Thursday, December 11, 2008


There has been a flurry of blogchat recently about preparations for the festive season.
Since it's there, I read it:"For chef Michel Nischan, his wife Lori, and their five children, the holiday feast is an easygoing affair. Heirloom dishes and crystal come out of the cypboards, and everyone gets involved in the cooking, barely needing to refer anymore to keepsake cookbooks and handed down recipes. Fresh, seasonal and locally grown ingredients take only uncomplicated roasting,baking and pan frying. "This is our tradition," Michel says, "sustaining the family with good food and honoring the farmers who grow it."

Good for him. Be honest. This sounds much too good to be true.  When was Christmas ever easygoing? When did everyone get involved?Hah, I say to you, as per Stanley Kowlaski. Hah!
I spent yesterday trying to copy our friend Motisi's camels. Mine would have to go to a camel chiropractor or have camel acupuncture.

I have a book with images of winter. Isn't the skeletal tree bliss?

These girls were decorating the windows of the High School for Fashion Industries on 24th Street. They were doing an excellent job and having fun too.

This couple are ready for a winter ball. The suds are from the window washer.

Fortunately, they  kept the dangerous tree and the equally dangerous secretary firmly chained up.

PS. For stunning, not to be missed  photos of the window displays uptown go to Susanna's blog here.


  1. YEs. I went to a little party at the MFA in Houston here with a friend who was telling us about all the parties she had thrown so far and what else was on their calendar. It was packed and much of it was what mere mortals would consider an immune system killing amount of work --especially this month -- but she acted like it was nothing.

    Some people think I'm like that but I'm here to tell you, I make it a habit to try to say no and resist planning things from Halloween to New Years. I get all excited and want to do a million seasonal projects, parties, etc. but it wipes me out and I get overwhelmed (which can then lead to crankiness/whining if I'm not careful). It's my favorite time of year, DEcember especially, so each year I let go of something I used to do, to leave more time to clear the decks and just let the things to enjoy about the season have their room.

    I'm still working on this...

    Loved seeing pix of NYC every day. It's as if I am still walking the streets like I used to to go places and do things.

  2. Pleased that you like skeletal trees - I do too, particularly when they are in a hedge around a ploughed field with its deep, brown ridges. My son told me the other day that he had run (he is an ardent runner) past a skeletal tree in the dark and that he had seen Orion decorating it with stars for Christmas - I thought that was a lovely image.

  3. what a lovely post and fantastic images. Such a lovely rich blog. I wish i could write books. I've only ever had one love story published in a magazine and that was in 1989!

    Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my blog. So you met Stan Barstow eh? I would have gone weak at the knees i'm sure.
    I always imagine a hard-bitten Yorkshire man with a sharp tongue. But i bet he's not like that at all.

    I read some very recent work of his, he still has It but my true favourite really is A Kind of Loving. Love the film too tho' they never show it.

    New York eh? I saw it recently. I didn't actually go to there but there was a park where i could see the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan and that. Went to a wedding in Pensylvania and stayed one night in Newark. Will actually go there instead of looking at it one day. xxxx

  4. great post elizabeth, too funny really, i've always thought that people that proclaim these ever so perfect holidays are hiding something, HA, nobodies holiday is that perfect. lovely images, wish i had somewhere important to go to so i could where that elaborate gold dress.

  5. lol! - so funny - I'm trying to remember the last time everyone helped! - I, like Sydney, have eliminated much of the extra fuss and find it a much more enjoyable time of the year- your camels are fabulous!

  6. I'm with Sydney: Christmas, for me, is about being cozy at home. If I have to go out too much (especially at night), I get VERY cranky.

    Your comments about that "Better Homes" absolutely-nothing-to-it sustainable feast made me laugh. You are so right! Today we invited ONE old friend and her son over to make gingerbread cookies. But both of the kids felt sick (mine and hers) and they ending up lounging on the sofa watching TV. My friend and I made the cookies and had a good chat. You really can't get too wound-up and perfectionistic about Xmas.

  7. got a big laugh about the Homes Better than yours comments. So true. Have trouble getting excited about the holidays when there is so little snow here. Hoping for a big storm this weekend.

  8. I have a relaxed feel about Christmas this year because I am still weak and a bit tired. But you know, it's nice because I don't have to be a perfectionist and can just enjoy the fun moments of the season (no martha stewart activities for me). I was reading a christmas story to Lukas and he said, "but mommy, how do we get our Christmas presents to Grandma and Grandpa from here?" a sweet moment to realize he was thinking about someone else. always love your blogs and pictures! congrats on the book too. love, Kristen

  9. Well I have come to day hi because I keep on seeing you commenting on some of the blogs I read and from time to time find we are mistaken for each other. I suspect that my life in a sixteenth century farmhouse on a hillside in Wales may be rather different from yours!
    Absolutely with you on the unrealisty of the image of Christmas peddled by magazines. The extract you gave us leaves me raising my eyebrow sceptically: "five children", "heirloom crystal" and "easygoing" are not words to combine in any sensible sentence. They must think we are very, very dim.

  10. My I like the people reflection in the window.

    Don't think that generally children do all the nature things in school that we used to do although our school belonging to church does.

  11. I love the snarkiness! I have hardly decorated at all, and I have tried to make one project...ONE! and it's been like that movie, MOney Pit. You know that one? Where it starts out innocently and hopefully and turns out getting more and more mired in hopelessness? HA!

    Off to catch up further on your blog--I've been away MAKING A MESS!

  12. Heh, heh...right!! Easygoing for all who partake! I've never known everyone to get involved. But I have vowed to go on strike from the clean-up duty this year. I'll cook and everyone else is going to pitch in with KP. I've been trying to go the "less is more" route this year, but even that is a bit overwhelming.

  13. That description does sound too good to be true! When I pull out the crystal and heirloom dishes, I don't consider that an easygoing occasion, anyway.

    Personally, I like to just sit around with my family to watch a Christmas movie and drink egg nog (and it's likely going to be in a plastic cup and not crystal).

    What a funny post!

  14. I'm very slack. I put up my cards and I have a fairly humble table-centre. Then I take a fruit platter to my son's house. No-one can accuse me of going over the top!

  15. Ah yes christmas was always easy in NZ. Here it is BBQ and bring your own. It doesn't get easier.
    Love the camels. I've two sitting under my christmas tree for my brother from Holland who comes over
    He collects them
    Your book is beautiful with the winter pictures
    Also thanks for suggesting the books in your last post. Marjane's book intrigued me and and put it on my wishlist

  16. I dont do a lot of decorating for Christmas but only have to spend a lot unfortunately. Buying presents for the children and family members - the easy part, then comes the difficult part, buying for extended families..and I cant escape as there's tons of presents for my children when we go visiting, so cant go empty handed. Nice drawing :)

  17. I love your camels! (In my humble I do think you've added something extra special to Motisi's original train. 'Course I love colour, colour and more colour!) How about cutting them out and hanging them from a skeletal tree/branch/piece of diftwood with a silky thread and tassel?

    Your photographs are, as always, an absolute delight.

  18. I love the randomness of everything in this post...

  19. Dear High Desert:
    Yes, I'm afraid being random is what I'm good at. Very hard to get organized.
    Sydney: Yes, simplicity is the way to go if possible.....
    Weaver: Your son's comment is so lovely.
    Christine: So true that no one is perfect and if they pretend they are........
    Kristen: thinking of you and all our friends in Maroc
    All;; : So we are agreed to be imperfect and not do too much.........I do hope so!


I look forward to hearing from you!