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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My 5th blog anniversary, a winner, and salons

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Thank you for celebrating five years with me this week. It has been beautiful to contemplate the rewards of blogging, and of knowing you, my friends.

My gift of gratitude
With the help of List Randomizer, I tossed all your pretty avatars from the previous post comments into the bag and came up with a very pretty blogger avatar indeed! Margaret Bednar, I will be painting you a bluebird on a piece of wood (see previous post).This may be a little like sending coals to Newcastle, since you are an artist! Margaret lives in North Carolina, has six gorgeous children, and still has time to create art, write poetry and maintain two art blogs: Art Happens (Painting & Sketching) and Art Happens 365 (photography & poetry)! Margaret, thank you for making this little salon sparkle with your presence.

Speaking of salon. I’d like to ‘splain, since I use the term salon in my comment box. The word sounds either hoi polloi, or hoity toity in the U.S, where the only rooms we call salons are for hair stylists and nails, but we vaguely know about the European salons. To call my blog a salon either sounds like I’m about to give you a virtual shampoo-massage, or that I delude myself by thinking I am a European sophisticate like Mme. Geoffrin on rue St. Honoré. (See Lemonnier's painting of her salon at the right/above, and read a wonderful essay about the history of the European salon at the Oxford University Press site here.)

But the word salon is quite special to me, actually. Until we moved to Istanbul, I hadn’t heard the word used much, except in books located in Europe when friends gathered in them, or as in the art and literary salons in France and other places where artists like Rodin submitted their work (and were sometimes rejected, yes even Rodin). So when we moved to Istanbul in 1985, we learned that the “living room” was called the salon. We bought salon furniture and satin drapes with tulle sheers, in the rather elaborate fashion of Turks, for whom hospitality, and the attitude of welcome at the very least, is one of the most important values. The salon was the room where guests were entertained, and believe me, in Turkey guests are still entertained, or at least they were twenty-five years ago. Whether accompanied by çay and börek in the afternoon with the ladies of the apartment building crocheting and gossiping, or çay, dolma and pastries in the evening with couples or families, it was the center of conversation. We kept track of each other's lives. If we had been better at the language, it might have been something like the salons you read about in Henry James or Edith Wharton novels (well maybe not so fancy) where friends came in from the cold to engage in stimulating discourse. If someone had a particularly skillful touch with delicacies from the kitchen, combined with an ease of hospitality and a gift for encouraging people to talk, and if the çay kept pouring into those little glasses with saucers, then their salon was rarely empty any given week. Friends would travel through the heaviest downpours or ignore wedding invitations to sit and visit in such a salon. (See Michael Naples' beautiful painting, above, of the Turkish çay glass and saucer -- ours were just like that; the tea doesn't have a chance to get cold in those small glasses; when I found his image on Google, I thought it was a photograph; do explore his Daily Paintings.)

I have nothing in my life like a drawing room, parlor, living room, or front porch where guests come regularly to sit and visit together . . . except this salon where my blog friends come. We can cozy up by the wood stove here on the farm and chat, never stiff or formal like Mme. Geoffrin's, I hope (though like her, I receive an education by listening to my guests!), and some days I kinda want it to be more like a saloon! (Yes, same word, anglicized . . . or americanized.)


Western Saloon, by Lee Dubin


Or I'd like to invite you to a warm, festive supper, like this:


Julaftonen (Christmas Eve), by Carl Larsson
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However we drink our beverages here, coffee, tea, Christmas punch, or draft beer from the bar, I love having you come! Or in Turkish: Hoş geldiniz! ("We welcome you with pleasure!" Hoş is pronounced "hosh" -- long "o") Now you say: Hoş bulduk! ("We're happy to be here!")

Now, drink your tea. It'll get cold.


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62 comments:

Susan said...

Your salon is the very first place I come when I'm wandering the big, wide world of blogs. I so enjoy the tea and cakes you serve, and when I'm in need of extra stimulation, the very tasty and smooth coffee as well. You, my dear, are what keeps me coming back to this world. Many blessings be upon you. Hos bulduk! (you'll have to imagine the marks)

George said...

