Well, Hello There Stranger

 

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Babylonstoren farm hotel, South Africa

 

Hi There!  I’m back  🙂

How are YOU?!

I’ve been a travelin’ fool and after a 4 month hiatus from my blog, there’s so much to catch up on, honestly, I don’t know where to start!  So make yourself a cup of tea, or coffee…or if it’s that time of day (lucky you) perhaps a glass of wine to sit down with.

I guess I’ll just begin where I left off.

Er, maybe not, as I’ve already forgotten where that was…

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Greece

Well, there was Summer (remember that?!) which was wonderful but, as always, fleeting. We spent some time with friends in gorgeous Greece, followed by a short but sweet stop in Lake Muskoka, Ontario, before returning to Sun Valley, which amongst its many other charms, is the only place time seems to slow down a little for me.

 

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Exploring caves in Greece and trying to hide ‘Feta Stomach’ with leg while appearing all casual.

 

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Hiking in Sun Valley

 

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Watercolouring with my friend in Sun Valley.

Speaking of hiatuses and ways to slow life down, I picked up a paintbrush again after a break of about, oh, 40 YEARS.  Wow, I love it so much! With the encouragement of my artistic friends, I dabbled a bit in Antarctica at the beginning of the year, and again in Greece.

By the time I reached Idaho, I attempted my first portrait (well, 1/2 a portrait-I figured that would be easier) Watercolours present challenges that other mediums, like oils and the acrylics of my early youth did not, but it’s awesome to learn something new each time you put brush and water to paper. Plus watercolours are infinitely easier to travel with. I think what I’m enjoying most of all is looking at things now with an eye to how they might look painted-it’s a whole new way of appreciating beauty in the world.

My 1/2 Mads Mikkelson

 

We bookended the summer months with a couple of supremely chic and romantic weddings.

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Love the embroidered evening slippers men are still wearing to formal gatherings. I bought my husband a pair of black velvet ones with finely woven silver and blue sharks (he loves “Shark Tank”!) but he hasn’t worn them once. WHAT was I thinking?  🙁

 

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Even the sole canine present was elegant. “Zeus”, who’d recently undergone brain surgery and couldn’t be left alone, attended the wedding with his dad, who happens to be a heart surgeon. PS. can you imagine the size of his brain?! (Zeus’ not his dad!)

Judging by my Instagram feed (don’t you just love Instagram ?!) it appears everyone is happily nestling back into the bosom of Autumn. Except, of course, you lucky peeps on the other side of the globe just beginning Spring. Oh, and then there’s Southern California…Fall’s neglected child, if not the one the heartless hussy abandoned entirely. I’m not home at the moment (shock) but I heard the temperature in Santa Barbara reached 100 degrees this week. The 3rd week of October. 100 degrees People!

 

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Meanwhile, it’s early Spring in South Africa, where we’ve just returned from a 2 week trip (more on that later too-I simply can’t wait to talk about termite hills! No joke, they’re fascinating)

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A lone giraffe looks for lunch below our camp.

From our perch overlooking the endless vista of parched red earth, mud grey bush and a shallow river choked with algae due to no rain, in Kruger National Park,  I saw disconcerting proof we’re not the only ones the Climatic Powers That Be have been neglecting.

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But the South African attitude remains positive despite the crispy landscape. It’s sort of like, “YES, we’d love to get rain, but Nature is Nature, it’s bigger than all of us, and she is infinite in her wisdom.”  And nowhere is there a better testament to the natural course of life and nature than Africa.

I promise I’ll revisit South Africa and our itinerary in a more positive light in the near future. I haven’t returned to posting after 4 months and no excuses to talk about the weather (though I do it constantly, much to the dismay of my husband and sons, who I feel the need to apprise of rains in Jaipur, rising temperatures in Cambodia, and wind in Patagonia on any given Thursday)

This is like seeing a good friend when you’ve been apart for too long and you’re all hyperventilating because there’s too much to catch up on. Your turn! No, your turn! Okay, now back to you! He didn’t! She dihn’t! Omg- wait, you can’t leave yet! We have to have one more Negroni! Stay overnight!!

