25 October 2015

The Four in the Fountain.

I'd give about anything to be the lady on the left. Her carefree style is spot-on.

From the Imperial War Museum collection, this gem emerged with more questions than answers. A quick internet campaign to find more answers revealed the two Land Girls in the photograph and the celebratory reason for wading into fountains.

May 1945. The war had ended. Euphoria was abundant and Joyce Digney and Cynthia Covello knew how to party. "In Trafalgar Square, they joined the “longest conga line you could ever imagine”, then decided to soothe their feet in the fountain’s pool."

"Later, they dried off by a bonfire and then took a train back to Surrey." 

Further articles on them: http://tinyurl.com/okxa9n8

23 September 2015

To Whom It May Concern

If you need an American non-actress, who uses some English words questionably, wishes she were British about 60% of the time, can make introductions and overtures in Russian, can only say that she's "coming to work on Monday" in German, has an obsessively aesthetically-geared perspective of the world, puts Italian parsley on everything, has a very broad and non-specific knowledge on nearly every topic from incorruptible bodies and all major wars to how to cook fresh artichokes (even though she's never done it), as well as what Edith Piaf drank or how Edith Cavell was executed, then I'm the girl you're looking for.

13 August 2015

On general principles, this blog expects to take a firm stand against murder.

But privately, I'd like to know who's idea it was to begin dressing the broad populace in neon colors. Neon does nothing for a person's skin tone.

30 July 2015

Cigar Rolling + El Lector, He Who Reads.

The Eagle bought me a cigar making kit which seems like it would be a straightforward thing, but actually it is two DVDs of instructions long and includes unmarked white powder substances with no instructions and a confusing mass of different leaves that must be purchased separately online.

Filler leaves.
Binder leaves.
Wrapper leaves.

Note: The Spanish wine did not come with the cigar making kit

Dampen and leave overnight
De-vine the leaves
Make sure the veins are pointing away from you
Make sure the veins on this particular leaf are pointing towards you
Roll the filler leaves into the binder leaf. Don't twist.
First stage of drying
Second stage of drying
Curing (two weeks)

In these two weeks of waiting to find out if an original Gogglette cigar is going to blow up in my own amateur face, I've enjoyed the process of learning about one aspect of cigar making that is perhaps lesser known: the factory reader.

An old Cuban and Latin American tradition was to read aloud for the cigar rollers. Surprisingly, this wasn't just the newspaper clippings being broadcasted, but instead the works of Cervantes, Zola, Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Jules Verne, etc. that were being shared to the workers on a daily basis. In some places today, this tradition still continues >> http://ow.ly/Qia7t.

Where is my Reader??

13 July 2015

Here Is Where I Should Go Next:

Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro & The Serengeti

Here is where I'm actually going next:

Des Moines | Iowa
Mahopac | New York
Fulton | Missouri 

06 July 2015

The Ten Smells of My House O' Dreams

Baking bread
Lavender, lilacs, and wisteria
Herbs and growing things 
Fresh cut flowers
The dog 
Tobacco pipe
Gun oil

16 June 2015

Dear Megan, I Would Like To Stay In Your Amsterdam Apartment. The Location In the City Is Perfect. I'm Very Quiet...

June 15th
Midnight. A loathsome character hacks into my Airbnb account and creates a listing for a breathable contemporary four bedroom apartment in Amsterdam. Loathsome characters sometimes have good taste.

June 16th
A day of information retrieval and receiving notifications from many an avid traveler making inquiries about the space. I could have earned $1600 this week if I kept up this charade, changed up the payment info again, and wanted a future in crookedness. But I have a reputation to maintain. Instead, I messaged back these masses (including a hairy man from Oslo) to tell them the quick story with the added heartfelt wish that I hoped they would find a perfect apartment in Amsterdam... that actually exists. Having a listing can be stressful apparently. There's a ticker that says you have 15 hours left if you want to maintain your perfect response rate.

