Friday, December 26, 2008

Color Inspiration

Santa surprised me with two color-inspiration books this year. Anna Starmer's Color Scheme Bible provides color combination options and House Beautiful's Colors for Your Home gives readers actual paint names, numbers, and designer commentary. Together, they make a great resource.

I really like the pink and gold bedroom featured in the "Bible" but wonder how that will work with the orange armoire and purple wisteria in my living room. Decisions, I must make them, but today I will rest, make red bean soup, and postpone doing anything important.

Click on the links to find out more about these books.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

July 29, 1930

Dearest Katherine,

Three cheers for the long letter, wish you’d gotten to write while in the mood. I’d have been a lucky person with such a long letter.

Dorothy Dix now speaks (even if she knows not of what she writes) – I see no terrible harm in it all. But I think I’d be extra-careful and think what he’d think of it – even if it does require a lot of extra mental effort. I’d surely not get him jealous – jealous people aren’t my idea of safe playtoys. I’ve often wondered what you thought of me. Another case where you can be frank. I know there’s room for improvement and like constructive criticism. Is the advice sufficient. It’s all the good I can do ‘cause I’ve not had the experience you have and don’t know J.B. anywhere as well.

Don’t remember what I said to tell Chris about Ben. He’s one of those people that fascinate you when you’re with them. No wonder you don’t think I’m serious, you’ve heard me rave about so many people. I meant it, at the time. But I get interested in something else – it’s a case of rapid transfer of interest.

And Hatcher. I’m overcome with shock, surprise and joy. See if you approve my plan of attack on him. I’m going to wear my fluffliest, ruffled dress, of course, white shoes, and play at being a dignified, very feminine, young woman. With never a mention of anything more strenuous than dancing. Or possibly swimming – he likes that. Katherine Howard is his c.g. and being as I don’t know her I can’t imitate her. Anyway, be yourself. (Ain’t I getting dumb in my old age?) Can’t imagine what came over him to want a date with me. Hope he doesn’t change his mind in the meantime.

Unless I have to go on a pledge party, prepare for the worst, Aug. 10 – have to serve punch at Vespers Aug. 3. Imagine me presiding over a punch bowl! But it’s got to be done.

Also have more work to be done than I can say grace over. And the sad part is that it’s got to be done.

Have just come back from a field trip on which I rode in the rumble of a Cadillac coupe. Some class and great fun. Also have prevailed on Frances to let me copy a paper that’s worrying me – so I’m some better off. Even if I am meeting and running down in my shoes.

Guess you all know that Daddy is going to Augusta the first and guess the family will be up here sometimes the following week – Thursday is August 1 – guess they’ll be packed & ready to travel Mon. or Tuesday – certainly ought to cause four days is long enough for any one to take up packing.

Where did young Hogan coach last year – C.H.S or C.M.A. I have a class with him and can’t remember who it was that told me he was their coach. Poor memory, not convenient.

Went to Franklin Friday and got stormed on, but started Saturday to Lenten then didn’t like the looks of the place and came all the way back to Nashville and then to Franklin. Rode somewhere near 60 miles for our swim. We’re supposed to go to Franklin again Wed. Hope so, it will be good for the suntan.

Tell J.B. he can almost make up his mind to come to Nashville Aug. 10 cause if it’s possible I’m coming.

Did Earle ever make any explanation?

Lots of love,

This long enough? Any way it’s all I know. Ans. soon cause I know I enjoy letters more than anyone else ever could.

Katherine's Note: J's home was near Franklin and he was living (during the week) and teaching in Ashland City. Sometimes he'd pick up 'Cile as he came through Nashville and take her back to school on Sunday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

June 19, 1930

Dear Katherine:

Don’t know whether I’ll get there with anything to wear or not – Nell’s got all my clothes – I’m going to town today to try to buy something. I usually have the devil of a time trying to find something.

Saw Ned the other night and talked to him. More thrills than I’ve ever had in a short time before. Ain’t I silly?

