Tapping Into The Zeitgeist #1

I’ve been experiencing a phenomenon lately in which I get interested in something because I see it in a book, movie or just a random photo and then there it is, showing up online or in fashion spreads, etc. I can’t really claim, “I was thinking about that first!” because there is a weird collective conscious, I think, among humans in which we all kind of start grooving on the same stuff at once. It’s hard to say how this happens but it’s probably that “circle of life, we’re all connected” thingy again. You just can’t escape it unless you live in a cave. And that gets lonely.

So here are some of the things I’m thinking about, a lot, and we’ll see how it plays out in the next few weeks.


I started thinking about pergolas because I love the name. I was walking along and the word popped into my head. “Pergola!” It’s one of the best words. I knew they were like arbors but I had to check what they actually look like – thus this drawing. Pergolas are popular in rich people gardens, or should I say grounds, because you can walk under them and stop to whisper about stuff – either gossip or money. In a book I found at the library (Garden Retreats by David & Jeanie Stiles) with directions for how to build a pergola, it said, “The pergola’s visual appeal is the repetition of the roof elements, which create a rhythm of light and dark as you pass under them. It’s charm lies in the fact that it appears to be a strong architectural element with classical details, yet it really serves no purpose except to show off climbing roses or clematis, and therefore might be considered a “folly” by some.” I love things that are there purely for folly, don’t you? Traditionally, pergolas are for walking under but there’s no reason you couldn’t build one over a stone patio for a lovely effect.


I hope you appreciate my handiwork with a marker here! Colored denim is definitely on the rise but the only colors I would consider would be red or pink. I just don’t go for teal jeans. I don’t even wear white jeans. But red or pink jeans are HOT. Also, if you could find them, cigarette pants in pink. What’s that? Cigarette pants are slim-cut pants made popular in the 1950s. They are longer and slimmer cut than capris. Please, do me a favor and burn your capri pants. I was in Target recently with a co-worker and there were two women there shopping the clothing and one of them said, “I told my kids to give me gift certificates for Kohl’s for my birthday because I NEED, NEED, NEED capris.” Really? Don’t you want to be a bit more dignified than that? Anyway, the best example I found online is brought to us by Roberto Cavalli – a pair of jeans that are HOT, HOT, HOT but that few of us commoners can afford. I share them anyway, although I’m not condoning the top. By the way, when I say pink I don’t mean Chadwick’s pink or Liz Claiborne pink. Not bubblegum. Think brighter.


Isn’t he cute? I saw an orange one is a photo in a book – it was in a living room, tucked on a shelf. Although you can’t tell it from the line drawing, this is done in one sheet of molded plastic. I scanned the picture from the book just because I loved how the orange elephant looked… and then two weeks later I saw it featured in a magazine. The store Design Within Reach has them in red and white. One thing that has always baffled me about Design Within Reach is its name. Clearly it’s not really “Within Reach” unless they mean just a few inches away from your fingertips and you can grasp but you won’t be able to grab hold. Everything seems expensive – expensive enough that it’s a store for the well-to-do… but couldn’t they shop at any number of design stores or get the real thing from artists? So then… who is that store for, exactly? I digress. I love this elephant, is what I’m trying to say, but I doubt I will pay $300 for one.



I saw a photo in the magazine Dwell, which we get at home because Keith is a member of the Walker Art Center and got it for free and which I never understand but then I’m not a Dutch designer of wooden toys living in a prefab home, in which a swinging, basket-like pod is suspended over a body of water like a creek or river and a guy is sitting in it wearing a white outfit. I can’t remember if he’s just looking out or reading a book but my first reaction was – I want to do that. I want to read a book (more on which book coming up) while swinging in a pod over a burbling brook. Is that too much to hope for? I think it captures several human longings at once – solitude, the love of water, comfort. Lady Gaga is on to something with her entrance in an egg from a few months ago. We need to retreat and be reborn sometimes. Anyway, this Swingasan chair from Pier 1 is not quite the same as the pod I saw in the photo but it comes close… It requires it’s own stand but if you are handy you could suspend it from a very strong tree in your yard. Maybe you could position a plastic pool below you to get the water effect. Anyway, again, I stumbled across this online after seeing the photo in Dwell… proving that many people in the world are thinking about pod-like swings.


The Great Gatsby is one of the all-time classics. This is my summer to reread it for about the 5th time. I think the country is going to be in a Gatsby mood this summer, maybe because a lot of us know what it feels like to lose right now, or at least feel a bit battered. Which is a good thing. We could use a time of melancholy to balance us out. There has been much talk on the Internet of the next Great Gatsby film adaptation – Baz Luhrmann, 3D, Australia – all thing that make me a bit nervous. How can we put The Great American Novel, written by a Midwesterner no less, into the hands of the man who made Moulin Rouge and loves Nicole Kidman? My suggestion is to skip all that when it comes about and get your dose this summer instead – curl up in your pod swing with the old-fashioned novel version. And, while you’re at it, try to draw the eyes on the original, iconic cover as I’ve attempted to do here. Pretty darn hard! Love that cover? Now you can wear it.

4 thoughts on “Tapping Into The Zeitgeist #1

  1. SOLD! on the pink pants…and maybe after I run my first 5K my legs will look like that too? anything’s possible…

  2. That is awesome! All furniture should be suspended by chains. Actually, I’m imagining a sunny afternoon, a glass of lemonade and the latest Trashy Book enjoyed on this bed. One minute you’re reading Danielle Steele and the next you’re waking up from a half hour nap.

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