Sunday, November 12, 2017

Autumn's gift

Our little town is beginning to have a nice Autumn feel.  The days are sunny and cool, the nights are clear and cold.  The trees are starting to turn, especially the ginkgoes, Chinese pistaches and liquid ambers, all of which are plentiful in our neighborhood.  This beauty is around the corner and you can see it a block away. I'm leaving on Tuesday so I have to get my fill of all this gorgeous color NOW!  The temperature here was 65º today; in Cuyutlán it was 87º.  I would really like to have another few weeks here to enjoy the cooler days, sit in front of a few fires, eat those yummy cold weather dinners.  But alas, it is not to be.  So palm trees, grilled fish and avocados every day, here we come!

Friday, November 10, 2017

72 hors in the town that never sleeps

Remember the rumor that I was going for a quick visit to New York City?  It was true.  I did go, I had a fabulous time visiting with family and getting somewhat reacquainted with that big, loud, bright, brash city.  I flew from Sacramento to Atlanta, had a SEVEN HOUR delay due to high winds at JFK, and finally dragged into the hotel at 12:30 AM.  Cait was already tucked in so I went directly to bed for what was left of the night.  We stayed on the lower West Side at the Hudson Hotel.  Very funky, perfect location.  It has a very interesting history. Big rooms, big bathrooms, no storage, very dark.  But since it's only for sleeping, who cares!

Wednesday was MOMA day.  Niece Kaley took the train to Grand Central from West Haven, Ct. and g; daughter Emily took the subway down to Columbus Circle from 110th Street and we all gathered in our room before hitting the streets to walk to the museum, about 8 New York City blocks away.  I especially wanted to see this show.

The exhibition considers the many relationships between fashion and functionality, culture, aesthetics, politics, labor, identity, economy, and technology and includes things like Levis 501"s, the hoodie, down jackets, the Little Black Dress, the ubiquitous pearl necklace, the sweat shirt, the white T-shirt, black and white lace up basketball sneaks, plus some utterly outrageous shoes, one pair of which actually belonged to Elton John. Loved the display of the "shift" dress, popularized by Jackie Kennedy and now a staple of many (MY) wardrobes.

shift dresses, all different fabrics but the same basic cut.

In lieu of a little black dress, how about this gorgeous tux by Yves St. Laurent?

Then is was on to the Contemporary galleries.  A Matisse or two, a Rousseau or two, a Van Gogh or two.

Then it was on to see Louise Bourgoise's drawings and sculpture and experience her strange preoccupation with spiders.  This huge installation was kinda creepy.

We sent to the museum's 5th floor light filled cafe for a long lunch, shared all the family news we could think of, and generally had a great reunion.  Cait and Em had not seen Kaley for about 8 years so there was lots of catch-up to take care of.  Then we walked back to the hotel and got ready for the theatre.  We taxi'd down to 45th, had a great group hug and bid Kaley farewell as she had to get back home.  The three of us found a good little French bistro for dinner and then walked over to the theatre to see "Come From Away".   City.  Funny, smart, sad, uplifting ~ everything you want from an evening at the theatre.

Set in Gander, Newfoundland on September 11, 2001, it's the story of how the town of 7,000 takes in and cares for the approximately 7,000 travelers stranded when all air space is closed after the attack on New York.  It seems odd to have a "musical" based on 9/11 but it works wonderfully.

So that was Wednesday.  Now let's move on to Thursday.  It was cold and a bit blustery but we decided to "do" Central Park, especially to search out the Ai Weiwei sculptures that are  throughout the park and the entire city.  We walked over to the east side of the park and entered right at his huge golden cage.

The colors were just beginning to change

We walked for about three hours, admiring the colors, the leaves, the beauty of this amazing oasis in the middle of a very busy, crowded city.  Even though it was a week day, lots of kids, dogs, strollers, sitters.  I think Cait's FitBit recorded that we walked 8 miles.  Then we headed toward someplace to eat, catching sight of this on the way.

The first time I was in New York, in 1975, I rode in one of these carriages just because you must do it at least once!  After a late lunch (to avoid the dinner rush we went back to the hotel, rested a bit, then got ready for another night of fine theatre.  This time it was "Beautiful:  The Carole King Story".

Fabulous performances, wonderful ~ and very familiar ~ music, great seats.  We couldn't get a cab when new got out so we walked home ~ 15 blocks up 6th Avenue.  You would have thought it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon!  The sidewalks were packed with people, Times Square blazing with enough neon to light Belgium for a month.  Back at the hotel we lounged in the bar for a post-peerformance drink while rehashing our day and making plans for Friday.