4 hrs later
Just purchased me a dress. White shantung and a quilted hat – tried to buy some shoes but couldn’t get any that I wanted to fit me.

Don’t be silly about bringing me home. Nolan isn’t coming back for 2 weeks – and besides I’ve lost all interest in him. I’m so fickle.

I ain’t guilty of coming without any head covering. Did come without a hat but had a beret.

Don’t care what I do Fri. night. You know I don’t – but I’m a rotten bridge player. about the world’s worst. I prefer to date Hatcher or Tom – (leave Nolan to the tender mercies of Mary.) if I’m going to date. It doesn’t make any difference whether I date or not.

Oh yea, will you let me wear blond shoes with a white shantung dress and a white hat? If not I can’t come cause I can’t find any white shoes I like.

Well good bye.

Love, ‘Cile

I blistered and am peeling. I look like the very devil.

Air France

After a few more days of fun, I was on my way home. Air France has a fantastic ad campaign created by Camilla Akrans. Somehow, though, the experience didn’t live up to the promise. The seats were crowded, an amazing complaint for a small girl like myself; the TV screens were hard to see and the attendants not so pleasant. Next time, I’ll go British Air even if the airport wait is in-terminal-able. At least Heathrow has a Starbucks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Ben Ezra Synagogue

The Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo stands near the site where the pharoah’s daughter is said to have found Moses. We took this photo on our way in and then spoke to one of the men pictured on our way out and back to the metro station. He told us there were initially thousands of Jews in Egypt and now only approximately 150 are left.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Greek Orthodox Cemetery

Egyptian Christians are known as Copts, a term originating from the Arabic “qibt” derived from the Greek “aegyptios.” Many of the graves in Coptic Cairo are of recent years, some marked in the 21st century even. The area was quiet and tranquil, unusual in a vibrant city of 17 million.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mar Girgis

My next great adventure was to ride Egypt's metro system to Mar Girgis to see the Coptic section of Old Cairo. Mar Girgis translated = St. George. This relief is from a church dedicated to the soldier who was executed AD 303 for resisting Diocletian's decree that outlawed the practice of Christianity. The metro station is also called Mar Girgis. It looks like there's the St George myth and the St George martyr, combining here the symbolism of the story with the actions of the man.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Starbucks in Alexandria (Egypt)

My sis and I headed next to the San Stefano mall where we shopped at the Spanish-owned MANGO and then after a quick latte, everyone rushed off to the train station for the three-hour trip back to Cairo. When I told the barista "shukran" (thank you), he replied with "you're welcome" (aafwaan). It's a cosmopolitan world in Alex.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

After a lovely night at the elegant Le Metropole, a hotel with impossibly tall doors and ceilings, we took a walk along the corniche and then stopped at the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This ambitious library and modern conference center has been built close to the original site where Alexander the Great’s famous library once stood. The statue posted is one representing knowledge. The link here will take you to a small selection of Shadi Abdel Salam’s costume design currently on display.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mediterranean Fishermen

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eid al-Adha (Tuesday)

We spent the second night of Eid in Alexandria. Thousands of people were out on the street walking, socializing, and riding horse-drawn wagons. Our lighter hair and fairer skin made us immediately recognizable as different. Many stopped to ask us in English, "What's your name?" This was followed by smiles and introductions: "My name is Noor, Mustafa, Mohamad." It was a great celebration on the Mediterranean corniche. (Maya and Asia in the lower photo; everyone else, locals who were more than willing to pose for the photos.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Eid al-Adha (Monday)

We woke up early this morning but didn't get up for hours. The 5 a.m. prayer was like a megaphone right inside the house for at least 45 minutes. It sounded like the mike was passed around from one man to the next and the same phrases were repeated over and over again: God is Great. There is only one God.

