Monday, December 31, 2012



Wisdom!  Wow!  I made it to the end of the seven qualities recommended by the ancient Hindus and described by Manly Hall in WORDS TO THE WISE.

And every time I look at her, I am amazed. Of course you won't understand the electrical current around her head until I tell you what Manly Hall says in another of his works:  LECTURES ON ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY.

In Chapter 14, he talks about how inadequate words are to describe intuitive knowledge. Science, he says can only deal with the physical world, the subtle world can't be measured by scientific means, nor described using words.

The Ancients developed a way to convey knowledge to those who were being initiated into the Mystery Schools, thus:  The Masters activated a "mysterious electric fluid" as the disciples gathered about him (in our case her).  The hierophant is seated in repose while all around his head this electrical fluid flows out and those who are listening, as pictured in the Samothracian carvings and figures have their hair standing on end "as though caused by a current of electrical energy, in each instance flowing away from the central figure from whom the current emanates."

This current stimulated "certain rational faculties in the inner natures of the disciples." who were then able to sense, feel, or intuitively grasp the knowledge that was being communicated to them without the use of words.

So, my image of the faceless woman representing Wisdom,  has these emanations coming from around her head, radiating knowledge to those who seek it, without words.



Charity?  You say.  How can this image represent "charity"?

Because I adore what Manly Hall says about Charity in WORDS TO THE WISE:  "We must not only give of what we have, but of what we are."

Although some women now have material wealth to give, traditionally women have been able to give only "of what they are."

It seems to me that this gift has too long gone unrecognized.  Whenever a woman spends time, money and energy making herself beautiful for others, that is one of the most precious gifts she can offer.

Hall says later in the another work, "Beauty is a soul quality, and like the soul is visible only in its tincturing effect upon its immediate environment."

And again, "When we love the beautiful as we now love the dollar, we shall have a great and enduring civilization."

I am aware that some women are capable of using their ability to be an incarnation of Venus to manipulate others, but when it is done in the spirit of "charity" of giving, of giving of yourself to whoever has eyes to see, it is certainly a quality to be cultivated.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



"Patience is not only willingness to wait; it is also indifference in a sense, to the time element in accomplishment."  (Manly P. Hall)

And it has been and still is "my life lesson."  When I was just a little thing, I had a great aunt who adored me, and tried to fulfill my every wish.  But she used to shake her head and say, "Sandra, Sandra, you are going to have to learn to wait."

And learn to wait I have.

Frye, my male analyst in Zurich, said of himself, "I may not be the best dream interpreter in Zurich, but I have one quality that always holds me in good stead.  I know how to wait."

And he did.

Somehow, though I think it gets easier with age.  As do most of these seven qualities.

I was showing these watercolors to one of my grandsons, who is himself a photographer and a painter.  When he got to "Detachment,"  he said,  "Detachment, is that a virtue?"

"You'll understand when you get older," I said.

And he willl.

P. S.  Waiting it much easier with a big hat on.

Monday, December 24, 2012



What else does it take except courage for a woman to put on her work day clothes and go out into the world to earn her own living.

When I think it has only been a little over 100 years, after the First World War, that women have even had the opportunity to earn their own living, I am amazed at the strides women have made.

Being smaller in size than most men and certainly unequalled to them in physical strength, women must trust that, indeed, we live in a civilized world where most men have subdued their animal instincts.  That a woman can walk down the street without being accosted.  That she can stand up for herself verbally, without being physically subdued.

Yes, it takes a lot of courage to dress your feminine nature up so that the world, instead of perceiving your vulnerability, will respond to your competence, your skills, your intelligence.

Masculine energy must be civilized in order for women to even conceive such a thing is possible.

As a culture, we have come a long way down that road to civilization.  But, somehow, it feels like we are losing ground these days, with all the shootings. Masculine energy is certainly on a rampage.

Do any of us know what that's all about? Certainly not I.  And does it have anything at all to do with women or the feminine or feminine energy?

Sunday, December 23, 2012



According to Manly Hall's WORDS TO THE WISE, "harmony" is one of the seven requisites of perfection.

"Harmony is the beautifying of action, the invoking of an entirely constructive and cooperative mood.

Fashion seems to me to be almost totally about harmony.  Harmony of colors, of textures, of proportion, etc.

That's why I chose this image of a woman in an Armani suit and hat as the personification of "Harmony."

Doing a watercolor, photographing it, manipulating the image in the software, and then using the computer software to turn it back into a watercolor is a fascinating process.

I never can tell what I'm going to get.   So, when I push the button that says "watercolor," I wait with baited breath to see what happens.

This one was a big surprise and a great success -- except for the white blob on her chin.  I think that appeared because I darkened all her skin except for that blob on her chin.  It was barely noticeable in the image before I turned it into a watercolor.  Now it seems to be the most prominent thing.

Oh, well. all of my watercolors seem to have one flaw.  And my eye goes to it immediately.

Saturday, December 22, 2012



This is the second in a series of watercolors I am going to do of faceless woman to illustrate Manly P. Hall's "Seven Requisites of Perfection," in WORDS TO THE WISE.

These seven requisites are the rules and regulations of personal conduct indispensable to thephilosophis life as described by the initiate philosophers of India.  They are called, in Hindu, the Paramitas.

The last post of the "Woman in Violet" is going to be called "Detachment."

Todays' image, "Woman in Fox Fur" will be "Contemplation."

Here is the same image as a watercolor in BeFunky, but I think parts of it are too washed out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Detachment - Water Color in BeFunky

And here is "The Woman in Violet" turned into a watercolor on BeFunky.

So, we have an original watercolor; a photograph enhanced; and finally the enhanced photograph returned to a watercolor on the computer.

Look at how much lighter this one is, especially in the background.

Two very different images.


Woman in Violet

Here is my -- one of my -- first attempts at using watercolors and PicMonkey (who, by the way, is now charging for "upgrades."  YUCK) to dabble in what is called "fashion illustration."

Of course, I am using ideas from other sources just now.  but making them my own.

I'm still not very fast, more or less still tedious, but it is my hope that with practice I will get better and faster and more spontaneous.

We'll see.  I'm such a dilettante.  Some things hold and some things don't.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

After Reading Vicki Archer's Sense or Sentimentality

What runs our lives?  Reason or Feeling

Enjoyed reading Vicki Archer's "French Essense" this morning where she talks about buying Christmas tree ornaments in Paris and carrying them to London -- with all that entails -- to help her daughter decorate her first Christmas tree in her very own apartment.

She talks about how she told herself over and over, "We have enough ornaments. Don't buy any more."  But she did and then adds:

"Does anyone ever listen to themselves?"

And then answers herself:

"Not me."

This is such a characteristic conversation that women, maybe men, too, have with themselves.

It is my belief that this is "Reason" trying to convince "Feeling."

Most people like to think that reason runs their lives, but some people know better.

I seem to make my decisions based on feeling and then, if I bother at all, go back later and make up a reason for it.

And just think what she would have missed if she had listened to reason.  It is heart warming to read the description of how she and her grown daughter decorated that first Christmas tree, covered in glitter and surrounded by paper and boxes.

Here's the link, read it for yourself.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Pond Near My House

This is what I saw when I drove into Reston Place this afternoon.   A fitting sight for Thanksgiving, and yet another thing to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I am Thankful For

Life is the greatest gift of all.

But without Love, who would want to live.

And Health allows us to enjoy both Life and Love.

Happiness, or more accurately, JOY is the result.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The original title of this image was "Girl with Cigarette," and she wasn't reflecting; she was reading the newspaper in Etam on the rue de Rivoli in Paris.

I was having lunch on the top floor of Etam one day with a point and shoot camera with a 10x zoom when I saw her, reading the newspaper (on her lunch hour, probably), the smoke curling up over her head.

She was exotic looking, with some Negroid features, such as her hair and dark skin, as many French people are.  They are a mixture of so many different ethnic groups that it's hard to name a race that they belong to.

I had a friend from Cali, Colombia once who came to the University to get her master's degree.  On the registration papers where it asked for race, it gave her three choices:  White, Black, Indian.  She marked all three.

But -- back to "Girl with Cigarette."  She was so completely absorbed in her reading that she didn't notice when I took out my camera and pointed it in her direction (she was maybe 12 or 15 feet away).  And so, I captured her for myself for poserity, and I look at her whenever I want to be reminded of this mood of "reflecting" or "reflection."

Like many French working women, she was dressed simply in black with no ostentatious jewelry, hair pulled back in a bun.  But she was striking for some reason.   And I am reminded of some more words used to describe French women on a video of Ines de la Fressange, doing a short presentation for one of the French department stores on dressing "a la Parisienne."  She was interviewing another French woman whose name I didn't get,  but the concepts are the same.

The question was something like, "What is it that makes French women so attractive?" And the words they used were these:  "decontracte," "panache," "nonchalant," and of course the French favorite "chic."

CHIC is probably the most familiar word to English speakers because we have taken it into our language with no change in meaning.  It's short.  It conveys something no other English word conveys.  It fits easily into the English language.

NONCHALANT is, also, used a fair bit by some people, possibly more in writing than in speaking, with its French meaning of "unconcerned" or "indifferent."  It is interesting, however, that the French word "chaleur" means "warmth."  So "nonchalant" would be our equivalent of "cool," emotionally.  Not too eager, or as the young people would say not "in your face."

PANACHE is seen and heard less, except when one is talking about style or decoration, as in the home or in dressing.  The English synonyms are "dash," "flamboyance," or "verve," and usually refer to personal behavior or style.  Interestingly enough, the French meaning is "multi-colored" or "mixed," which was my immediate reaction to the young woman in Etam, and refers literally to a tuft of multi-colored feathers on some fowl, which gives them a striking appearance.

DECONTRACTE, however, caught my attention because I had never heard it used in French until I started reading my fashion blogs in French, where it comes up frequently.  It has no English cognate, however, and sounds, to my ears, a bit harsh.  It means "relaxed," "not up tight," and the French adore it as a compliment.  They use it over and over when refering to a woman who does not give the impression of caring how she looks or of caring what other people think of how she looks.  Her hair is not "done;"  her outfit doesn't "match;" her make-up is "au naturelle."  Nothing about her gives the impression that she spends many hours and many euros taking care of herself and her appearance.

I think "decontracte" is my favorite, maybe because it's new to me, and maybe because it belies the number of skin care products alone that can be purchased in all French pharmacies, one of the reasons I love Paris so much.

My own favorite line of French creams is L'Occitane, though I think you have to go to their boutique or one of the big department stores to get it.  Their "Immortelle" line of face products is made using the essential oil from a flower of that name which grows in Provence.  I used 'Creme Divine' as long as  I could afford it, and I still make a place in my budget for  their 'Brightening Shield' which has SPF 40 in it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"A Child is in the World..."

"A child is in the world not only to become an adult, but also to be a child among men."  Old French Proverb

Monday, November 5, 2012

Watercolor with BeFunky and Soul Images

Watercolor with BeFunky and Soul Images

I've been wanting to do something with my watercolors lately, but I'm too lazy.  So the lazy way to do watercolor for me these days is with BeFunky.

Sometimes, they turn out, and sometimes. they don't.

This is one of my favorites.

I always say,  in order to have a really beautiful image, you have to have three things:

1.  The Subject has to have Soul.

2.  The Photographer has to have Soul.

3.  The Light has to be Sublime.

This photograph of "Lane in My Hat," taken when she was almost ready to deliver Bert has all three.  And making it a watercolor adds something special.

Come to think of it, Bert's being in there adds another dimension.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Leaves

The Ginkos are turning yellow again on Monish Drive.

Drove by Friday, after my lunch at the Waysider to sit on Lee's side porch and look at the Ginko trees.

They are the most beautiful this time of year when they turn all yellow and drop to the ground, covering it in litttle yellow fans.

There is both a male and a female Ginko which make the fruit that ripens and falls in the spring good for making a medicinal herb traditionally used in Chinese Medicine.

I'm not sure what it's for, but there are always some Chinese people who come and gather the fruit when it falls to the ground.

However, it is the leaves that I enjoy the most and this is the time of year when they are the most beautiful.

I can never decide whether they are more beautiful on the trees or on the ground.  Soon I'll have a chance to see them covering the sidewalk and the yard.  Then maybe I can decide.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Living Virtually Again with Vicki Archer and Garance Dore

Lunch at Brio is not quite Tuscany

So, here I am living virtually again.  Before I start with the French blogs though, I want to share this image taken in Birmingham at Brio's in Brookwood Mall this Wednesday.

Harriet and I had lunch there before going to Leeds to visit our 91-year-old aunt before she "goes to her reward."  (That is her phrase for "going to Heaven," which by the way a neurosurgeon has visited while in a coma.  See here.)

Now, back to living virtually.  Vicki Archer of "French Essence" has a great Daily Click today on LaDuree, one of mine and Maha's favorite places in Paris.

La Duree is famous for its macaroons, but for me the atmosphere is the draw.  For a real taste of Paris, see Vicki's Daily Click.

And then, no morning tea would be complete without Garance Dore's fashion blog.  She's in Dallas now, but the Paris blogs are the ones I like best.  This link will take you to one of my favorites.

Finished my second cup of tea, and now it's time to get back to the "real" world and go to the ATT store and see why my iPhone isn't working?!?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lunch at the Waysider with Bear Bryant and Coach Saban

The bust of Bear Bryant which sits on "my" table at the Waysider.

Those of you who know me, know what an unlikely scenario this is, but -- wait -- let me explain:

At least two days a week I have my lunch at the Waysider, a restaurant in Tuscaloosa known for its support of the Alabama Football Team.

It is covered with photographs
of the team, the coaches, etc.  And there is a bust of Bear Bryant and a life sized cardboard statue of Coach Saban.

My favorite table at the Waysider is in a corner, by the restrooms.  It's quiet; it's a bit dark; but from here I can eat my lunch in relative calm and observe the other patrons as they come in.  If it's somebody I know, I can speak without leaving my table.