For starters, what have you been reading?

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I  finally finished Hanya Yanagihara’s ” A Little Life”.  For those not familiar with the novel (though it’s hard to miss in bookstores, with one of the most arresting covers I’ve seen in recent fiction) it’s about the friendship between 4 male friends living in NYC.  From college through their 50’s, the focus is primarily on the character Jude St. Francis, who we quickly learn has an extremely disturbing dark history he’s physically and mentally struggling with. His past is picked at  slowly throughout the entire 700+ pages, a bit like a nasty scab. As if this isn’t torturous enough (and trust me, it is) Jude is also ferociously determined to keep this past a secret, even from his very best friends. The abuse Jude suffers both at the hands of others and self-inflicted is so graphically depicted that I often found it very difficult to pick the book up and soldier on until the end. I feel a tad guilty admitting that, but now I have, I might as well dig the hole a bit deeper and add that, much like “The Goldfinch”  (I know I’m in the minority here) I thought “A Little Life” would have been a much better (difficult to use “enjoyable”) read with some serious editing of repetitive content, particularly towards the end.  There, I said it. Then again, I’ve never written a book, so easy for me to say, right?

I’m now a 1/3rd of the way into “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay”,  Book 3 of The Neapolitan Novels.

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Elena Ferrante’s first book.

Despite the Harlequin-esque titles and romance novel covers of these books, they’re anything but.

 

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Most of the time I’m finding this saga of a lifelong friendship between two Neapolitan girls utterly gripping and the writing quite beautiful. That being said, half way into the second novel I realized what was missing, for me, was any sense of lightness-there is literally no humour at all in the first two novels, or the 3rd so far. And the girls aren’t even out of their 20’s yet. I can’t imagine that as they continue to age and life gets more complicated, the tone is going to lighten up any. Without spoilers, if you’ve read the quartet, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In the meantime, I’m certainly enjoying this tome enough to see it through to the end so I’ll check back with you then.

And while we’re still on the subject of traveling and books and packing… I’m in serious need of an intervention. Despite a request from a certain someone to please ‘pack lightly’ on this trip, I still felt the need to bring 2 heavy paperbacks, my kindle, an iPad, a laptop, and an arm crippling stack of magazines. In addition to my heavy Canon camera which I take as carry on. What is that about? Why do I find the prospect of relying on a Kindle so…unappealing? My husband is quite happy with his (this might have something to do with him having to carry said magazines) For me, I think it’s the sense of security I derive from words on paper, as well as a classic case of old habits dying hard. Are you the same? Please tell me yes!

Well, I could go on and on (as well you know)  I read a few more books, moved into our new home, developed a bad knee, went to London, learned how to make gin, failed epically to exercise and practice yoga, started all sorts of posts I never finished, battled insomnia and lost, saw no movies and ate too much. Same old, same old.

 

Wait, don’t go just yet. I’ll be wrapping this up very shortly. There’s just one more thing I’d like to share.

 

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During the summer, the blogging world lost a most singular and hilarious voice and individual by the name of Ellie O’Connel. For those of you not familiar with Ellie’s blog Have Some Decorum, Ellie was a beautiful young wife and mother who was diagnosed with ALS several years ago.

In her own words:

“I used to be a perfectly healthy functioning woman with not a care in the world. Then, life changed. I don’t like to just throw it out there that I have ALS, a terminal disease. ALS does not define me but it has changed the way I look at things. Nothing and everything matters to me now. I know what is important and I know what is not important. My daughter, my husband, my friends, my cat and my dog matter.  Me keeping my sanity through all of this matters and in doing so I like to do this blog. I don’t have anything to prove, I don’t have anyone to impress and I have nothing to lose. Therefore this blog focuses on everything that I like… Art, architecture, culture, fashion, flowers, food, Paris, travel, interior design, houses, gardens, faith etc. Just for the fun of it I like to focus on everything that I don’t like as well. I feel like I can be totally honest with my opinions because I have no agenda. I imagine readers will appreciate that. So, I invite you to come along on this little journey with me. It will be fun. XO XO”

