it does certainly open your eyes to new possibilities. Salmon baked with a grapefruit, mustard glaze sounds pretty tasty to me.

Almost forgot, I started a painting for that big blank wall . I treated myself to new brushes and beautiful tubes of paint this weekend. I'm a bit rusty but the fingers are starting to remember how to paint.

photo from

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fabulous Friday!

The dashing gentleman to your left is Thomas Lister, 4th Baron Ribblesdale. In this portrait by John Singer Sargent Lord Ribblesdale is shown elegantly dressed for the hunt. The warm tones are inviting and yet the spartan background and the subjects demeanor definitely give an austere sense of removal from the viewer.

Thomas Lister was the last of the Barons Ribblesdale. Both his sons died in service to the Crown, the eldest in the Somaliland Campaign and the youngest during WWI.

Lord Ribblesdale had three daughters, two of whom have living descendants. His fourth child, Laura, married Simon Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat and the 23rd Chief of the Clan Fraser. His youngest daughter, Diana, married the 14th Earl of Westmorland.

Wishing you a cheerful weekend!

P. S. Keep your fingers crossed on Groundhog Day!!