Yesterday after dinner at Evelyn's house, we came home and a neighbor was unloading two quiet passive lambs. I have done some online research to try and better understand the sacrificial part of this holiday and am comforted to learn that the halal method is at least quick and relatively painless. I have to admit that Americans kill millions of turkeys for Thanksgiving and while we don't watch the process, I would be naive to think the execution doesn't occur. And I have to admit with shame that American slaughterhouse methods are some of the worst in the world.

While today is meant to be about community, we declined invitations to watch the event. I'm a bit nervous about what we may see when we go outside.

(It was fine. It was a beautiful day. Everyone was in good spirits and we saw nothing unpleasant.)


Machines in love, a 2001 Space Odyssey moment, the boot of life, and walking like an Egyptian in the closing credits.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Barbie in a Christmas Carol

Due to a late start and a flat tire, the plans to go to Saqqara have been scrapped to watch movies! Last night - full confession - we watched Barbie in a Christmas Carol.

The plot runs along the same lines as the Dickens classic, except Timmy = Tammy and the protaganist is Barbie's Victorian ancestor, Eiden.

Having learned that selfish behavior brings success, the ghost of Christmas future shows the famous opera singer that long-term security comes first with being generous. The story is passed down to Barbie and then to Kelly through a snow globe.

Eid al-Adha (Sunday)

Today Egyptians are at home with their families preparing for the Eid al-Adha celebration tomorrow (عيد الأضحى or the Festival of Sacrifice). This is a feast day in commemoration of Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. At the last minute, God intervenes and provides a lamb instead.

Tomorrow morning Muslims around the world will attend morning prayer and exchange gifts. A sheep or goat will be slaughtered (viewed by all) and the meat will be distributed to members of the community including those too poor to afford meat on a regular basis.

Last night, on the airport ride to my sister's house, we saw large groups of animals gathered throughout the city ready for sacrifice. A little upsetting to think about ...

For more information, go here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Save the Tigers

If you would like to purchase kid-designed wrapping paper for the Christmas season, please e-mail me at leslieinadamsmorgan (at) gmail (dot) com.

All proceeds will be sent to help save the tigers. Wrapping paper is $1 per sheet (size = 70 x 48 centimeters).

For more information about the efforts being made to protect tigers, go here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Pyramids at Giza

Here in America we live very much in the 21st century. In Egypt, however, the modern day prayer calls of Islam coexist with a respect for the Holy Family of 2,000 years ago and the ancient pharoahs of 5,000. The passage of time doesn't feel linear to me and as a result the ages seem to have relevance and the universe feels bigger than ourselves.

During my first trip, I did all of the "must do" things to include visiting the mummies in the Egyptian Museum and horseback riding at the pyramids. Since I was lucky enough to have an insider view, Jimmie, whose family owns the stables, led us through the non-tourist side. Afterwards, we drank tea and fed carrots to the horses.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Holy Family

This photo was take during a school field trip. After a stay in Old Cairo, the Holy Family moved in a southerly direction where they boarded a sailing-boat that carried them up the Nile. This Church was build on the site where they stopped to rest.

According to Asia, the Holy Family then knew they could leave Egypt because the angel Gabriel came down and whispered in Joseph's ear through a dream that the King was dead and now it was safe to go back to freedom.

Info from

Monday, December 1, 2008

Traffic in Cairo

This is a common sight in Egypt. A horse-drawn wagon making its way along side automobile traffic. In this photo everything looks a lot more orderly than I remember. You can see poor old donkeys driving cargo up highway ramps and cars stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason and sometimes they just back up instead of turning around.

There are no lanes painted and no traffic lights. Everything is organized by the sound of the horn and the person who gets there first. I remember a man driving a motorcycle, zipping around cars on the corniche, with his young son in front of him and his wife behind him holding a baby in swaddling clothes. No one was wearing helmets, of course. And she was sitting side saddle instead of across the seat! I have no idea what kept her secure.

I was in fear the entire time I was there of an accident but when I came back home, I felt like I'd been thrown into a medicated state, moving forward in line and order with no deviation allowed.

Photo from Cairo/Giza Daily Photo Blog.