And what a journey it was. Ellie’s posts were irreverent, bold, completely honest and most of all, hilarious. Somehow she managed to sell antiques, remain interested in fashion, food, interior design and other people’s business, write a memoir, insult all her relatives, share recipes and tales out of school, be a good mom and a not so typical wife, and generally offend, defend and make amends as she saw fit. She even kept up a not so covert but hysterical flirtation with the good looking stranger who used to talk on his phone below her window in Paris and take us along for the ride (until the sad day she filmed him, rather than just a still photo, and we all realized he was gay. waaa waaa…)  I marveled at her fearless writing and deeply admired her ability to stay SO damn funny while not so slowly losing her ability to move.

Though Ellie penned her blog from Paris, she returned to her beloved Montecito to pass her few final days. Strangely enough, and we wondered at this because we lived in the same small town for so many years and had mutual friends, our paths never crossed. I’m sorry for that. I hope that her daughter and husband will decide to leave “Have Some Decorum” up for others to still discover Ellie. She seemed like she would have been cool with that.

 

Ok, that’s it for now.

Did you finish your drink already??!

Have a wonderful week and please let me know you’re still out there.

Go Cubs!!  (I’m in Chicago right now 🙂  )

xoxo SP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you’re back!!!! What a beautiful post. And funny, as always.
    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. I’ll try to find her blog now.

  2. I’ve missed reading your wonderful blog! I don’t follow many blogs these days, but i have always loved yours and I sure loved Have Some Decorum too!! Happy you are back at it!

  3. Hi-I am not a regular comment leaver, but just wanted to let you know I was so happy to see your post and see that you are still our there and well. Thanks for sharing you travels and adventures! I will have to check out your friend Ellie’s blog this week.—Julia

  4. Welcome back Slim! You have been sorely missed. instagram just doesn’t do it for me. Your humor, beautiful photos and writing had me hooked from the very beginning. We are all blessed to have you in our lives.

  5. I am a prodigious reader…can’t stop myself, and I believe the Ferrante novels are astonishing. Really perfect writing about female friendships.
    On the other hand, I agree about ” A Little Life”
    An editor was definitely needed!
    My rather unkind review to my husband was this…so, Jude St Francis was raped , beaten, thrown down the stairs, was prostituted, set his hand on fire, amputated and finally killed himself. So what.
    Glad to see you back!

  6. Oh my gosh! I’m so glad you’re back! I have missed you! Can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures! You are not alone in your battle with insomnia, there are many of us “midnight wanderers”. As for books, I am knee deep into “Power House CAA, the untold story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency”. It’s by the same author who wrote “Live From New York”, about the history of Saturday Night Live. Don’t know why I’m on a history kick, but there it is. Anyway, keep painting, your work is beautiful!

  7. Loved this post–have been wondering where you were! Since I am an editor, I can say this 😉 A Little Life was one of the most extraordinary books I’ve read in a long while, but it most certainly could have used a heavy editorial hand. Would have been even more powerful. I cannot get into the Ferrante books, despite valiantly trying. I think you have put your finger on something important, about the lack of humor, lack of lightness. I am writing from Mauritius, where I brought an insane amount of luggage–many, many books and a crazy number of magazines. ‘Twas ever thus, I reckon!

    • Hi Faith
      Thanks! As an editor doesn’t it drive you crazy to read a book that could have been so much better with a really good (and obvious) edit??

  8. Slim, seeing your name pop up on my email tonight was like a fabulous surprise party laden with beautiful gifts. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, we’ve missed you!

