One Thing in a Neesh Day

Arlaine's Cabled Sweaters

Arlaine and Pat

Arlaine (left) and my Mom, Pat

Hello again my Neeshies…I hope you are still there! I know that I am a little slow to post new blogs, but I want you to know that I love sharing my Neesh world with you. I guess I just need a bit of reflective time to “hit” on the next bit I want to share with you each time!

So, I have allowed myself the luxury of visualizing all the things that I love and that comfort me in my life.  It is such a short journey really…shouldn’t we allow ourselves the time to reflect, remember and feel?

Not sure if you know this, but Neesh by D.A.R. was once D.A.R. sweaters.  I am a knitter from way back.  It has always been my first love and I still marvel at the miracle of making something from “string and sticks”.  Really! And D.A.R. sweaters were beautiful hand crafted sweaters made in my own artisan studio and hand finished with beautiful vintage buttons from the Paris flea market. And of course the hand embroidered labels – each and every one of which was made by my Mom.

When I was a little girl growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, my parents had a small group of friends who regularly socialized together.  Because they were “teetotalers”, their favorite social outings were dinner and bridge at a designated host’s home.  I fondly remember falling asleep upstairs with the comforting sound of their voices bidding and giggling, a sound that lulled me to sleep like a lullaby.  I loved knowing the house was filled with people.

My mother’s best friend in the group was named Arlaine.  I loved Arlaine.  She had a hearty laugh, Boston Terriers named Terri 1 and Terri 2 (really!),

 Terris

a beautiful “moderne” home of the 60’s,

Moderne

and two sons, who were my personal nemeses. The elder was a sort of “beatnik”, and wouldn’t allow anyone in his room, which he enforced with a hand-written sign taped to his closed door, “my pad, keep out”.

Pad

But I digress…this is about Arlaine and her knitting!

You never know what will influence a young one. Funny how now, at my wise old age, I am still discovering and making connections to the world of my childhood and the sights, smells and sounds of that world and how they influenced who I am today.

Arlaine loved to knit.  I cannot remember a time that I saw her without her knitting.

Knitting

Always on the floor next to her feet was that beautiful “Florida” bag.  And out of the bag a continuous piece of yarn, spiraling up to her hands.  I’ll bet some of you remember these bags?

Florida Bag

I would watch her hands move pushing and manipulating the stitches and hear the needles clicking.  And the result was a miraculous piece of warm and cozy cable fabric sitting on her lap.  How could that be?  To me it was as if someone was performing magic!

Old Ad

She would knit sweaters for everyone!  Lushly textured cable knits, in colors that ranged from soft pastels to vibrant jewel tones, tweeds, bouclés, oiled wools and occasionally the requisite acrylics for the doggie sweaters!

Doggy

I watched her for years and years, wondering if my turn would ever come and if one of those beautiful cabled sweaters would be made for me?

Orange and Yellow

And then it happened!  I was entering high school, my brother was a junior and Arlaine knit us our sweaters.  We were given the choice of color and either a turtleneck or a crewneck cabled sweater.  Mine was to be a pale yellow turtleneck and David’s a cream-colored crew neck.

We loved those sweaters and wore them throughout most of high school and college.  To me they were works of love and beauty and represented a much bigger idea; “making something from nothing”.

Creating something useful and beautiful through an idea or vision, dexterity or ability, and some basic math skills…I didn’t know it at the time, but this foundation or simple observation influenced my life forever.

And how I wish I had some remembrance of those sweaters—a picture, a piece of them, the pattern, Arlaine’s needles…alas, I do not. But what I do have is the love and ability to knit! A love I hope to share with all, as long as my fingers are able.

And so, my homage to Arlaines cable knit sweater…in the works.

Denise Sweater

 

Merci Paris!

Eiffel

Hello my Neeshies…

Sorry again for the long delay in writing to you.  The Holidays have passed. The New Year has begun.  The days will now become longer.  I’m beginning to get that feeling of hibernation that comes with the post holiday excitement.  So what better time than to share with you my gratitude for the past year and hope for the New Year!

And that includes hope for my adopted City...Paris!  May it continue to offer all the splendor and beauty that exists.  May they continue to preserve a culture that embraces all that is joy; art, music, food, technology, literature, café culture, openness to new thought and diversity, even in uncertain times! 

Through the years I have had the desire and good fortune to spend quite a bit of time in Paris and would love to share with you everything that continues to inspire and astonish me about the city.

I have walked every street in every neighborhood and pretty much know every pastry shop which I happily sample at any given chance. 

Pastries

No more maps needed, no more dinner reservations made in advance, now I can find my place in any neighborhood and am happy with a crepe, salade et un petit pitchet du vin rouges! I can find the best salted caramel, lemon tart, the crispiest crust baguette (bien cuit, as I like it). 