Sorry about that little deletion. The comment was published before I had a chance to correct a couple of nasty typos.

Hos bulduk, indeed! There is no better salon than the one you have created from your Michigan farm. Henry James? Edith Wharton? I dare say that the quality of the thought and conversation on this site and your other blogs equals, if not exceeds, what James and Wharton had to offer. And this, Ruth — it's reassuring to know that you would be as comfortable in a saloon as a salon. A time and place for everything, n'est pas?

Ruth said...

Susie, m'dear, if only you would make the cakes! Pretty please?

:)

I love you being here, sister-friend. We must have lived together in another life.

Ruth said...

George, what are a few little typos in a saloon!? Maybe Mme. Geoffrin wouldn't have allowed them on her list of salon rules, but here on the farm, we like the conversation stimulating and the language free and easy. You and your always thoughtful, grace-laden contributions are welcome and warmly received here, whether I'm in a French salon sort of mood, or a Kitty on Gunsmoke kind of mood. :)

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

The Spanish word for living room is salón so, like you, I prefer my salons with lots of life in them, without the need for the James and Wharton fancy stuff. I appreciate your reflections on Istanbul and the importance attached in everyday life to warm conversation and hospitality. It echoes and deepens the impression I got on my visits there.

And when it comes to warm inviting conversation, I wholeheartedly agree with George, that it would be hard to beat your synch-ro-ni-zing salon.

Babs-beetle said...

It's wonderful having tea with you ;)

Shame the bluebird of happiness is winging it's way some place other than England, but congratulations to Margaret.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, for an American like me, growing up a bit after the parlor culture here, learning the customs in Turkey were very appealing, and also a little daunting. I remember my language tutor Serpil telling me when my neighbor brought over a bowl of aşure -- Noah's pudding -- that I must not return the bowl empty. It seems obvious now, but in my late 20s, I was not accustomed to that obligatory courtesy. I know that sounds a bit oxymoronic, and truly that is something of the contradiction I felt.

Thank you for being so kind, and for your always stimulating and thoughtful presence in this virtual room of mine.

Ruth said...

Babs, and I'm delighted you are here. :)

Yes it's a shame since you wanted the birdie, so I promise that when we meet on your side of the pond or mine, in one of our comfy cozy schpots, I will hand deliver one of your own. (And I hope you will let me have something of your artwork too.)

Pat said...

I love visiting your virtual salon; it is soothing to my soul. I enjoyed all the paintings you posted today!

Sorry I didn't get in on the contest...I've been busy and have to catch up on reading posts!

Ruth said...

Pat, I love you visiting it too. And I love riding in your traveling salon. I'm sorry you missed the contest too, but I understand, because I've been busy too and have not been visiting my friends' salons as I would like!

Jean Spitzer said...

Cozy and welcoming; very nicely explained.

Char said...

pardon my southern - i'm awful at foreign languages because of my accent. so...i'm happy to be here!

i've always longed for a french salon, with lots of art, reading of new works, and sipping of wine or other beverages. maybe an amour or two. *wink*

your salon is always the coziest.

Jeanie said...

I love the idea of having a "salon" online. I think of salon as being regular, ongoing -- being "at home" for guests -- and that's exactly what this does! It's a perfect way to describe it -- and I certainly love dropping in on you for the good conversation and marvelous things I learn when I visit!

Maureen said...

The closest I came to a non-virtual salon was in college, where every day from 4 to 6 demitasse was served. Sometimes a pianist would take to the keys, or a poet would declaim. All very civilized. The college is marking 150 years this year; the last time I visited a decade ago, the demitasse was still being served but alas, without the ladies we used to call "white angels".

I'm a relative newcomer to your wonderful site and always find something delectable here.

Ann said...

May be I dress up as a fine lady and you serve a cup of tea in that dainty tea cup.