06 June 2015

Forgettable Summers and a Suspicious Necklace

I can't really remember what I did two summers ago. I'd have to think hard and work my way backwards, even though I know it was wonderful. I recall getting exasperated with my grandfather once for not remembering some of the details of how he and my grandmother met, married, and honeymooned. Like, c'mon, Granddad.... get it together... this is important information for me to know. The devil is in the details! I am the family storyteller! Yet I only have 27 years of memories and the weirdest things stick out and not exactly in chronological order either. A 90-year-old was better at this memory game than I. So I've started writing down stories with the humorous quality of hindsight and not hiding any of the names at all which has been great fun. You'd like the story I wrote about you.

I spent last night untangling necklaces I inherited, completely aware that that is the weirdest Friday night activity. One of the necklaces is from the Civil War (the ancestor soldier's picture inside), and two from WWII days, one of which was a gift given to my grandmother by her pilot fiancee before he left. He never came back. Another one of the entangled necklaces was this heart shaped one with the initial "P". There's a funny story about this one. Actually... I'll start with a more serious back story if you care to hang on for a bit longer. For the last three years, I've been trying to prove that my grandmother had a child long before she was married... like all good granddaughters do. I have no proof other than that uncanny sense of mine.

She privately admitted once that she had "a great sorrow" that she couldn't talk about... not even to granddad. For someone who would find any way to garner sympathy or a chance to tell her story, this was unlike her not to divulge. Little things started sticking out—like a gap in pictures from her youthful days and then suddenly a changed body following a summer after she moved away and had been working down by the Mexico border during the war with a friend. There are things like that which she never fully explained. She hid or threw out the images* of her dead fiancee just months before she died. Everything regarding him was private... he had been the love of her life: not Granddad. Have you ever considered that thousands of woman had to settle for second best after the war? Their man, their best friend, their childhood sweetheart, their first husband, their planned future... gone forever... millions of them. And marriage was a necessity. So they married the next one that came along. They probably still loved them, but it wasn't the same. Men were scarce and they had to move on with the life they were destined for: a home, family, security, and meatloaf on the table at six.

I got very Nancy Drew about the whole thing. I also did not get very far because when it came down to it, a) I'm not willing to travel to small town Louisiana to sleuth and b) I was born in 1988, so I am out-of-shape when it comes to looking beyond the internet for answers.

But I know the baby was a girl. #UncannySense

Going through my grandmother's massive stash of jewelry that she hadn't managed to give away the last ten years under the pretense that she "might not be here tomorrow, so please pick out something you like before you-know-who takes it", I found this "P" necklace and my breath caught in my chest. My grandmother's name was Bonnie. She had no siblings with this initial. She had no daughters. Except... maybe... aha... the key! Lockets always reveal everything. People shouldn't have them if they don't want people to know things. "Penelope" "Pamela" "Peregrine".... another aunt most definitely exists under one of those names. Aunt Penny is out there having only three Christmases a year when she could be having up to four or six!

My #UncannySense had grown with momentum.

Then I decided to approach my dad with the whole thing. I casually started with the necklace, laying it before him easily, so as not to shock him. I said, "Dad, what, if anything, do you remember of your mom and this necklace?"

Dad looked at it and I saw a memory click. He said, "Wow, I can't believe she kept this."

I leaned my head forward expectantly............ "Goooo on."

"It was a gift for her birthday. I was six years old and went into a department store to find something and thought this necklace looked pretty. The lady at the counter said 'Your mom is going to like this. Does her name start with a "P"?' and I was so terrified of her that I said 'yes' and walked away as quickly as I could after I was done."

Unexpected. And now I understand why I've come home with things that are wrong.

Like all noble mothers, she said she adored it and had kept it visible in her jewelry box... even wearing it once.

And so that's the story behind this "P" necklace and the reason we should have clear memories and not keep any secrets.

Take-Away Lesson: when a young boy wants to buy something monogrammed for his mother, question him suspiciously.

*I secretly "borrowed" those pictures, scanned them, and then replaced them long before she passed away. This story is not finished.

18 March 2015

Reviewing a Legendary Restaurant

I was recently reading through the Yelp reviews for French Laundry out of pure amusement and found a couple of gems amongst the goers who are willing to spend $2,000/pp on a dining experience.

"He did not introduce himself as the Sommelier so it was kind of awkward."

"Servers were trained well — on my trip to the bathroom, I noticed that anywhere that I walked towards, servers cleared my path and avoided being in my way."  
"The blackberries tasted a little out-of-season."
"The staff sang "happy birthday" to not one, but two different parties. What is this? TGIFrench Laundry?? I want my $1200 back."
"I hate you French Laundry." 

