Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Unbound III

The art show I'm in, Unbound III, opened on Friday, 26. July. Himself and I took the new car for the three hour ride to Woodstock, Vermont for the opening reception.

The gallery was in a small house just outside of town.  Each of the four rooms were filled with amazing works. There were large floor sculptures and sculptures on shelves, mobiles, framed pages, and books used in a hundred different ways. The works were amazing enough to stop a librarian from gasping and hitting the floor with a loud thud.

The opening was well attended as Woodstock has a large, vibrant, artist community. At times, it was hard to get into the rooms.

Tents were set up on the lawn with tables for nibbles, fruit, cheese and crackers, wine and soft drinks. Most of the group seemed to know each other. I was able to chat with the gallery owner and another artist from New York. Before the reception ended, first, second, and third prizes were handed out. I didn't win, but was thrilled to be included in the show. The show runs until 7. September 2013.

There are lots of bed and breakfasts in the area, but most required a two night minimum stay. We stayed at a motel on the main road into town. It wasn't fancy, but was clean and quiet.

and had lovely view of the mountains.

Saturday morning, we met Himself's sister and her wife for an amazing  and leisurely breakfast at the Vermont Apple Pie Company.  I had French toast piled high with shredded apples and cinnamon and real Vermont maple syrup. I was too busy eating and gabbing to take pictures. All in all it was a great getaway weekend.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Back Bay Fens

Reflection of the Prudential Tower in the Muddy River
After touring the Gardner, we crossed the street to take a walk in the Back Bay Fens along the Muddy River. The Fens is one of nine green park spaces through the city of Boston. The nine parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead make up the park system known as the Emerald Necklace

I've only visited two of the parks in the chain, The Boston Common and The Public Gardens. This unknown to me gem was vibrant with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. There were also lots of geese roaming the park. Fowl takes on a whole new meaning with geese.

Are there green areas in your city?

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Friday Five

Unbound Vol. III opens today in Woodstock, Vermont as part of Bookstock a literary festival. To celebrate my entry in the art show, five fun facts about Vermont

1. Vermont is the only New England state that doesn't border the Atlantic Ocean.

2. Vermont is the largest U.S. producer of maple syrup. The state tree is the sugar maple.

3. Ben and Jerry's give their ice cream waste to local farmers who feed it to their hogs. The piggies seem to like all the flavors except Oreo Mint.

4. No. 15 of the Acts of 1999: When serving apple pie in Vermont, a "good faith" effort shall be made to serve it with: (a) with a glass of cold milk, (b) with a slice of cheddar cheese, (c) with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

5. The state gets its name from the French vert mont, meaning green mountain

Have you ever been to Vermont?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Art in an Intimate Setting

Yesterday, my friend, Teague and I took a trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. My first visit to the museum was just after the theft of 13 pieces of the collection in 1990. The artwork has never been recovered.

Mrs. Gardner was born into wealth and married into one of old Boston's wealthy families. She and her husband, Jack, traveled widely and to help with the depression after the death of their only child, they collected art. Lots of art. The Gardners had so much art, they needed to build a museum to house it all. In her young adult years abroad, Mrs. Gardner had stayed with a family in Venice who had a palazzo to house their art collection. So, that's what they planned. Sadly, Jack Gardner died suddenly after the architect's drawings were completed so he never saw the dream realized. Mrs. Gardner purchased land in the Back Bay area of Boston known as The Fens across from the Muddy River and an Italianate palace was built.

What makes this four story museum so unique is specified in her will.  None of the artwork was to be moved or labeled. Floor to ceiling, all of the rooms are filled with paintings, furniture, tapestries, objet d'art, correspondence, books, manuscripts, music. Art in most museums are arranged in some sort of logical manner either in a timeline, by genre, location, artists. There isn't an obvious rhyme or reason as to how Mrs. Gardner arranged her collection. Part of the fun of touring her home is to try to figure out the common thread of the art in all the rooms. Sadly, the museum doesn't allow photographs to be taken of the rooms or artwork.

Another beautiful feature of Mrs. Gardner's home is the courtyard protected from the elements by a curved greenhouse roof. The courtyard was in bloom with white and blue hydrangeas in between statues, fountains, and stone walkways. The courtyard is visible from balconies on each floor of the museum and a popular spot to sketch.

Since Mrs. Gardner's will was so specific about how the art was to be displayed, I was curious how the museum could add an addition to the museum. One of the docents told me the museum's lawyers combed Mrs. Gardner's will. Her wishes focused on the interior of the building. Nothing was mentioned about the grounds or a carriage house. Leave it to the lawyers to find a loophole. An attempt was made to save the carriage house, but the building was too old to be saved so the new building took its place. The new addition houses a large auditorium and the Cafe G. The Cafe was filled so we weren't able to eat lunch inside, but the Cafe had a small patio with tables and chairs and a limited menu of sandwiches and soft drinks which was fine for us.

Other than getting lost, stuck in gridlocked traffic due to road construction, and having to wait for a herd of geese to cross the street, it was a perfect day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Hot Dog Day

Today is National Hot Dog Day. Though I prefer a hamburger to a hot dog, I do like Gourmet Jumbo Franks from Omaha Steaks.

