Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'm usually a person who loves color, bright color, happy color, colors that draw the spirit to the light, joy, the effervescence of life. Having spent a lot of time in the presence of an approaching death, having nightmares now on a regular basis and questioning how to spend my leisure time,I have been living in a sort of twilight, more blacks and whites and sepias than color. Rather than dismissing them as cold colors, I have opted to accept them as part of my mood and have actually found some beautiful images around my mother's house that speak to me of a different radiance. So, this page today, is dedicated entirely to NOIR ET BLANC If only my netbook would let me.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Turning 54

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In the midst of it all another birthday. How ironic. And, in the spirit of Life, my mother, in spite of feeling so so ill, ordered flowers delivered to me and a raspberry pancake birthday cake, one of those that only Chilean bakers have mastered. I missed my friends, all on vacation as is the custom in January and February in Chile but received an overwhelmening amount of birthday good wishes on facebook, e-mails and phone calls. It's hard to believe so many years have gone by since the above pictures since when I look at them I remember myself as if it were yesterday. I too am getting older,

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Yesterday Mummy didn't feel so good. She slept
most of the day and had nausea, her hands and
legs were swollen and overall it was a bad day for
her recoverywise. However, today she awakes
feeling great, I gave her a shower, washed her hair
put cologne on her and she is ready to watch the

Australian Open finals. I guess illnesses have their
ups and downs. It's just that I so want her to get better. She has yet to wait for great grandchildren and take a few more trips to her favorite summer house in Isla Negra, eat oysterson the half shell and dictate all the anecdotes she has accumulated.
Mamita linda recuperate pronto para que podamos contarnos mas secretos entretenidos.
Besitos mil, tu hija que te adora.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Last Tuesday, I had to travel urgently back to Chile after hearing that my Mother was in critical condition. I dropped everything, got on the plane and arrived in Santiago at dawn speeding in a taxi to reach her as fast as possible. Those eleven hours+ were the slowest in a long time, (the slowest were when my five year old son Christopher disappeared with my father in law over Chilean skies in 1983 in a private airplane only to be found dead the following morning in a tragic accident.

So here I am thousands of miles away from home, bringing her back to life one day at a time, giving my every hour to her wellbeing. In the brief moments that I can, usually when she is napping and late at night when she and her husband have both fallen asleep, I search for ways to put together a tribute to the beauty of her life, full of adventure in spite of many ups and downs since she was a widow with one child and one on the way at the age of 22. Four more marriages followed, tough times, exciting times in England and Chile, heartache, survival and great successes such as after and in between her separations/divorces she opened up her own Salon de Te in Santiago called La Maison and then became personal Secretary to the Botin Family of Bank of Santander, New York.

Over the following weeks I will be posting snippets of her life as well as a selection of my favorite photographs of her.

Many years ago I submitted a piece about her to a local newspaper which I herewith transcribe:

"Mother, Mami, Mamita, Mamoushka-for I come from a multi-cultural background, is what you might call a "complete woman". She knows how to live. She is not a mother in the strictest sense, but more a person to observe, emulate and learn from since she is a lover of life. I interpret her influence on me to the fact that she does everything with LOVE which has rubbed off on me. Have fun in life, be daring, adhere to your uniqueness and treat yourself and others with respect seems to be her motto. I am certain she learned this from her own mother, who, living alone towards the end of her life, insisted on setting the table for herself just as if more people were expected.

By doing things with love, my mother does everything well, at least in my eyes, because it is all about the wonderful energy she puts into the processes. She dresses well (it's better to have three or four good outfits per season than a closet full of mismatches), accessorizing each outfit which she believes is the key to elegance, she cooks well (sticking to two excellent cookbooks she trusts unconditionally : The Larousse Gastronomique and La Buena Mesa), she decorates well, budgets well, knows how to add details to everyday living and knows how to select her friends and acquaintances well. She has also managed to travel the world without every having learned how to drive a car. She even did a cross country balloon ride on anthony smith's famous Jumbo.