  9. Have missed your posts very much – good to see you back!
    Book-wise, I couldn’t face A Little Life, and petered out with the Neapolitan novels (felt a bit Ferrante-shamed amongst my friends) but ADORED Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment which grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let me go until I’d finished it. Re Goldfinch did you not love? I did not love (except for the New York bits.) And I only read on a screen when I am desperate and stuck without a book.

    • Thank you! And thanks for the The Days of Abandonment, which I’m not familiar with. I thought Goldfinch needed a big edit and got so over the top with everything happening to the boy that it was straining my believability meter. Here’s a link to my original post: http://slimpaley.com/art/the-goldfinch/ I just reread the post and it’s funny because I mention how much I love my new Paperwhite Kindle! ah, Woman thy name is Fickle??!

  10. Every once in a while I thought about you and wondered if maybe you quit your blog, so glad you are back Slim! It is definitely a good thing that you picked up that paint brush again, you are very creative.

  11. Hi Slim, glad you’re back! Did you know that the identity of Elena Ferrante was a one of the great myths of modern literature? For years it remained a secret, it left readers and and italian newspapers puzzeled. Only recently an Italian investigative journalist, Claudio Gatti, discovered who she was when he discovered that her publisher was paying millions of euros in real estate holdings to a translater from Rome: Anita Raja.
    A so not romantic end of this mystery!

  12. Was thrilled to see your blog in my inbox this morning. Obviously we can’t count on Pulitzer Prize-winning books to be “disciplined.” There was “The Goldfinch” and now “Barbarian Days”, parts of which I loved but probably would have enjoyed more as the “New Yorker” slices of life they began as. Note there’s lots of slogging around distant islands looking for the perfect wave. Ho hum. If the middle of the book were cut in half, it would have been perfect. I keep telling my husband to fast forward to the author in San Francisco since he is stuck in the boring island-hopping middle right now and may not finish the book.
    Loved your mention of Ellie as I religiously consumed her blog for that unique sarcasm and wisdom she dished out.
    Thanks for reappearing!!

  13. So glad you’re back! I enjoyed watching your travels on Instagram. (My husband teases me – “Where is Slim Paley? I want to know where we’re going next on vacation?”) I am really looking forward to seeing your posts on South Africa…;)

    I have picked up and put down A Little Life a couple of times and based on your review, I will leave it down. I felt the same way as you about The Goldfinch. I have yet to start the Ferrante books but I’m reading A Man Called Ove now and am enjoying the humor. And I hope to see the movie, but let’s not hold our breath on that….

    I hope fall comes soon to Montecito – we were there in June and it was 100 degrees then!

    So glad you’re back! xxSusan

  14. Random comments: Your 1/2 portrait is stunning! I’m also sorry to hear about Ellie O’Connell. I tried to get into the Ferrante books last year and stopped halfway through the first one. Meaningful, but too stiff. Next, I want to read the new book by the same author who wrote Rules of Civility…one of my favorites about New York in the 30’s. Thanks for coming back to pop in for updates and funny musings. Your posts and pictures are always missed. xx Kathryn

  15. Thanks for returning to your blog Slim, you were missed. I feel the same way about books I can’t get enough and an e-reader doesn’t do it for me. Can’t wait to see your pics from all of your travels. Sorry for your loss, will check out Elle’s blog. And yes I agree with your comment on the series and A Little Life. N

  16. Glad you are back!
    I like to read “real” books but when I travel I leave the books at home, the computer at home and just rely on my iPad and use the Kindle App. It’s just easier but I have noticed that I lose interest faster when reading on a device if it is not something that instantly grabs me.

  17. Hi Slim,
    So happy you’re back. You certainly do get around the globe. I was wondering, when you first wake up in the morning, do you have a small moment when you have to orient yourself and remember exactly where you are in your travels and at home???

