Archive for April, 2012


It is a choice

April 30, 2012

We are driving through NYC but we made the conscious choice not to stop. Like the art yesterday, New York
City deserves more than a driveby visit.

Still, as C drive across the GW bridge, I was madly snapping photos of the skyline in the distance, hoping to get a good one. Sigh, here’s one of the better shots…



Look! A cliche!

April 30, 2012

After toll road after toll road and a seeming eternity on the New Jersey Turnpike, we landed in at an Italian place in New Jersey. The bread is fantastic, chewy outside and soft inside.

The restaurant is halfway filled with a loud crowd of nice older Italian speaking men. All of them are wearing cycling clothes.

Stereotypes exist for a reason, not always a good reason but always some reason.

In Texas, I pointed out cows collected around a windmill powered pump (that was when I actually pointed out the window, exclaiming to a dozing C, “Look! A cliche!”). Duh, of course cows will congregate near water. And the silos and farms visible from the freeway were adorable in their iconicness.

It was in Memphis that a cliche annoyed me. I admit I was curious about race tensions. But I didn’t notice anything about that. Despite the fact I held out the credit card, the man checking us in asked every question to C. He deferred to C excessively and didn’t seem to acknowledge my existence. At the restaurant, the maitre d’ courteously held the door open for me but ignored my “two for dinner, may we sit outside?” in favor of greeting C and getting his opinion on dining.

A DC area friend said she finds it annoying when she hands the waiter her credit card, from her purse, and he hands it back to whatever man she is closest to.

I found this in dealing with men only and only when I was with C; women seemed to make fewer assumptions.

To me, the cliche is the men who treat me as though I’m too helpless to be in the real world. To them, I suspect he sees a different cliche.

OMG, this pizza is fantastic. Oh! Gotta go!


On the road again

April 30, 2012

Hey, the light comes on when the car is nearing empty. How did it get so empty when we didn’t drive it in the last few days?

We went 400.4 miles and filled up in Maryland (Laurel). We put in 17.207 gallons. Don’t we have a 20 gallon tank? See it wasn’t that empty. We spent $67.09.

MPG: 23.27


Check out the expression on the tiger’s face.

Oh, and we are going to see the ocean today! The Atlantic!


Check out the expression

April 29, 2012

Check out the expression on the cow’s face:


This painting is the Abduction of Europa by Jean Francoise de Troy. 1716.


Embarrassment of riches

April 29, 2012

In the Smithsonian Art Museum, we walked across the hallway, enchanted by a Rembrant painting of a light house.

Pure genius, poetry in paint; music and motion captured.

But, hey, so were the Serat, Pissaro, Cassatt, Turner… Even Monet’s paintings were pretty good, though I tend to like him less than other painters. (Yes, I recognize the idiotic hubris of calling Monet’s Water Lilies “pretty good”.) Footsore and weary, 5:15pm on Sunday of an epic museum weekend, we drifted quickly around the school of Rembrant room and didn’t bother going to the non-named 17th century Dutch painters room.

We’ve seen enough today.

Does collecting works of genius together diminish them? If the Cantor Center (small, free museum on Stanford campus) had one of these rooms, we’d be absorbed and thrilled for hours. But now? Enh. I’ve been in an avalanche of awesome and now I’m ready to dig out.

These paintings deserve better.

Each of these works of art deserve an audience that came for specifically to see it, not a drifter wandering aimlessly, cluelessly. Or, worse, a high school student assigned to view it and every other thing in this incredible city.

I’m saddened by my own lack of response.

There is so much to see. And in so many different fields: air and space (science! engineering!), gardens, architecture, art from every angle part of the world. It is like a smorgasbord, millions of dishes created by an army of thousands of chefs competing for a limited space in my heart and mind.

I’m afraid that I’m addicted to the easy sweetness of sugar.

Art can be difficult to understand. The best art is multilayered, far beyond the facile beauty. By having so much of it grouped together, it is hard to spend the time each piece deserves. Some of that goes back to opportunity cost where spending time with this piece means some other site (or sight) is missed. But it is also about exhaustion: when I’m tired I tend to eat junk food, listen to syrupy pop music and like easy art. I’m not proud of that part of myself. The enjoyment is all on the surface and I’d die of nutrition deprivation if that was all I had.

Does having so much art together shortchange it all?

I want to appreciate the more difficult (thought-provoking, interesting, challenging) art but, with such high volume, that is outside my reach. There is too much. Too much. TOO MUCH. I can’t even see it all let alone give it the attention it deserves. I spent most of the time viewing art I’d already seen in books (wow! look they have something I’m familiar with; yep, looks like it did in the print, bigger though).

Really great art is partially a reflection of the viewer.

I’m happy that we have good museums near home. My takeaway from this educational experience is the realization that I want to build a relationship with my visual arts. For example, take the gardens we go to a couple of times a year; I like to visit multiple times because the plants grow and change. I can’t afford the art I’d like to own. I don’t live in Washington DC and I’m not likely to move. (Ahahahahaahhaaa!) The Bay Area has some great museums and I already love the approachability of the Cantor Centor. I know I didn’t properly appreciate what I saw today in the National Gallery of Art. I’m a little embarrassed, actually. Luckily, I can go home and do a much better job of loving the incredible art near me now that I put more value in the right place.