Congrats, I always enjoy your post since I satrted blogging about 2 years ago.

Margaret Bednar said...

I AM SO THRILLED! I have to know when did you draw my name? Yesterday around lunchtime "ish", my son and I were coming back from a walk (pictures posted on my blog). Well, we were just at our door and on the speed sign in front of our house was what I think is a blue bird... I will post a photo of this little guy tomorrow -- orange belly, very blue and a very serious stare. And I thought of you!! I love it .. maybe he was telling me I WON? I am so thrilled and I am not really an artist yet... "in-training" I think of myself. Oh, and I have a new blog (!!) margaretbednar-blackandwhite (for my creative writing stuff) It's on my sidebar.

Thank you! I am so so so thrilled. Before I clicked onto your blog to see the winner I said "It won't be me...) Well, I should have listened to that little blue bird yesterday.

Now, I have to go and finish reading your post.

deb said...

Congrats to you Margaret ~ I can't be too disappointed since I didn't officially enter, but still. :)

I completely hear you on the salon ambience,
I called my blog talk at the table which represents many things, among them of course the gathering and sharing and breaking of bread that happens so often in my home. That I would love to happen more. I believe in community and connections and coming together of . ( and the fact that we were discouraged from talking at the table when I was younger)

off to a basketball tournament. not my first choice of gathering , but what's a mama to do.

Dan Gurney said...

I must say, I feel welcome here and very fortunate to have found this salon! A number of salons have sprouted up in the bloggy world and I find that most encouraging.

That said, I also am grateful for the many real-time-and-place-flesh-and-blood salons here in Sebastopol, California where I live.

One group of many, the Society of Friends of the Buddha, meets here in my house twice a month over tea. These meetings are most encouraging, too. May fellowship, hospitality, and connection prosper and spread around the world!

Peter said...

Too bad... I will not get the bluebird! :-)

Yes, we still use the word "salon" here for the living room. Of course, in general, the present "salons" have nothing to do with the "salons" you refer to. :-)

Happy to see the Carl Larsson salon here. You know, his home is still there and can be visited as it was. Kept by the family and open for visitors.

Vagabonde said...

I enjoyed your salon post and your blog is truly a “salon” as they had in Paris in the olden days where friends gathered and exchanged ideas on many cultural and artistic topics. For me salon is not a sophisticate word though. We lived in Paris in a 3 room apartment until I was 10 years old, there was une cuisine (kitchen) les toilettes, la salle de bain (bathroom) la chamber à coucher (bedroom) et le salon (living room.) There was no room for me, so I slept in “le salon.” I slept on the sofa, which opened up, so the salon was my room. Here in the south I like their way of calling the salon “parlor.” I think if must come from the French “parler” which means “to speak.” So we call our living room “the parlor” now and have furnished it with antiques we gathered at auctions from old southern plantations.
Now, about your Mary Cassatt tea painting – this is synchronicity because in my post of last week called “a silver spoon from Duke Visconti” (http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2011/01/recollection-silver-spoon-from-duke.html) I posted several paintings of ladies drinking tea and I had the same one as yours. In France we say “les grands esprits se rencontrent” (great spirit minds are meeting) when two people do the same thing. I know you have a great spirit but I am not sure about mine, although I do have a lot of spirits here like Grand Marnier and Remy Martin! (lol.)

Barb said...

Hoş bulduk! It's always a pleasure to listen to the conversation here, Ruth - at your salon/saloon!

Terresa said...

Warm, festive, that's you and this space in a nutshell. My mind still reels at 5 years of blogging, what a feat that is, Ruth! Hope you feel warmly surrounded by support and friendship, far and wide.

Gwei Mui said...

Five years wow. What a treat to sit and sip a cup of somehting in a Salon. Here's to you and may the next five years be as enjoyable and as rich as your first five.

健康幸福最好祝愿

Health Happiness & Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

52909.....58384

Sidney said...

Congrats for your 5th blog anniversary ! Keep going. You have a jewel of a blog !