Well, for some reason, probably lack of space -- there is no more space on the walls to hang a single photograph, and I noticed the tables have been slightly rearranged to add another chair or two -- for some reason, "The Bear" has been placed on my little table for two.  And there he sits, keeping me company on those days I take my lunch there.  Coach Saban, on the other hand, is pointing and screaming something presumably at one of his players.  I don't notice him so much, but occasionally I have to move the sugar and butter around "The Bear" to make room for my lunch.

This is the view from my table into the main dining room.

By the way, Tuesday was Anita's birthday and the flowers and balloons were for her.  Anita and Dean always save me a piece of chocolate pie to finish my meal.  Thanks. ladies, and Happy Birthday, Anita.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Settling Back into my Life at Home

Juggling is a great metaphor for balancing.

I haven't posted in a week, and I want to get something new posted, but I find I haven't had much to say.

Maybe that's because it takes a while to settled back into my life at home.  I have certainly enjoyed doing that, and my life is full of love and engagement, even if it's not quite as exotic as a trip to Paris.

Anyway, this image of a woman juggler reminded me of how important it is to juggle all the elements of a fulfilling life.  It is truly a balancing act.

In Zurich, when I was feeling overwhelmed by doing my analysis and living my life, which was certainly trimmed down to the essentials, my analyst said, "It's like juggling.  You will get to the point where you can do your inner work and keep your outer life going at the same time."

It seemed like an impossible task at the time, but I am happy to say that I think I'm doing it.  Being retired helps, of course, not having to worry about bringing in the money to pay for it.  Having your children raised, also takes a few balls out of the act.  It's really quite a wonderful time of life; and it is almost as easy as it looks in this image of a woman keeping all those balls in the air while looking poised and even a bit unconcerned.  She is juggling all the aspects of her outer world, but she is definitely "somewhere else."  Like a circus act.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Schmuck's the Jewel on rue de Conde

Photo by Sandra Busby

Enhanced in PicMonkey and BeFunky

Photo by Sandra Busby

Enhanced in PicMonkey

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Playing with Paris Pictures in PicMonkey and BeFunky

This is what can be done in PicMonkey with a blah shot taken on a rainy afternoon when the light was flat, somewhere in the sixth arrondissment in Paris in a store window display.

This is the original shot.  The red lazer looking light was caused by a light  caught in the camera.

This was the day it did not rain and I got a rather good shot of this fountain in the Place des Vosges.

This is what happened in PicMonkey.

And this is the watercolor done in Befunky, which I adore.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flower Shops, Fruit Stands, and Salons deThe in Paris

Not much to say here, just a lot of eye candy.

The little tea room pictured, La Fourmi Ailee, is where I had my lunch today. Blanquette de veau, my all time favorite meal in Paris with rice and gravy.

Notre Dame de Paris and the Love Locks

When you cross the river behind the Notre Dame on the Pont Marie, you will see a strange sight. The chain link fence on the bridge is covered with locks (see the photo below).

Martha tells me that all the fences on the bridges look the same: people put locks on the fence vowing eternal commitment to their current love objects. All the spaces are full. And more people want to put a lock on a fence symbolizing their connection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Merci, Merci, au Blvd. Beaumarchais

Martha has been telling me about Merci, the new "in" shop on the Boulevard Beaumarchais since she returned from her trip to Paris last fall. And we had both read about it in Ines de la Fressange's PARISIAN CHIC.

So it was with great anticipation that we finally got to visit Merci together yesterday. Women's clothes and kitchen gadgets were what we saw mostly, though I'm sure there is lots more.

The visual displays were breathtaking as were the prices on the women's clothes. But looking was free and we got permission to take pictures as long as we didn't shoot too close (they don't want you copying their ideas).

In addition, they have recently added a small restaurant, totally vegetarian and totally organic. We both had the carrot and acorn squash soup with fresh whole grain bread, and I also had the risotto with basil and mushrooms.

I Almost Lived in Paris Once on the rue Parc Royale

It was 1994, the year I rented my first apartment in Paris out of Sandra Gustafson's CHEAP SLEEPS IN PARIS. I had a small inheritance, I was not going to be a Jungian analyst -- that had been decided in 1985 -- but I was working in Atlanta and was financially responsible, but I was tired of it.

Anyway being in Paris for a month gave me ideas and so I started looking at studio apartments. The one I came very close to buying was on the rue Parc Royale. It had a little park in front of it and was owned by an airline stewardess who used it for a pied a terre.

The building and the environs were exquisite as you can see from the photos, but it was tiny. The bathroom was like a fold up closet and the kitchen was not much more than a hot plate and a fridge on a shelf.

But I didn't and good thing, too, because then I would have missed all those good years in Tuscaloosa.