INTENSE right? And now I really want to go.

17 March 2015

Lá Fheile Pádraig. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Not to be dramatic or anything, but this is how I do Ireland for half the time. The other half is in a pub with Guinness and Parting Glass.

Maritime drama at Dunworley Beach. 2013.

Inhaling the sea and moss.


Favorite rendition of Riverdance >> http://ow.ly/Kt0J9
Favorite Irish song >>  http://ow.ly/Kt0JK (the musicians at the local pub will switch the words to "girl from Kansas City" when I request it... which is just darling)
Second best >> http://ow.ly/Kt162 
Favorite Irish whiskey (hinted by the above) >> tullamoredew.com 
The perfect seaside cottage to stay in whilst in Ireland >> www.airbnb.com/rooms/434412 
Favorite Irish films >> The Quiet Man, Leap Year, A Love Divided, Philomena, and The Secret of Roan Inish
Blog post on Dublin recap >> http://ow.ly/Kt1EU 

14 March 2015


It's explainable why a second-nature thing (blogging) can become tremendously inconvenient or just impossible. I've had so many drafts the the last year that were never published because I simply was unable to convey what I wanted. Now, they're painfully out-of-date.

This year has been a bit intense with things like trips to Hawaii, an awards dinner, dates, film releases, lectures, Museum events for fun, work events (also for fun, of course), happy hours, networking events (there is one every night — should one wish to get their name out there guerrilla-style), fundraisers, ambassadors in town, start-up demos, church things, community groups, art gallery openings, weddings, lunches for work, lunches for fun, pop-up shops, jazz evenings, mellow Mondays, parties, brunches, and there was that ridiculous circus. I have maybe made one omelet at home in the last few weeks and a few pots of coffee. Beyond that, I haven't been at home for anything besides sleeping. Not exactly sustainable, but loads of great fun.

Diplomatic bling from the Australian Ambassador

Matchbook Girls dinner with Kayla, Fallon (author of A Lovely Being), and Megan at Anton's Taproom

Museum Trenches

Seeing Mr. Turner with Fallon at Tivoli Cinemas
At the Young Friends of the Lyric Opera gathering

At Operation Indulgence: Whiskey & Chocolate with Christine

I'm a March baby and I have birthday plans. Dr. David Livingstone is celebrating his 142nd birthday this month (big year!) and so given the proximity of our birth dates, we're going to have a joint dinner.

This is about as much as an update for my one remaining reader (mom?) as I should attempt.

Updates can also be found at these places:
Pinterest >> www.pinterest.com/TheGogglette
Instagram >> instagram.com/TheGogglette
Twitter >> twitter.com/TheGogglette
Facebook >> www.facebook.com/TheGogglette

Here's to a gradual comeback.


01 November 2014

An Idler

After this past work week, I've resolved to being an idler today. I can do nothing else. The creative reserves have been tapped and emptied. My patience became thinner than a membrane. My passion for what I do was zapped after the 100th email.

“PERPETUAL devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. And it is by no means certain that a man’s business is the most important thing that he has to do… Many make a large fortune, who remain underbred and pathetically stupid to the last. And meantime there goes the idler, who began life along with them – by your leave, a different picture. He has had time to take care of his health and spirits; he has been a great deal in the open air.” —Robert Louis Stevenson

How does one recover from burnout by Monday?

27 October 2014

Laterblog: Jack in Kansas City // Tribute to KC

After three years of awesome friendship with this California bro, I finally told her she had to come to me. Aside from wishing I could hook up to perpetual California mode via an IV or permanent living situation or something, the attempts at satiating all my friendship needs was getting costly on the yearly trips to San Jose.

Her four-day velocity tour ended up serving as an impeccable tribute to Kansas City. When you've fallen for a locale bit by bit, it is most commonly the norm to seem like you're over-selling (especially through long-distance communications). So when you bring your favorite people by, you can only just cross your fingers, hoping the experience will deliver your hopes and dreams and that your bestie gets why you love it so much. That's shooting for the stars, right?