The Solitary Walker said...

Myself, I'm keen on the virtual shampoo-massage idea :)

ds said...

Everything you serve here is wonderful, Ruth! We are so lucky that you opened your salon/saloon/salón. (I thought that first painting was a photograph, too. What a marvelous job he did!)Hoş Bulduk!!

P.S. see what happens when you teach someone how to use character map? It becomes an obsession ;)

Tess Kincaid said...

Happy Blogoversary! I raise my cup in a toast to many more years of lovely blogging. xx

Julie said...

Happy Blog Anniversary! And congratulations to Margaret. A bluebird on wood is a lovely idea.

I enjoy your salon. It is cozy, warm, inviting, and always interesting. Be sure to celebrate all week long:)

Oliag said...

Salon, saloon,or supper I am happy to join you in what is always a wonderful conversation.

I enjoyed visiting Michael Napel's blog...I love his realistic paintings of ordinary items....taking a photo a day is challenging enough I can't imaging painting a picture a day!

who said...

Hoş bulduk!

and congratulations Ruth, you place is by far one of my favorite places to visit and read (and NOT just because my IP isn't banned here) :)

Dutchbaby said...

Darn, I would have loved to have placed my tulips into your bag for a chance to win the bluebird. I've been laid up with the stomach flu (or "stomach flute" as my daughter used to say when she was little) for the past few days - a gift from my son.

Congratulations on your five-year anniversary - I am thrilled that you were voted "Blog of Note" and that I found your warm, welcoming salon as a result.

I would like to step into Carl Larsson's salon with the warm candlelight and the rich aromas of the smörgåsbord. I'd also like to finger those beautiful lace tablecloths.

The table you set in your salon is every bit as inviting and I appreciate being part of this community.

Hoş bulduk!

Ruth said...

Jean, I'm glad you feel welcome and cozy here.

Ruth said...

Char, oui, oui, wink, wink.

There is something so alluring about gathering with people who are smarter than I am, and gaining an education. It's amazing to read about the history of salons, and how the great philosophers, historians, artists and musicians were introduced and promoted in them. And I, for one, always fall in love with someone smarter than me. ;)

Ruth said...

Jeanie, so glad, and I love dropping in on your always homey gypsy-den. By the way, I think you would make a good gypsy for Halloween. Ever considered it? I'm serious.

Thank you, my friend.

Babs-beetle said...

I am most honoured that you would want something of my artwork, but of course I would paint you something ;)

I hope you do make it over here one day. What a day it would be!

Ruth said...

Maureen, oh that sounds perfectly lovely. I wonder what college . . . For a few years I offered English Teas in my department and invited professors to come and talk. I interviewed them a la James Lipton, and then the students chatted with them. It was grand.

Thank you for your kind presence, and for your glorious blog.

Ruth said...

Ann, maybe we should all dress up like the lady in the pink dress and put our pinkies up when we drink our tea. :)

Thank you so much, you are kind, and I always enjoy reading your stories about New Zealand.

Ruth said...

Margaret, it is a STUNNING synchronicity that you were visited by a bluebird (yes it is a male bluebird I see at your post) at around the time I was drawing your name!! I will keep these mysteries in my mind and heart as I paint yours this weekend. And maybe, I will choose one of the poses you caught on your camera . . .

I was delighted when your name was chosen!

Ruth said...

Dear Deb, I do feel that widespread openness at Talk at the Table, that all-inclusive welcome to conversation after being inspired by your words, ideas and photos.

Oh tournaments. I remember those ... :)

Ruth said...

Dan, I think you know how fortunate you are to get together with friends like that. You make it happen, and it is most commendable. I would so LOVE to meet face-to-face with you and others here. Sometimes I almost can't stand not being able to!

Your walk, your heart, are a beautiful new presence in my blogging experience.

Ruth said...

