Thanks to Bryan Canniff for taking photos at Jolie's soirée the evening of the 9th. I especially like this one – even though I feel nekkid
in the beautiful BCBG Max Azaria
slipdress (so chichi) that Jolie chose for me. I like the composition and other elements of this shot: for example, I'm holding a corkpuller
(which is the only way to open a wine bottle, in my opinion) before a sea of bottles and empty glasses. The flowers were by LMD
, and they were gorgeous – white calla lilies with white sweet peas, and vases of white roses. On the bar just outside of the image were delicious gluten- and lactose-free pizzas that Jolie made. Between all the flowers and pizzas, the aroma in the entire house was intoxicating.
Yesterday, after our morning leash-less walk through Fort Greene Park (during which we heard no less than 5 times that our dog looked like "a little Lassie"), we found ourselves on the opposite corner of the park at the be-leashing hour. So we lashed Sophie down and went a-hunting a little eggs and bacon.
We happened on the charming Ici
. Before the door was a tiny sub-sidewalk patio with one table and no chairs. I went in to see if we might be served on the patio, as we were with canine. Inside, I was drawn back to an elegant little dining garden. There, lounging with his bipedal companions, was a white lab mix who'd been running in the park earlier. I asked the waitress if I could bring my dog through the restaurant to the garden. In a heavy French accent she said, "But of course – as long as he gets along... he is, you know, not a fighter."
I had poached eggs on rounds of polenta in a bed of stewed tomatoes. And Brad and I shared an order of half-inch thick French-style bacon. Perfect!
Our waitress told us she was from Paris and what we could expect from November weather in Nice. After she'd gone, we talked about our upcoming trip and wondered if we should take Sophie along. Then we wondered if people there would tell us our chien
looked like "une petite Lassie"
– do the French know who Lassie is? Surely they must if they know who Jerry Lewis is, I reasoned.
When the waitress returned, we asked. "But of course! Brave and so smart! My boyfriend, he says Lassie could bring him his pot of coffee in the mornings! She is from German stories, no? Or perhaps British?" I was stunned: Had the French disassociated her from her All-American-ness in order to embrace her?
Back in Jolie's former apartment – now empty but for our suitcases, a thin mattress-topper on the floor, a television, and the all-important wireless modem (the new tenants arrive tomorrow) – I searched for Lassie
's origins. I found a fascinating history of Lassie
from the Museum of Broadcast Communications
: Lassie first appeared in an American publication, in a short story written by a British author. I especially liked this from the museum's entry:
Lassie increasingly became a mythic embodiment of ideals such as courage, faithfulness, and determination in front of hardship.... Along the way, Lassie's mythic function moved from being the force uniting a family towards a force uniting a nation.
And I thought of Joe's comments
when I read this:
Lassie became a staple of Sunday night television, associated with "wholesome family values," though, periodically, she was also the subject of controversy with parents' groups monitoring television content. Lassie's characteristic dependence on cliff-hanger plots in which children were placed in jeopardy was seen as too intense for many smaller children; at the same time, Timmy's actions were said to encourage children to disobey their parents and to wander off on their own.
Ahhh, but of course – that's
what I liked about those Lassie
I was not looking forward to marking a half century on this earth. Nevertheless, yesterday I had the best birthday I can ever remember celebrating.
About 8am, I took a long walk through Fort Greene Park
with Sophie (dogs are allowed off-leash before 9am). Then we stopped at the Urban Glass
gallery, which was featured on a recent Queer Eye
. Everyone in the shop said to Sophie, "Hi there little Lassie!", so we felt right at home. From the gallery, I watched a pair finish blowing a vessel and put it in the kiln. In the gallery, I was so inspired by the lampwork the artists are doing there, that I came back to Jolie's place and signed up for a bead-making class at Glass FX
Then my groom and I took it really easy for the rest of the day – without contest, yesterday was the most guiltless day of total hedonism I've ever enjoyed.
Jolie came back from work, and we went to a nearby French restaurant. Earlier, Brad had said it had
to be a French restaurant, and Jolie scoffed – I didn't even notice or question why.
After we ordered, Brad and Jolie gave me a box. Inside was a long envelope. I expected tickets to a Broadway show, and wondered which they thought I would want to see. But inside the envelope was this wonderful card using a vintage poster and some deft photoshop work to incorporate the nickname a Japanese nanny had given me before I'd turned 2. Since the age of 11, knowing nothing of French, I have spelled this name that my family calls me as "Nicé"*:
I took French in high school, but corrupted it with Spanish in college. So it took me a few minutes to understand the meaning of the card: Brad and I are off to France in 3 months!
[Clarification 09.02.04: I used an acute accent when spelling my nickname because I didn't know French – the acute accent on the "e" makes it a long "a" sound in French, but my family actually pronounces my nickname "Nee-See". Since age 11, I've been using an accent mark to simply signal that it should be said with 2 syllables – that the nickname doesn't rhyme with "ice" (like the Unix command) or "niece". I suppose I should consider spelling it "Nici". Maybe.]
Renice, Rev. George, Brad
[Photo by Jolie, 2:30pm August 9, 2004; Central Park Reservoir, 5th Avenue between 96 and 97th.]