    Sarah

  18. Welcome home and welcome back to Bloggsville! Little Zeus was sitting on my lap so just imagine our surprise when we saw his photo staring back at us. His facial hair has grown out considerably (kinda like your husband’s from time to time) so now he’s back to looking more “Yorkie” vs “alien hatchlet”.
    So, thanks a lot for not only do I have to put up with him becoming incredibly spoiled through his ordeal but “now” I have to deal with his ego!
    BYW, your watercolor portrait is so amazing. You have inspired me do pick up my brushes after decades of safe storage and procrastination, yes, I still have them, amazing, right? Not sure about the condition of my many tubes of paints…they may have gone the way of my ovaries.

    • Ha Ha ! You’re so funny CJ. I love the image of Little Zeus sitting on your lap and all of a sudden seeing his photo looking back at him!
      I hope your paints are still, er, functioning ! 😉

  19. Welcome back SP! I love reading about your peripatetic life and South Africa is magical even during a drought. Please share more of your paintings too. Painting is a skill that makes us see and not merely look.

  20. I loved the Ferrante books….just returned from Sicily where I bought another one of her books (The Lost Daughter) …..interesting small English book section in Ragusa! I can understand the lack of humor during those times as it still seems a rather rugged and hard place, especially compared to northern Italy…it was my first visit to Sicily, and I made it most of the way around….glad I experienced it, very different. And I, too, carried around a stack of heavy magazines the whole 3 wks…bought more design mags there since they are so much cheaper than in US….I did pack way too much even though only one large bag…maybe I’ve learned my lesson with that…:) Love reading travel posts….

    • I have never been to Sicily, but it’s on my list. Italy has the BEST design and fashion magazines- it’s Magazine Heaven!!

  21. I am (along with everyone else) very glad to see your post! Missed your lovely photos, insights and humor. So sorry I never got to enjoy Ellie’s blog. Love people who are fearless with their opinions!

  22. Love your half portrait of Mads Mikkleson, Slim! While he’s probably more well known for other movies, you’re in for a treat if you haven’t seen him in the 2006 Danish film ” After the Wedding”. I didn’t know this actor at the time, but was so impressed, I looked him up – only to be happily surprised to see his (half!) face again today on your blog! I rented it from my local library and highly reccomend it. It really moved me and has stuck with me since. Happy you’re back!

    • This is awesome Diane, thank you. I wasn’t aware of this film yet obviously I’m a huge fan of M.M. Did you see him in the movie about Coco Chanel? He was so great in that too. sigh….

  23. Out here, happy you have returned to blogging. Love being along seeing your photos and “experiencing travel” through your eyes and thoughts. Thank you!

  24. Welcome back and thanks for your always fun look at life. We split time between Chicago and Montecito, but nowhere I’d rather be than in Chicago right now in the freaking WORLD SERIES. As the Band says, “Look Out Cleveland”! My hard copy books are my friends; can’t give them up and spend lovely moments at the Book Stall in Winnetka and Chaucer’s. Here’s to you and your art, travels and beautiful posts.

  25. Welcome back! I was just thinking about you last week and wondering if you were ever coming back. I LOVE your posts and have missed them! Your posts are always such a fun diversion from my everyday life. Thank you for returning to us! 🙂

  26. I’m so glad you’re back! I am inspired by your creative curiosity and talent!

    I just finished reading ” The Train to Crystal City.” (I would love to send a copy to every member of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.)

    I am looking forward to checking out Martha’s in NYC per your suggestion.
    Welcome home!

  27. Alright! You are back! Oh happy day! I just took screen shots of your current books as my feeble brain won’t remember squat. It may be the insomnia, sorry to read you suffer too. I was so happy to see that you shared my opinion of Goldfinch. I felt so guilty as everyone I know ranted and raved. I’m so sorry about your blogging friend, I didn’t read her but I hope her blog is still up as it sounds like she was amazing. I love following you and your fun travels in Instagram, of course I’ve formed yet another addiction, that site is seriously fun and perfect for moi with my adult ADD. You are an amazing artist! Grandma Moses had nothing on you, please keep it up! I want to post your fabulous half portrait on my Pinterest art appreciation board! I’m dying to go to South Africa, I sent my daughter to Cape Town to stay with friends a few years ago but never made it. She loved it. Please don’t be a stranger, keep posting, your blog is my very favorite and I know I am not alone. Yippeeeee!