Growing up I was surrounded by her nuances, it was never boring around her. She had this discipline about how to manage the hours in the day, and never slacked unless she was seriously ill, which was rare. Looking back, I remember so many things that have been an example to me over the years. One of the most endearing is that at the end of the day, after taking care of the home, she would look forward to my stepfather coming home and get pretty for him. Then they would sit and have their cocktails (when cocktails were fashionable) and talk about all the odds and ends of their days.

She cooked the most memorable three course meals I have ever sat down at a table for. My friends, who still call me to this day for one of her recipes can avow to that. Desserts were the jewels of meals always dripping with caramelized sugar, exotic fruits or pricked with slivvered almonds. I still recall the taste of my first Paula Cantaloupe & Prawn Salad, slightly spicey but absolute delish. Conversations followed over the last sips of wine or, in colder seasons, the demitasse of coffee, a custom still prevalent in Europe and South America.

Herdecorating too, with scarce means, was unique and unforgettable. Mummy would hunt for unusual antiques in Portobello Market in London, make her own Brass Rubbings and spruce up inherited pieces. Our house was always warm and cosy but with a flair.
And then there was her choice of friends and acquaintances, people like and unlike ourselves, from all walks of life, whom she knew we would learn from; a hairdresser, a maid, a gardener, the seamstress, the launderess we re all important to us. Through them she followed adventure. Like the time she accepted to fly across the English countryside in a balloon race with a downstairs neighbor or begging my father to take her with her when he was assigned to cover a story behind the Iron Curtain visiting Russia in sub-zero temperatures.

In Chile she rubbed elbows with all the greats; painters such as Mario Toral and Nemesio Antunez, poets like Pablo Neruda and Tiago De Mehlo, even President Allende and his wife Hortensia were frequent visitors to our beach house. In England I recall people such as Arnold Toynbee, Richard Gott, Hugh Thomas, Anthony Sampson. And one sudden day she was invited to tea WITH NONE ELSE THAN QUEEN ELIZABETH. That's my Mother for you.
Since I am now an adult, my mother has turned more into a friend, an unconditional friend and since she is always one step ahead, maybe even ten steps ahead of me on the road of experience, her words of advice and encouragement always seep deep into me. Evn if they don't make sense today, they will always do in the end.

Always be Cool, Calm and Collected.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Melody collaboration with Gypsy Froggie for {ECHO}

Team work, it begins with two people coming together with a similar goal. This is what resulted from week 5 of the {ECHO} challenge begun by Chrysti Hydeck and Susan Tuttle. My partner was Carmelita better known as Gypsy Froggie on Flickr. The left photo is a harp sculpture I discovered on a wall in Frutillar, Chile and the photo on the right is a photo of Carmelita taken at Knotts Berry Farm in 1966.

I love the themes {ECHO} picks and the inspiration its coordinators give us with their originals, pushing us to explore and to push our limits.

Thank you Carmelita for being my partner in this challenge. We done good I think.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fortune favors the Daring

sad rushes
a glimpse
a second glimpse
an up close
sudden impotence
instincts merging

Saturday, January 2, 2010


and it shall have planted flowers on the windowsills, and wildflowers growing scattered along the garden path, and old wooden doors that creak when someone is entering, and a room of many colors. And a cat and a dog and friends always welcome.

in the distance the sounds of a pickin banjo or a tune on a guitar while the blue moon hovers brightly reminding us of that once upon a time.

an old kettle will always be a brewin' apple pie a ready to be Made, and rainy days will find us making love beneath the hearth, crackling dreams of a togertheness years of wilderness forsook

no hindrance will befall us, no unwantoness defy us

our once in a blue moon has found us

gazing into each other's eyes

to be continued

Lately I've been thinking. Thinking and thinking and thinking. About maybe crossing a river, skipping over rocks, falling in, swimming upstream, finding an abandoned house in the woods, pretending it's mine, making it mine and starting a fairy tale.

to be continued....