This was the day for the 9/11 Memorial.  It was sunny and bright, perfect weather to be outside and sightseeing.  We took the subway down to Fulton Avenue and walked over to the museum and memorial pools.  This is a profoundly beautiful place; simple, solemn, quiet, but alive with the sound of falling water.  I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the spaces and the fountain footprints.  The enormity of what happened, the thousands of lives lost, the destruction in the city is there in stark display.

Friday, October 27 was the birthday of Brendan Clark.  The 9/11 Committee puts a white rose at the name of the dead on the day of their birthdays.  It's amazing to look around the edges and see the scattering of white flowers in commemoroation.
I particularly liked this sign.

We did not get into the museum; I had not bought tickets in advance and the lines to get in were around the block.  But in truth I had had enough and needed to take a walk and think about what I had just seen.  We stopped at a great little (actual) hole in the wall for a delicious lunch, did some more walking and then got back on the subway to the hotel to get ready for dinner with Em and Sam and to get our bags packed for an early departure.

We went to the Landmarc Restaurant in the Time Warner building just at the end of our block.  Great table by the window overlooking Columbus Circle and the busy Friday night in the city.  Delicious dinner of mussels in a creamy garlic-y broth, glass of luscious Sancerre, good talk, good company.  Sam is getting ready to go off to Paris for 4 months as part of his Columbia University architecture program.  Em is busy with coding school.  They live up in Harlem with Toni the Dog.  They are happy, busy, eager, and young!

Saturday morning we were out of the hotel at 7, through check-in and security and having coffee by 8:30.  Our flights left at about the same time, me to Seattle/Sacramento, she to Minneapolis/Bozeman.        It's always good to get home and back in one's own bed, but that was one heck of a fine trip.  Now we're all trying to figure out if we can regroup in Paris while Sam's there!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I didn't post while in situ because I didn't take the Air® with me. But as of next Tuesday I will be on the road again, this time to the house in Mexico.  I will post from there!

HAPY BIRTHDAY to dear MSMASSF over at No More Commas Period.  You DO read this, don't you?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

a feel-good, 2-tissue treat

This movie is one of those come-from-behind sagas that I really love.  These girls come from so far behind that you can't even see where it starts, but they beat every odd imaginable and emerge triumphant.  Loved it.  And their dancing is contagious; it was all I could do to stay in my chair!

Cooler here, maybe even some rain tonight.  We need it to wash away the dust of summer in the valley.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

a wink and a smile

This post is not about Harvey Weinstein.

Instead, it's about this pillow I finally found.

Several months ago I saw a photo of this pillow in a magazine without any information about where it came from, etc.  I contacted the editor but heard nothing.  A bit later I saw it again and tried once more to identify it.  I even went on Google and typed in "wink pillow".  Try it; you'll be amazed at what comes up.  But then a couple of weeks ago I saw it yet again, this time on an photo in Instagram.  I tapped on the picture and all the resource names came up.  It's from Urban Outfitters and it's now mine!

Monday, October 9, 2017

a big wind in the valley

While Napa burns, the wind is whipping things up here in the valley, too.  It's been blowing for a couple of days, and while we've missed the close peril of fire, it has made a mess of everything else.  Our pool resembles one seen in Gothic horror movies; dark and covered in rotting leaves and twigs.  Not only is our own birch tree dumping its trash, but our neighbor's huge crepe myrtles are, too.  "Fall" is named that for a good reason.

I finally got around to watched "Fences" a couple of days ago. I couldn't watch it all in one sitting; a whole lot of anger flying off the screen.  I don't know how a cast could summon so much energy night after night for the stage play.  Viola Davis was superb as Rose and her Academy Award was well earned.  The contrast between Troy and his friend Bono was beautifully portrayed.  I guess I liked it, but not to the point of raving.

Today I will wrap up reading James Gould Cozzen's "By Love Possessed."  I read it probably 40 years ago and, after revisiting it now, realize I had no idea what it was about.  Either that or I've just forgotten most everything.  Here's one thing about Cozzens; he knows and uses (correctly) more obscure words than any novelist I've ever read.  This novel is a (long) discourse on love; between families, friends, siblings, colleagues, married couples, youth and age.  He has a lot to say; it's dense and meticulous and I have enjoyed it immensely.  But to read it you have to commit to the long haul (it's 600 pages) and a good dictionary.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

dates from Jordan

These are not Jordanian dates from that Middle  Eastern kingdom.  They are, instead, from the date ranch of Jordan Nelson, one of the four famous J Boys (of Mexican beach fame).  Several years ago he bought land in Northern Mexico ~ I think quite close to the US border near San Diego ~ and planted many, many date palms.  I have watched the progress via his postings on Instagram.  These are from this year's harvest, maybe the first.  They are absolutely delicious.  A diabetic's dream food! I'm hoping he'll bring more down to the beach when he and his family come for their annual Christmas holiday.  If anyone reading this knows Jordan, pass the word!

Monday, October 2, 2017