Kansas City, you BBQ beast—you went all out. You delivered at all these places:

  • Trivia Night at Westport Flea Market with a great group of smart youths.
  • Boulevard Brewery tour (Thanks to Dane for the free beer flights and great guided tour)
  • My museum (Which was voted #23 greatest Museum in America this year... not to brag or anything. So if you don't have a great experience there, it's not the Museum... it's you, you weird bore).
  • Christopher Elbow chocolatier (1st Fridays of the month, you can get a grab bag of twenty of their best truffles for $10 (half of the price). Incredible deal. Don't forget about it.)
  • Dinner at Le Fou Frog (The French owners from Marseilles will swarm you and make you feel like you cannot live on without their validation).
  • Art galleries at the Crossroads for First Fridays (For superb local art and for running into everyone you've ever met in KC, including the former sassy desk mates)
  • Centennial celebration performance and fireworks at Union Station (Just, wow. It also helps to be able to provide a VIP experience to such a night).
  • Manifesto speakeasy (Way to give every other cocktail place a run for their money, always).
  • Green Lady Lounge (We sat with a dazzling author while we drank whiskey and listened to my friend's jazz band. Have I mentioned KC bleeds jazz from its veins?)
  • Beer Kitchen (sliders with Lora & Andrew. Four kinds of ketchup. Witty repartee).
  • Dancing at The Union (Lots of people rag on The Union, but you get to be anyone you want when you dance and no one judges. That's sufficient for me).
  • Calling the police (City experiences aren't complete without being good Samaritans and calling the chill brave men in blue).
  • Jazz at the Mutual Musicians Foundation (This is where you can experience those Kansas City's veins I was talking about.)
  • Port Fonda (Bloody Mary bar with 20 kinds of hot sauces and a thousand jars of pickled everything)
  • Westport Art Fair (More local art)
  • Broadway Cafe (Best pulled espresso in town with sidewalk seating) 
  • Reflexology massages (We kneaded it)
  • Convertible rides around Mission Hill mansions (Because mansions here cost the same as a ranch house in California) 
  • The Country Club Plaza (Welcome to Spain - our sister city) 
  • Better Cheddar cheese shop (For free cheese tastings and buying up imported goods. The prices are higher, but I don't give edam.) 
  • KC Actors Theatre performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. (Of course we stayed for the talk-back afterwards. We were stark raving sane.)
  • Town Topic Diner with its loaded jukebox (They have Duke Ellington's "Chloe"... I mean really, WHO has that?) 
  • Green Lady Lounge again (Young Man's cocktail and Irish exits away from men who were being gimlets). 
  • Columbus Park (Italian/Vietnamese/hipster neighborhood. It's worth a trip just to see that combination)
  • The farmers market (Produce with your crepes and live musicians?) 
  • The Farmhouse (Brunch Burgers, people.) 
  • Rivermarket Antique Mall 
  • Meet & greet with the Missouri River 
  • Snowcones at Little Freshie 
  • West Side exploring (The GEM neighborhood of the city) 
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (hunting for Matisse) (P.S. What did the artist say to the dentist? Matisse hurt)
  • Jazz in the Loose Park Rose Garden (Random tribute to Louis Armstrong concert. Well, I'm sure they planned it... we just weren't expecting it.)
  • Evening at friend's house around the fire pit with snappy conversation and life lessons.
  • Filling Station for more coffees
  • Oklahoma Joe's BBQ (Life-changing)

I think I'm still recovering from those 5 a.m. bedtimes. 

Way to be jazzy, KC.

Cardamon snow cones at Little Freshie [West Side]

Brunch burgers + benedicts at The Farmhouse [City Market]

I have to say, the greatest thing about Kansas City is that everything is accessible, making a crazy velocity tour like this a possibility. And you can always get a table. You never have to miss out on weekend events. In most other large cities, you have to plan ahead—oftentimes picking and choosing between the attainable areas of the city and just HOPING that transportation and tickets and people come through.

This isn't just me touting the horn of this flyover Midwestern metropolis. Travel + Leisure, Huffington Post, The New York Times, and countless of other publications have rated this city as one of the greatest in America. Travel + Leisure went so bold as to list us as #3. Yeah, New York City is #1. You may do the math.

I mean... 29 years of bad baseball juju also just got wiped away over the span of three magical weeks. Be still my heartland. 