  28. Oh, Slim! You’ve been missed, although I confess to finding Instagram so satisfying that I didn’t feel your absence as much as I used to (before IG). I’ve gone completely over to IG and dropped by blog, although not officially (don’t want to be one of those athletes that retire and then change their mind, twice!) 🙂
    Your travels are always such a draw and that is where I really enjoy your accompanying words…a travel show online for this armchair traveler.
    Love the Cubbies, although I had mixed feelings when they were playing the Dodgers (my childhood team).
    xo,
    Karen

  29. Welcome back! Loved your photos but missed your ever so entertaining writings…. from the mundane (always made fun!) to your exciting adventures abroad 🙂 Missed you!

  30. This is so odd BC I was going to ask u a question today on IG! Happy to see a notice in my InBox that there was a post from you on your blog! My question was about the PBS show Indian Summer. Last night it came on late after another show and even tho I watched it last year, I didn’t start at the beginning. Last night the events were new to me, so I was wondering if you knew if it was a second season or not? I think you had written about watching it last year. It’s so good. In any case, it made me think of you; funny the effect social media is having on those of us whom we have never even met! Also, I read Ellie’s blog for a couple of years I think; or for a very long time. Daily , or whenever she would post. I went back to the beginning and read until I got caught up and then until the end. I’m a prolific reader and no writing gave me more pleasure and enjoyment than Ellie’s when she posted. Unfortunately I cannot get her book to download on my Kindle which is a huge regret. She made her mark and is missed. Finally, your painting is amazing!

    • Thanks Jean
      I really love Indian Summer and yes, there is a second season, but now I’ve heard it isn’t being picked up for a 3rd. 🙁
      I watched the first episode of the new series “Tutankhamen” while I was in London and thought it was terrible 🙁

  31. It was like Christmas came early when I opened my email and there was a new Slim Paley post! You were truly missed. I always look forward to your take on life and am so encouraged by your outlook and inspired by your talents. {Add ARTIST to the list ~ WOW ~ that portrait is incredible.} And, as a fellow empty nester trying to downsize, I’m still hoping you’ll post photos of your new place. Your interior design skills are also a gift and I would love to get some SP inspiration in that department. Keep having fun and please keep blogging!

  32. Slim, So glad you’re back and doing well. Life just gets more busy doesn’t it? Your travels sounds amazing and I hope you share more and about your house. Looking forward to that. Love the book recommendations. Just finishing Seating Arrangements, which was very good. Like you, I can pack lightly with clothing, but my reading materials kill me and my husband is so streamlined like yours with just a Paperwhite Kindle. Actually coming back from London this summer one of my heavy British magazines fell out of the luggage from the top and hit the gentleman’s bald head sitting in front of us. Everyone was cross with me and I felt like crawling under the seat. 🙁

    Loved Ellie too and plan to go back and reread her whole blog again. She was just lovely and so likable. I’m just beyond sad she is gone.

    Kim

  33. Missed your posts! You have talent (painting) – looks similar to Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre) from James Bond’s Casino Royale!

  34. Well Slim, it is about time! ;o) Geez… some of us depend on you for our armchair travels….. vicarious refreshments indeed!

    Real books SP! The tactile feel of weight… especially those hardbacks, the turning of lovely, velvety, printed paper pages between my fingers, the fresh off the press scent, the immediacy of dog-earing a special passage, the visual delight in a uniquely chosen font, stacking of read or (unread) books, sometimes rarely to be moved…. a collection for a daily visual prayer of accomplishments or delights to come.
    Nah…I will never be Kindled.

    Isn’t it nice to have a Sherpa hubby?

