October 15, 2011

The Duchess of Alba and Sunnyside Avenue

What business do I have thinking about the Duchess of Alba’s recent marriage, at a time when I am preparing for my next exhibition; at a time when my father is experiencing serious health problems, and when I myself have to go through regular sessions of acupuncture, massage, and physiotherapy due to overworking my shoulders, and finally, at a time when I still have to expand my energy on finding a new place to live? Not to mention, there are the everyday chores. What exactly concerns me about her diamonds and pearls while I’m cooking my carrot soup?

My friends are to blame for this, one of whom is only a few years younger than the Duchess herself. These friends allowed themselves to call her...well, let’s draw the veil of modesty over what they actually said. Where is female solidarity and other necessary attributes of feminism? How come Georgia O’Keefe and her young potter were adorable, and the Duchess and her civil servant are embarrassing?

Yes, perhaps the Duchess isn’t exactly young, but she didn’t rob the cradle. And, prior to her marriage, she made her will public, so that the relatives wouldn’t get up in arms about the billion dollar fortune ending up in the hands of Alfonso.

Six children, and only a third marriage. If I were in her place, I really would have picked someone younger.

I suspect that our wishes diminish as they come true, like in Balzac’s novel, The Magic Skin. There might be less of them, or perhaps they just not as significant. If the Duchess - even despite the pressure from Spain’s monarch, King Juan Carlon, not to remarry – still decided to take this young man’s hand in marriage, then I will cast some rose petals into the air in her honour.

And then, we must not forget how important it is to have a companion in life, regardless of one’s age. To have a shoulder to cry on; to have someone who won’t mind the false teeth on the bedside table. Not a friend, not a relative, not a grandchild, but a soul mate, as it were, with whom to dance to the slow songs, or just relax in silence.

Having seen the Duchess go for it at her wedding, I wonder – what excuse could you have to idly sit around?

Here are a few photos that capture my week. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.


  1. I say: "Good for the Duchesse!" and "good for you, Olga!" for taking such amazing pictures. I love, love, love the old suitcases and that cute little squirrel about to cross Sunnyside Avenue. Bon weekend to you too! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  2. Great pictures. I especilly love the squirrel, a very photogenic little feellow.

  3. Värikästä ja Kaunista kuvausta.
    Meidän oravat ovat myös erikoistuneet tien ylitykseen sähköjohtoa pitkin - korkeuksissa...!
    On turvallista...?
    En ole onnistunut ylitystä kuvaamaan.
    Hienojen syksy-värien myötä - Hyvää Syksyä...!

  4. everyone has a right to happiness, hopefully this happiness will be true!

  5. Tu as raison, Olga, il faut choisir quelqu'un de plus jeune, pour rester soi-même plus jeune. Mais le bonheur, on le prend où il se trouve. Comme pour ce petit écureuil qui a, semble-t-il, une idée bien précise derrière la tête.
    Bon dimanche, Olga!

  6. Cayetana always had her own mind, no Kings are match for an Alba :-)

  7. Love these pics - and I´m a believer in "Live and let live", meaning that I don´t think that much in this world is wrong as long as you don´t hurt anyone else. Seems like she´s enjoying herself. :-)

  8. Are those your cases packed and ready to go? Great images as always.
    Least said about marriage the beter as far as I'm concerned.

  9. It is good to remind people we all have our own trials and tribulations in our personal lives, most of what is not seen and is unknown, Sometimes to succeed at all should warrant a round of applause.
    If getting married makes her happy, why not. As for the solidarity, it is fleeting at times isn't it.
    The coolness of fall wraps each picture. Nicely done.

  10. Beautiful flowers you did to the Duchess!
    Much has been criticized this woman to marry a younger man.
    But if it had been the reverse, that an older man marries a young girl, nothing would happen.
    Loneliness is very sad, and this lady was very lonely. She did well to marry and enjoy the time you have left with her ​​husband
    I hope your father has improved.
    a kiss

  11. Great insight with wonderful photos. Sorry to hear about your father. Don't work too hard...make sure your next massage is by someone younger.;) Just kidding. Nice weekend to you! =)

  12. Your photos are so beautiful, Olga! So sorry to hear about your father's illness and the multiple stresses in your life. Maybe your thoughts about the Duchess are a way to think about some of the larger issues of life and get a brief respite from the cares of today. I think the Duchess' story illustrates the importance of love -- wherever and however we find it. My brother, who is a charming, successful doctor, did not marry until he was 58 and then his bride was a 24 year old Thai woman he had met while lecturing at a university in Bangkok. There was a lot of eye-rolling in the family until we had a chance to meet her and realized that she was, indeed, his soulmate: she's a bright, supportive wife who doesn't hesitate to challenge him at times and who is the only person I've ever met who is even more frugal than my brother. It was truly meant to be and has brought them so much happiness. So why not? Good for them and good for the Duchess!

  13. Gorgeous pictures. I came over from Lydia's blog and I'm following you.

  14. So wonderful colors in all pictures

  15. Thanks for the insightful post and these great photos!

  16. What a beautiful set of photos!
    Dear Olga, I'm so sorry to hear your father is having health problems. I hope he gets well fast and that you find a new place to live soon. I know life can be hard but stay strong and think positive.
    As for the Dutchess. Much has been said about her marriage but I think that she was feeling lonely and just wants to enjoy the time she has left the best way she can.

  17. It never rains but it pours.... Life can be a challenge at times. Diverting yourself with diamonds and Duchesses is the ticket to staying calm. The story of the Duchess is a good one to laugh about. Take care of yourself.