26 October 2014

The Neighborhood

I talk about steaming off to seasidey villages. I watch films set in quaint towns or thriving bustling metropolis neighborhoods (and I long for them). But then, I wake up this morning, throw on some decents and a leashed dog and walk two blocks to McClains Bakery for coffee and a chocolate croissant. They were out of baguettes, but maybe I didn't even want one anyway. On the way back, I run into the Kangas family and, later, the Moore family—all having the same idea in mind. I see my reflection in the glass storefronts as I pass the Betty Tilitson dance studio and the beautiful tailor shop before ending up in front of Swyden's art deco dry cleaning. Mark Trokey's automotive shop is just across the street from that. The only silver-lining with having car troubles with Bertram is that he can safely be deposited two blocks away at Trokeys who can do a damn good job of fixing a car up without breaking your bank. He'll come out of the workshop smoking his pipe and will say all those reassuring things you want to hear (but not before making a joke about how Bertram has a weak heart and might not make it through the night). Next to that (thereabouts) is the beer station where I'll watch the World Cup or have that second casual date. The Irish/American restaurant has its shamrocks and World Series homemade score keeper card taped on the front windows. Did I mention my dentist is right in the thick of it? I can walk my ivories there in two minutes. Everyone's all a little too happy there, but they're the only ones I know who have In the Mood playing in the waiting area or who suggest you watch Seinfeld on the TV up above while they do their thing.

Sure, the Winged Cup cafe shut down a few years back. I was heartbroken. The florist closed a couple of months ago (but let's be real, they weren't the nicest florists. I'd rather our flower keepers be nice or we'll have none at all). The video rental shop bit the dust of course, as they all did. But on the corner of Cherry Street, the old tall spruces may have been cut down but the owners just replanted new baby ones right in the same place. The 1850s farmhouse is still getting its restoration, one room at a time. The artist built that new home at the four stop and even though she seemed offended when I suggested it looked rather Scandinavian only to reveal ten minutes later that she had been inspired by a church in Norway, I think it was the perfect latest addition. She named her dog after Bing Crosby.

Places and spruces will come and go. Homeowners will switch out and about half of them will make poor door paint choices. But pinch me now—I live in a neighborhood that allows for all your needs to be met within its Tudor shade.

I'll still want that seaside experience someday, but meanwhile, I'm just going to open up all these Lantern House windows and listen to the two neighbor jazz pianists on this side of the street serenade the patient waiting process. 

15 October 2014

The Fall: One Part Fantasy, One Part Reality

While everyone else was watching the second act of baseball tonight, I curled up on the loveseat and watched a film that was enthralling. Within moments, my emotions were all tied up in a patterned dance between the reality and fictional weave of The Fall. The little actress charmed my socks off (as did Lee Pace, of course) during the visual journey through lands of India, South Africa, Egypt, the Caribbean, and Machu Picchu, to the moods of the Wizard of Oz, Arabian Nights, and Darjeeling Limited. Incredible work by director Tarsem.

The film brings with it liberation to my imagination-craving mind as it tries to process (and occasionally reject) reality. We have to work twice as hard it seems to bring out the art of creative storytelling and whimsy that life needs in order to process life. Films like these provide that reminder spark. We are so very capable of wondrous topsy-turvy cloud homes and narrow escape from the dragon type-of-stories. Every morning in waking up, I lay there for a few moments, grasping at The End of the lives I lived during a dream. Dreaming is subconscious storytelling. Each night has me touching, feeling, trembling, loving, hating, falling, rushing. I close my eyes and it starts with something that was on my mind. Stars. An ocean. A face. A relationship. A problem takes form. I am me or I become someone watching myself. In dreams, I'm dressed for running up a sideways waterfall. There are faces I've never met and then others that I know all too well who step in quietly, knowing that they belong there. Patterns, colors, words, textures, hats all come together so easily in a subconscious, imaginative mind. Paintings that never dry. Walls that reshape themselves. Clocks that walk. Landscapes you've never seen. Complete body agility. A flag that waves until it runs out of color. Thousands of faceless people who wave all at once, like in an infinity mirror in an elevator. Why do we keep these worlds hidden just when we sleep?

“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of...”

― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa