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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

just majestic

It was the best day yet! There are no words to express the feeling I experienced when I rounded the corner of a huge stone mountain to behold the majestic figures of the Sun Temple of Ramesses II and later Nefertari's Temple of Hathor that face Lake Nassar (largest artificial lake in the world) at Abu Simbel...


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Sunday, September 26, 2010

looking down

I have never been so glad to step off a plane! After 10 hours with no sleep I can't believe I am wide awake...with wonder. My first glimpse of Egypt from the air surprised me, lots of greenery. And then suddenly it was sandy colored as far as I could see. Looking down, an ancient mosque separate yet part of the city regally occupied its territory, gold domes shining bright. Finally I feel elated. At long last, an adventure I've dreamed about for many years begins.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

night light

When the moon is full, I can close my eyes and be transported back to South Beach in Martha’s Vineyard many moons ago. The sand was cool, the sky pitch black which only served to make the huge cream moon surrounded by thousands and thousands of twinkling stars pop! Full moons have a way of altering my mood, mellowing my personality, reminding me of pleasant moments. Each time one appears in my line of sight, I take a few minutes to go through a very personal (and gleeful!) ritual to honor its presence.

I have created goddesses inspired by the fullest of moons, hum the tunes of countless melodies about it (Blue Moon, Moon River, Harvest Moon, Shine on Harvest Moon, Moondance, Fly Me to the Moon, Moonlight in Vermont and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the one that has the meaningful phrase, “I’ll be looking at the moon and I’ll be seeing you.”) I can’t think of any songs specifically about the moon being full however, it’s obvious that many a lyricist has been prompted to speak poetically about it, many with a slight melancholy in the words and music…I wonder if their hearts were sad. I know mine rarely is because when the moon is full, my memories surrounding its roundness make me smile.

There is something joyous about the light of night that rises into the nighttime sky. Perhaps it’s because anyone anywhere in the world can look up, share its glow and remember.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010


Several months ago, I finally bought a digital camera. My little Lumix was not purchased to take the place of my I Phone for capturing pictures to use on the blog. Rather, I got it because I knew I was traveling to Egypt this year and though getting good photos with the phone has become sort of a sport to me, there was no way I would go across the ocean without a bona fide camera in my possession. In a previous blog, I remember talking about a trip I took to Santa Fe when the battery in my camera died. Not once have I regretted not having any pictures as the trip was a spiritual transformation better shared with words and expression, both verbal and non. I truly expect to feel something in my soul when I set foot on the sands beneath the Pyramids, I definitely want a photograph to highlight the verbal and non each time I relive that moment.

While I have been encouraged to venture into the world of professional photography, I prefer to use my discerning eye, which I do have, to first frame and capture images then turn some into artistic expressions. Whether focused or unfocused, it’s all about size, angles and shapes or left, right or center justification of things when I peer into the lens. And then there are the images that I visualize with my eyes but can’t actually see. I hold the camera above my head, point and hope that when the button is pressed, I will be rewarded with a stellar shot. That said I’ve discovered that it’s best to wait until I download everything before getting too excited because the small screen on the back of the camera does not reveal minute details. I’ve had to painfully delete picturesque views taken from behind window panes due to the invisible smudges that are all too visible once the photo develops before my eyes. As I go through the shots, the ones that best lend themselves to transformation via manipulating color, contrast and other variables are immediately obvious to me. I love the subtle changes, the fact that a single picture can evoke a totally different vibe by just adjusting its tone.

So an amateur I will remain who right now is giddy thinking about being exposed to views that until I set foot on that land far beyond my backyard, I have only envisioned in my head. Perhaps some that I capture will be unfocused much like a mirage across the hot desert sands. But blurred or focused, this adventure will grant me the opportunity to transform some of them into creative works as the journey itself transforms me.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

design finds

In another life, interior design was or will be my primary profession. In this life, I am thankful for an innate talent that allows me to know how to accessorize a space with all the right stuff.  But the rooms I truly have a serious yen to be able to design from start to finish are the kitchen and bath. Sinks, tubs, appliances, lighting fixtures, counter tops, unusual thrones …oh give me a home! I can roam for hours through any store with these and more necessities/frivolities for either of the two essential spaces stroking porcelain, looking at my blurred misshapen reflection in stainless steel, pretending to create spectacular meals on six burners in two ovens…I could go on and do and often!

Recently, I couldn’t resist taking this pic of a corner in a powder room. I was so delighted at capturing that bounce of light with a hint of rainbow that I’ve become obsessive about snapping bath design finds for better or worse whenever and wherever I find them…I just have to wait until all vacate before I pull out the camera.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010


There is something about the aroma of something baking on a chilly dark rainy morning that is different than how it smells on a sunny afternoon. Perhaps it’s the damp air swirling into the warm scent of what’s in the oven that makes the smell more aromatic, rich, deep, penetrating until whatever ails the soul is hushed.

It hasn’t rained in weeks. Hearing the pitter patter of drops, drinking in the fragrance that is clean rain as I turned over to meet the darkness of 5:30AM was refreshing. The evening before had left me feeling angry, I woke feeling pensive. I listened and inhaled for an hour; I needed to bake. The art of baking requires focus, patience, time, rhythm, heart, soul is melodic, is soothing. As I rose, this thought passed through my head…if more people ran to a kitchen and baked at the moment of anger, perhaps they wouldn’t pick up a gun, feel the desire to do harm.

Baking releases hostility, breaking bread is a gesture of civility.

As I absorb the warmth of apples, molasses and cinnamon wafting through my space, the hush sounds of Anouar Brahem swirling into that mix with just a touch of cool and crisp moist rain, I whisper Amen.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Last Wednesday morning, I went out and aimlessly began to walk. Usually I take a very angular route around some section of The Mall which takes me past monuments, museums and gardens; I found myself treading over circular paths that only on occasion do I head for. I wondered if my soul and spirit had led me to the circles for contemplative purposes or to reflect back to me how I had been managing certain areas of my life.

I first began practicing meditation when I lived in Croton-on-Hudson, NY a five-square mile village situated at the crossing of the Croton and Hudson Rivers. A scenic 40 minute drive north from Manhattan, it was so easy for me to either chant my way to or lie practically motionless until I reached a tranquil state during the time I lived in this charming serene place. When I moved down to the Upper West Side the constant chatter of the City interrupted my meditative flow until finally there was no flow. This was very disconcerting for me as my practice kept me grounded and centered. Eventually I began to journal, took yoga and both helped, but I missed meditating.

Once I moved to DC, I thought I would regain my ability to sit in contemplation. After many frustrating attempts that ended with not a moment of serenity I came across an article on the art of walking meditation, located a center close by and attended a session. Hallelujah! Walking meditation was the perfect solution for a person like me who could no longer sit still for a long period. Not only did I receive mental and spiritual stimulation but my body also benefited from the physical movement. I learned the practice in a cozy room with several other devotees but later noticed myself in meditative state on occasion while walking outdoors (and it wasn’t deliberate!). Another way to walk and meditate is to visit a labyrinth which “combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path.” Much different from a maze, it “has only one path, the way in is the way out” and is a right brain activity a fact that appeals to the creative being in me.

Last Wednesday morning, there was no labyrinth, only circular 
sidewalks under the open sky and trees. Though my first steps were indeed quite aimless, by the time I looped the third circle I understood it was time for me to step off the merry-go-round that had been my life for almost nine months which in turn would release me from the situations and people I had allowed to operate the ride. Walking around and around not only showed me how I was living but brought much needed clarity. Stillness in motion, my feet guided me straight home.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

zip trip

I never board a plane or train on holiday peak travel days after being completely traumatized one Thanksgiving trying to catch the local commuter train from Manhattan to Jersey. It took me three tries to get my feet from the platform onto a train and the only reason I was finally able to board the third one is because a kind sole witnessed me sobbing, put his arm around my shoulders and swept me safely into and along with the surge of the crowd as the doors opened (when the previous two trains had arrived, I was spun around by the swarm of bodies as if I was passing through a revolving door). He squirreled me into a corner, instructed me to stay put and said I’d be okay right there. I remember calling out a heartfelt thanks to the back of the conductor as he disappeared into the mob that covered every inch of no standing room only.

I’ve got a history with hordes of people that dates back to when I was around four and got separated from my Mother in a department store during the Christmas rush. I had and still have a tendency to get so fixated on something that once I am no longer transfixed, the folks I’m with may no longer be by my side. That was not the case when my friends and I ventured out to Obama’s swearing in, an historic event that I had no intention of missing, mob scene in freezing weather or not; we locked arms never breaking the chain as we maneuvered through throngs of other excited attendees until we found our spot. But on this Labor Day weekend, I had to break my no travel rule and decided that the path of least resistance may be an early Amtrak in order to avoid the masses. Thankfully I managed to do so, tipped the Red Cap to take me down to the train before everyone else boarded and settled down in my favorite place.

The quiet car is where one can sit quietly and enjoy the peace of quietness. Conversations must be kept to a smidgen above a whisper, electronics censored. Quiet is Amtrak’s five letter way of politely reminding riders that they need to shut up and shut down already. But there is always someone who wants to ignore the rules. In a world of 24/7 access to people talking I think too many of us are just not comfortable with silence. TV stations used to sign off at 1:00am just after Johnny Carson said good night. Now on any given channel in the middle of the night you can find someone yapping their trap off on an infomercial if there is no regular programming. Unless of course you have a service that provides 200 plus channels…how many stations do you (because I only have a limited number) really need when in actuality many broadcast a lot of the same stuff? Our brains are gettin' mushy people including mine because I do indulge in a few guilty pleasures on the stations I do get, but I have digressed.

I love the stillness of quiet. I question those who come to rest in the quiet car then fidget in their seats as they make jokes about then try their best to skirt the rules of where they came to roost. Consider this a warning…don't mess around with the policies when I'm in transit or you will receive a visit from the conductor courtesy of moi on behalf of all of us who adhere to the restrictions which is why we sat ourselves down in here in the first place. Now that we understand one another…

My grandmother used to have us sit on the pinkish-beige divan for quiet hour; we thought it was a game. As an adult, I now appreciate her desire to have us be still. It was her polite way of telling us to zip it!

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

on the way

A year ago, The Eclectic Eye (TEE) was birthed. I remember being a proud new Mama gazing at her perfect infant as the design for the site took shape, experienced a little post partum stress wondering if I would be able to keep my posting twice a week promise to my baby. Well, it has been a year and I have yet to miss my Sunday and Wednesday play date even when I thought I had no toys to bring. Who knows how many people actually read my blog, but honestly I continue to post because the entire process of coordinating a complete outfit comprised of matching words and pictures has been quite nurturing -- feeds my soul and spirit, keeps my mind active and sharp, challenges my wit. TEE has counseled and consoled, educated and informed, laughed and cried, exposed and brought exposures in the form of so many photographs to light, a hobby that blossomed as a result of trying to figure out how to visually enhance what was written. It has been a satisfying 12 months and as I sit here in the early hours of this Wednesday morning, I bubble with excitement wondering what my child will reveal and where she will take me in the year ahead.

I recently read a passage that said in part joy is a precious elixir that we all possess. I raise a glass of it as I celebrate the fact that my little one is toddling and with sturdy legs under her, we are on our way. So Happy Anniversary, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday to TEE and as always…

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collage "on the way" by tina lassiter