  35. You aren’t the only one who is a bit behind on things…I just got my driver’s licence and I am 47! 😉

    Since I am one of your rabid (!) followers on Instagram, I am au courant with all of your really phenomenal adventures but I was still so truly delighted to find this post from you. But I did gasp with seeing Ellie’s photo and tears sprang to my eyes from the surprise of your tribute. I think that you were both mutual admirers of each other and I definitely remember our talking about you (did your ears burn?) when she was still in Paris before her last trip Home. I am one of her more recent friends so I hope this doesn’t seem presumptious to say but I really think that she would have been really touched by what you wrote here. I miss her so much and catch myself all the time thinking, “Oh, Ellie would love this,” especially as I am back in Provence.

    So thank you for this…and for making me dream. Always.
    With great admiration of you, Modern Kickass Adventuress,
    bisous
    Heather

    • Firstly, Congratulations Heather!! Good on you! That is a hard thing to do when you don’t have the immortal confidence of a teenager anymore.
      Secondly, Thank you for saying you think Ellie would have been touched. I am so sorry for your loss.
      Lastly, Have you moved back to France??
      I’m so happy to hear you’ve ‘taken the wheel’ as it were. xoxo

  36. You had me at your anti “reach out” so concur just say call!
    Agree on Goldfinch thought the Elizabeth Gilbert novel so much better. A Little Life — too long……to disturbing! And also have fear of running out of books while traveling. Once started reading a German book in Costa Rica and I don’t even know German……..and your painting is brilliant.

  37. So happy to see your name in my in-box!!!! I have been painting in watercolour for about 3 years. I am so lucky to be able to spend a few days a week painting, since I started at a later age, and am passionate about it. Also loving ordering new DS paints, and lovely Kolinsky brushes. I now have to get onto IG to see your work. Welcome back. Looking so forward to seeing what you send us next.

    • Hi Betty. Oh how I love Kolinsky brushes- I’ve just discovered them! I am not familiar with DS paints though, I will have to check them out. Thank you!

      • Hi Slim: I should have said Daniel Smith watercolours. Although I love Holbein, some Winsor Newton, and just was given a tube of Qor which I’ve never tried before. Just received a new Kolinsky #10 Versatil today; highly recommended. 🙂

  38. Happiness! You’re back, Slim – yay! I’ve actually popped in a few times to see if I missed a blog entry, perhaps fell off your distro. You pointed me to Indian Summers, Season 1. In the interim I pulled out hard copy White Mischief. Must do some binge catch-up though on Season 2. Those rascals not renewed for a Season 3. Looking forward to seeing your super globe-trotting photos, Slim

  39. Welcome back! Lovely post and thank you for your thoughts on A Little life — I thought I was the only one. xx

  40. Yay! So happy you’re back, Slim, as everyone else has already said. Follow you on IG, but love the additional detail in your posts. I smiled when I saw the notification pop up in my email!
    PLEASE share more info about your travels – especially Greece, as it’s on my bucket list for a family trip. We went to South Africa three years ago, inspired by your posts! Can’t wait to return. It just gets in your blood. Also, would love to see your new home, which seems to be inspired by the architecture of some of your travels, judging by the snippets on IG. So beautiful, as I knew it would be! Also, so sorry about Ellie. Her blog was one of my very favorites, along with yours, and I was so sad when she passed. Have her memoir, which I love. Such an inspiration to never take a day for granted, and to find the humor in everything.
    Can’t wait for your next post, Slim! xo

  41. Fall Happiness = seeing a blog post from you. Fall Sadness = Losing Ellie. Instaslim is good but not the same as a blog post, thank you for returning. I wanted to love Hanya’s book but just couldn’t finish it, too long, and just “too”. I’m ok with the Neapolitan Series. The Long Walk by Anita Rau Badami is great (FYI She’s Canadian). Wish list for your upcoming and frequent posts (!) is design inspiration for and snippets of your new home…embroidery in fashion…stripes…and whatever else you’re inspired by at the moment.

  42. WOW…i feel after that post i should light a cigarette!………..wat up?…life is good for YOU!……..I have to confess a few months ago, (June), as I was helping my daughter move from SB 🙁 we were out and about, shopping on a Sunday afternoon and we were entering William Laman and i held the door for a woman who was exiting and she very quietly and demurely said “thank you”…….. i of course thought i need to chase described woman across the parking lot and give her a super big hug cuz’ she (you) is/are my girl crush, but of course, my daughter reeled me in and told me it was probably not a good idea to chase you down screaming “Slim” in a parking lot…….xo your biggest fan lol

  43. My well-loved and deeply missed friend, Elizabeth Joyce heroically endured ALS for six years. She left this earth in January. She is the wife of Academy Award Winner, William Joyce. Elizabeth was diagnosed shortly after the death of their daughter, Mary Katherine from a brain tumor. Mary Katherine & my sons were classmates from PS-4 through high school. Elizabeth also documented her journey and Bill’s chapter remains a sentimental favorite. I will read Ellie’s blog, thank you for sharing. Bill’s latest book, Ollie’s Odyssey is very special.

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/local/2015/08/07/despair-hope-joyelizabeth-joyce-shares-lessons-living-dying-daughter/31279595/http://sbmag.net/elizabeth-joyce-memoir/http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/yrev.12247/abstract

    • HI Jerie. I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend and her daughter. I read the interview with Elizabeth. Her words and attitude about Mary Katherine and what the family was going through touched me deeply. I’m sure her husband and their son miss them both beyond measure. So sad.

  44. So sad you didn’t get to meet Ellie once she was in California. She told me she would write me once she was settled as I was going to fly out for lunch and fly back home so it wasn’t some big production of a trip and many days, just a casual little lunch. I don’t know if things changed drastically once she got home or she knew all along. Anyway our last correspondence included a photo of my favorite church and how I was paying a Good Catholic to go in and light a candle for her safe travels. So I’m glad it included a genuine outreach of admiration but mainly humor.
    I’ve been trying to think of a beautiful way to remember her and have decided, at least this year, to do something small and meditative. So all my Christmas gifts this year will be with white or navy paper and with a big navy and white pinstripe bow (the ALS awareness ribbon). And for each present I wrap I will just make a real time donation.
    I’m in a book drought right now. Why can’t I find anything I like?? Greece looks as if it couldn’t be more beautiful. I like your cave attire. It’s a bit Katherine at home in Connecticut. Where did you eat in Chicago? Weather is of endless fascination to me. Particularly weather maps, love the drifts and darts of color. The painting is beautiful!

    • Thank you Steven
      I think what you’ve chosen to do is so lovely. You will think of Ellie with every gift you wrap.
      Isn’t it amazing the friendships forged through social media? We need to rejoice in this positive aspect of s.m. when SO many other aspects are negative.

      On a lighter note, I hear you with the book drought. I’ll continue to post and share if I find anything I really enjoy.
      As for restaurants in Chicago, we got our Grant Achatz fix for the year with one night at the newly reopened ‘Alinea’ and another at ‘The Aviary’, both fabulous.

      Weather Nerds Forever ! x

  45. Oh so glad you are back! I’m sure many of us live vicariously through your travels–I do. Love your Instagram. Your blog is an inspiration for my own very new effort. Thank you!

  46. On the ninth school snow day of this winter, as rain falls and freezes instantly, I veered off course and stumbled into this post. Gawd, I wish you were my neighbor so I could drink your tea, cut your roses and read your magazines. Four thoughts: 1) Love your travels. 2) A Little Life sounds gruesome; comparing it to The Goldfinch and the need for a good editor (my thoughts exactly on Tartt’s opus—plus, what, exactly, is the present-day relationship of author and editor?) makes me think I’ll pass on Life. 3) Humorless friendship is more than I can bear in 2017; I’ll pass on Ferrante for the moment, too. Finally, 4) Your tribute to Ellie and excerpt was lovely. She made an indelible impression. One day, I’ll go back and wander around the maze of her posts again. Thank you for being the bright spot in the day, long after your post was published. Cheers, and happy new year.

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