I am a well known “butter smuggler”. I have never known the taste of butter like the bordier butter in France so I have taken to bringing the big freezer bag and stuffing many packets of it in my suitcase hoping the adorable beagle brigade will not sniff me out when going through customs. 

Beagle

 Butter

I only delight in sharing all that I know and love about Paris, so please feel free at any time to ask me anything!  J’adore Pareeee!

I like to stay in the 6th arrondissement, on a quiet little street directly behind the Eglise Saint-Sulpice. I have been staying here for years and now am known by all the staff who are lovely and helpful, and keep an eye out for me when I travel alone.  I look forward to seeing them two to three times a year when I am there!

My room on the courtyard…always a bottle of wine and pastry bag on the table.

Hotel

The hotel is very near the Luxembourg Gardens where I often take a morning jog, or find a table for a glass of wine as the evening begins to settle in.  And the people watching is amazing. Where children are dressed as little dolls!

Little Girl

Not to mention the Dads, who are equally as beautiful!

And the sights!  Everywhere I walk I am filled with a visual feast that creates a memory that nearly takes my breath away!

Breath Away

This is a place where respecting the old is as important as embracing the new.  And then lighting it like a candle on a cake!

All Lit Up

This is a place where a lit street will illuminate a historical masterpiece…and make even a non believer want to enter and light a candle for all.

Street Shot

This is a place where a department store can offer a brilliant idea to turn your books into an occasional transportable table top.  Yes, the French have been way ahead of all in preserving and honoring our environment, and what a way to recycle!

Books

This is a place where a simple crepe becomes a masterpiece—made with bordier butter and delicately sprinkled with cheese, thin slices of chorizo and perfectly cooked fried egg to break the yolk and combine the perfect blend of tastes!

Crepe

This is a place where a building in the middle of a sprawling city can look like a ship that has dry-docked in the middle of a forest!

(New Louis Vuitton foundation in the Bois de Boulogne)

Louis

This is a place where a wall of graffiti inspires and informs one of color, placement, proportion and excitement!

Graffiti

And this is a place where a gentleman can wear a hat and stroll the avenue with confidence and grace.

Gentleman

Another year has come and gone and I would like to offer all of you Neeshies my Sincerest Merci!!!!!  And to share with you my gratitude for your support, and my favorite place in the world, Paris! 

Jamie Got Married!!!

Good Day my Neeshies!

(Our Younger Days)

How did this happen?  It’s November!?  Just when I thought summer was beginning…the days are shorter, the nip is in the air and leaves are tumbling in a tapestry of color!
Oh my!

So, I wanted to share with you a very special and personal story and hope you will relate as I share some real feelings with you.

Jamie got married!  One of the happiest days of my life!

It is hard for me to put into words all the various emotions that I experienced watching my first born get married. 

No, she is not my biological daughter, and no her mom Fran is not my biological sister, but...Jamie is my daughter, and Fran is my sister.  You know what I mean? 

I think you do!

  

 She was the first born of all the young women in my life….and she was a pistol!  From the start, she was “the boss”. She had many “good ideas”, all of which I was invited to participate in.  When she made me watch Babar, and the mother died, I had to hide in the bathroom crying.  We made concoctions in the bathroom, we played “Ninja” and “Tophat Genie”. I saw her graduate from preschool, high school and college.  I saw her plays, her soccer games, her first prom! Even though she lives in New York and I live in Chicago, we spent a lot of time together.

 

And then something happened….she fell in love!  She went off to college and before I knew it, there he was!  She was not happy when he was not around.  Her dreams included him.  Her life included him.  Her future included him.

I wasn’t so sure how I felt about this “intruder” entering our lives and affecting her mood, her happiness, her very being!  How was I going to accept this?  Was my heart big enough to share her with someone else?   Would she forget all about us and spend time only with her new family?  I hope that some of you relate to all these rather selfish and fearful feelings.  But feelings are feelings…and there you have it, those were my feelings.

 

And then I met Zach.

His kind and gentle nature, his warmth, intellect, interests, and the way he looked at Jamie…Well, it did not take more than a minute for me to realize that I would love him too! My dreams and life and future were to include him too.  

And now they are married!  As she walked down the aisle with her parents, I felt that I might just bust out of my skin with thousands of feelings and memories that passed through me in a flash.

 

It was August in NYC, the venue was intimate and filled with excitement and surrounded by love, we celebrated with abandon! And danced till we dropped!

  

And so my Jamie, my first born, has found her soul mate, her partner in life....a joyous addition to the family!  A day I will never forget, a feeling I will hold on to the rest of my life.  What a happy memory, what a wonderful day, what a wonderful life.

And now, may I present to you………Jamie and Zach!