  18. I love your sympathetic take on this one. I am always intrigued by this lady as she appears to me to be fascinatingly ugly, but with great spirit.

    I have noted the looks of relatives photographed with her and I think that she has handled things well.

    You are right in that loneliness can be haunting as one ages and as she wished to remarry, no one should have the right to stop her.

    A good post and I wish you well in all the health and home issues that are crowding your life. May they soon ease.

  19. Hiya Olga, I am one of those who see nothing wrong at all with the Duchess & her marriage, and the older woman with younger man scenario.

    Now as for you and your own health problems, and those of your father. Well I shall pray for you both, that the situations improve because without good health it is hard to keep positive about the wonderful things in life.

    I do hope your new exhibition preparations go smoothly too.

  20. I'd say it was a healthy little side trip, its good to let our minds have a vacation from our daily "stuff" and it seems yours has been a bit much lately! The very very blue sky caught my eye, in the squirrel pic.

  21. Fantastic photos, where does all that sunshine come from? They've not all been taken this week, have they?

    Whatever age one does what, is nobody's business. unless, of course, the person who does what is ga-ga.

    The Duchess appears to be having fun, so more power to her elbow. Even if it all ends in tears, his, hers, anybody's, as long as getting to the vale of tears was enjoyable, who cares.

  22. Hi Veronique,
    I could hardly keep myself from buying one of these suitcases :)

    Hi Gillian,
    The squirrel was in the mood to pose. How could I not take advantage of this moment? :)

    Hi Eko,
    Huolimatta siitä, että elämme käytännössä keskellä kaupunkia, Torontossa, oravia on kaikkialla. Kerran yksi heistä joutui meidän asunto, joka järkytti ulos kissa.

    Hi Ola,
    I also hope that the Duchess will be happy and content :)

    Hi Richard,
    J'espère que vous ne pensez pas que j'ai vraiment eu une réflexion au sujet du partenaire étant beaucoup plus jeune - j'étais juste plaisanter. En réalité, je suis marié et très modeste.

  23. Hi Pet,
    Frankly, that's exactly what I thought, looking at her - no King has authority over her :)

    Hi tinajo,
    I have exactly that philosophy. I don't understand why everyone is up in arms about her decision.

    Hi Adrian,
    These suitcases were quite innocently placed in front of a vintage shop :)

    Hi R. Jacob,
    I think that our society has serious issues about aging. At a certain age, people can't afford to do the same as younger people.

    Hi Talli,
    Thank you. The suitcases, especially the blue, appeal to me as well.

  24. Hi Laura M,
    Thank you for the kind words about my dad. It turns out that everyone is concerned about the Duchess's marriage. I think she's very courageous for it.

    Hi Sandy,
    Despite the fact that the shoulders do ache, I can confess that my massage therapist is young, handsome, and muscular. How lucky I am!

    Hi Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    I really do feel under pressure in the last little while. I definitely need a little break. This is a very interesting story about your brother, because in our family, there was a similar story.

    Hi Ciara,
    Thank you. I appreciate that you follow me. I really enjoyed visiting your blog, and I will follow you with much excitement :)

    Hi Fabio,
    Thank you for your kind words about my autumn shots.

  25. Hi Nas Dean,
    Thank you for your comment and for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed my post :)

    Hi Marisa,
    Thank you for the support. Sometimes it's important to hear these words. They add to my mood and strength :)

    Hi Ingrid,
    This expression put a smile on my face, because it's absolutely true. A multitude of events and things to do tend to come at the worst moment.

    Hi aguja,
    This is exactly what I appreciate in her personality - she enjoys the moment and has a good spirit. What else is necessary?

    Hi Dolly,
    Thank you very much for your support. I hope things are going well in college, and that you don't overwork. You can see what it leads to :)

    Hi 1-2Punch,
    The squirrel is the star of this post :)

    Hi Friko,
    I think that it's always important for a person to enjoy the moment. If you always think about what's ahead, you might stop appreciating what is happening now.

  26. I love those photos with the dappled sunlight. I find the play of light like that so fascinating. So sorry things in your life are a bit complicated. I hope you feel better soon!

  27. Wow, I feel dizzy with so much sunshine! These superb photographs are the product of your making the best of the sunlight. I like the contrast of the light and the patterns created by the shadow.

    Your autumn seems to have progressed much faster than mine. To change colors red, leaves need enough sunlight and cold temperature just above freezing point. The ninth photo shows kaleidoscopic changes of colors. Comfortable sunlight makes all the people happy. I hope you could relax and unwind yourself from daily rush even for a while, Olga.

  28. I don't really know about the story of the Duchess...and this slow computer at the library is not allowing me to see your link. Sigh.

    Well, it sounds fascinating! I will have to look it up once I get proper internet access!

    I love these photos, especially the one with vintage luggage. :)

  29. All the best for your next exhibition. I hope you dad gets well an you find your new place to live hassle free and quickly!

  30. Hi Lydia,
    I think that, at some point in our lives, these moments takes place when we need to stop and analyze the situation, and wait till it turns in your favour.

    Hi Yoko,
    I'm glad that, despite the fact that you have your own things to do, you have found some time to read my post and say such encouraging words, which are so necessary to hear at a troubled moment. Thank you for that.

    Hi Jennifer Fabulous,
    If you hadn't commented on this post, I wouldn't have known what to think :) It would be very interesting for me to know what you think of the Duchess's personality.

    Hi BrandNewStudio,
    Thank you very much. I'm glad you like my photos and the way I have presented them.

    Hi Riya,
    Thank you for your visit and your comment. I never thought that buying a house would be such a tricky thing. I will be doing it for the first time, and finding something I like isn't easy at all.