Peter, when I meet you one day in Paris, I will bring you a bluebird from the farm. :)

When I visited the official Carl Larsson site, I saw that his home has been preserved and is open to the public. Now I have to decide if I want to meet you in Paris, or at Lilla Hyttnäs . . . :)

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, I have no idea how I missed your tea post about the silver spoon! I never miss your posts. I have been a little blog-smacked, and I will chalk it up to the anniversary, the new Rilke blog, and the busy first week of term at the university. I will get to that post post-haste.

I think of you as such a sophisticate, and I realize you have always been one, for you are the best kind: self made. That means it is already there, inside. You must be right about "parlors" being from parler!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Barb! It's been lovely getting to know you the last couple of months.

Ruth said...

Terresa, I do feel warmly surrounded by friends, and that is why, I think, you feel this place is "warm and festive" -- my friends have multiplied that feeling here. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, thank you for your kind visit and blessing. It has been a joy to get to know you and witness your theater life. 健康幸福最好祝愿 to you too!

Ruth said...

Hi, Anonymous...

55717.....56069

Ruth said...

Sidney, thank you! I need to get over and read your urban poverty series . . .

Ruth said...

Robert, It does sound good, if only it would be as marvelous as the real deal. (My stylist does a GREAT shampoo-massage.)

Now what about those nails . . . ?

:)

Ruth said...

Dear DS, you are one fabulous character mapper. :) Actually, that's one of the myriad of things I like about you: your attention to detail.

I so love having you join me here, always. And I love your Window.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the toast, Tess! xx

Ruth said...

Julie, thank you so much! Discovering your writing through Lorenzo meant landing on one of the best treasures of the blog world. You are a constant and vibrant inspiration to me.

Believe me, this has been a week-long celebration. :)

Ruth said...

Oliag, you bring a warm, calming presence to me, here and at Picturing the Year.

Did you see Michael Naples' time lapsed painting video? He condenses two hours into 6 1/2 minutes, of the lemon martini painting. I know, a painting a day!

Jill of All Trades said...

Happy Anniverary. It is fun isn't it. Mine will roll around in June! Congrats.

Ruth said...

Yay, Dusti. :) Hehe.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I did miss your tulips, and so sad, I didn't know you were ill with the stomach flute. Poor thing. I hope your petals are perky now. ;)

Really, you came from Blog of Note? I could swear I've known you for the whole five years, or at least 3 or 4.

Now I'm wondering if you have been to Lilla Hyttnäs? I would not be surprised, not one bit surprised. :)

Ruth said...

Babs, don't get me going, I will get overly eager to come NOW. I have a feeling you, Mo, and I (and Don no doubt) would have a hysterically fun time. I know I don't sound very comical too often here, but just get me started . . . ! You'd better tell me if you ever plan to come to Michigan and we will throw out the full farm welcome. :)

Ruth said...

Jill, really, you too? There aren't too many of us here.

Thanks for your anniversary greeting!

Soul Dipper said...

Ruth, Congratulations on your 5th. Your delightful salon is so full of learning, growth and insight into the art world. Many thanks. Perhaps when my blog is five, there will be even a modicum of the grace you display.

Montag said...

Very beautifully done; salons of wit and coffeehouses of ideas.

I used the word "saloon" Saturday in its older sense, and I did not have the energy to explain that I did not mean a place that served likker in the Old West.

Ginnie said...

I love that Margaret won your 'gift of gratitude,' Ruth, because she's one of our mutual commenters. That's fun. I especially love that you have started tole painting, which I found out after I had prepared my post on Astrid's mother, who was prolific in that art form. Talk about synchronicity.

And just yesterday we were invited to afternoon koffie at a nearby neighbor's apartment here, one floor up. One of the things I learned: after everyone has finished koffie/tea and lekkers (something sweet to eat, like muffins, in our case)...you are then offered a glass of wine. Astrid told me later that this is the tradition. And THAT'S why a morning's or afternoon's koffie can be a couple of hours. How sweet is that!

Dutchbaby said...

No, I've not been to Lilla Hyttnäs. Would love to though. So many places, so little time...