Hot dog or hamburger?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Save Your Money

As part of her birthday celebration, The Young One wanted to see Pacific Rim. All her buddies raved about the movie. Told her she had to see it. Apparently, the big draw was the voice actress who voiced the computer Glados from the video game Portal was used to voice the computer in the movie. Me thinks she's been typecast. To me, the movie was a live action version of the anime Gundam Wing (minus the teen angst), Power Rangers, and Japanese monster movies like Godzilla, Mothra, etc.

Giant monsters called Kaiju invade the Earth from a rift deep in the Pacific Ocean. They come ashore  to rid the Earth of vermin (humans). The last hold out is Tokyo. To combat the Kaiju, we build Jäger, giant mechs, mechanized armor powered by two pilots to destroy the monsters. It's a predictable storyline of a reluctant hero, a female rookie who wants to avenge her family, an entitled pilot and his partner, and a commander with a secret. 

There's lots of action, things blowing up (if you can stand your eardrums bursting from you skull), and the heavy scent of testosterone oozing from the screen. Entertaining, but over-hyped unless you're an adolescent male. And the Glados voice wasn't as good as she was in Portal. Save your money and wait for the movie to come out on Pay Per View or Netflix.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Must Be Something To It

We were watching Wreck-It Ralph. In his arcade game, Ralph is the bad guy, but he's tired of being the bad guy. He wants to prove he's a hero so he leaves his game to particpate in other arcade games to earn a hero's medal.

It's a fun movie especially if you're a Gamer. One scene just cracked Himself and me up. Ralph ends up in a candy cane forest where he meets a cheeky little girl.

"Are you a hobo?" she asks Ralph. We both roared with laughter at the same warning Ma gave me for not playing in the woods. I guess mother knows best.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I'm Not Dead Yet

Tired of paying a lot more for the same kind of haircut at the same salon where Himself gets his hair cut, I decided to try one of the chain salons. Man, woman, long hair, short hair, everyone pays the same price.

A pretty girl, rather a young woman ushered me to her station. She asked how I wanted my hair cut. As she worked, we chit chatted, the kind of small talk that goes on in beauty parlors. I must be showing my mileage because  her innocent "So, are you retired?" took me by surprise. I may have crossed a few fields, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Friday Five

1. Himself had complained the air conditioning units were getting too heavy for him to put in and out of the windows especially the large unit that cools the entire main floor. We decided to skip the air conditioning for the season. Afterall, growing up we didn't have air conditioning. How hard could it be to live like pioneers minus the two holer? (I'm not giving up modern plumbing)

2. When there's a breeze, the sun room is pleasant. The weather may be hot and humid, but you don't have to shovel it.

3. There are fans in the bedrooms, and if it is beastly in the sun room, I grab a fan to circulate the air.

4. In the sun room, ice water, ice tea, and Popsicles  have helped to keep me cool while I watch Deep Space 9 on Netflix. Meals have been cold suppers of chicken, pasta salads, and salads. Ink has spent his days in a cabinet in my bedroom.

5. In the middle of the third heatwave, Himself brought up the two smaller air conditioning units. He ordered a portable R2D2 like unit that will take care of the main floor when it arrives in a few days.

How are you keeping cool?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Farewell, Old Friend

You were a faithful workhorse and always reliable. You kept me safe even when you decided to spin doughnuts on Rte 16 during the snowstorm when all the other schools across the state cancelled mid-morning, but the girlies' schools did not. We had a lot of good times like hauling the Flatlander up hills, and she raised her hands and squealed like she was on a rollercoaster. There were some tears and ranting and raving especially after those endless and tedious trips to the Mahket. You were amazing the day you flew down the Pike, and we made the trip to Natick in 30 minutes because Ma had called to say Dad was in the ER and when we got there we found out he was just having a procedure and never bothered to tell Ma. I'll miss the dent you got in the front passenger door because the Eldest whammed the door into an ice encrusted snow mound in the driveway. Your twin parked on Boynton St. had the same dent. The dent added character. We put on a lot of miles on our shuttle runs and after 157,000+ you deserve a rest. Farewell, Old Friend.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - Care Plan Meetings

If your Elder is in a nursing home, every three or four months the facility will hold a Care Plan meeting. The staff ( nurses, physical and occumpational therapists, social worker, etc) that takes care of your Elder meets to discuss the Elder's care and if changes are needed. The meetings are usually 15 minutes or less.

Your Elder's healthcare proxy and other family members are invited to attend. Attendance is not mandatory, but it's a good way for you to get to know those involved in your Elder's care. As your Elder's advocate, you also have the opportunity to voice concerns about treatment, ask questions, or offer insight into personality.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Uncle Manny's Eagle

On the way home from the museum, we stopped at Boston College. I wanted to see up close and personal, the eagle my great-uncle Manny carved. The eagle stands on a plinth in a well-manicured, grass circle outside the BC football stadium.
The eagle was a gift from the Class of 1939. You can read how the eagle came to live at BC here.

The statue looks to be carved from unpolished pink marble. At some point, the wings broke off and have been cemented back on, but the eagle is still is a handsome statue.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blue and White

Another exhibit we took in at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston was New Blue and White. Traditional blue and white patterns from Delft china and Willoware took exciting new forms with contemporary images. We ran through this exhibit when I was on my artist retreat. I'm so glad we had time to savor my favorite color this time around

The concept for Blow Away by Front Design was designed from a computer simulation of what would happen if wind met the design. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Sadly, this exhibit leaves today, hopefully the link above will still work for a virtual glimpse of eye candy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


We were trying to get in to see the Samurai at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as inspiration for Himself before he took his fourth degree black belt test last month, but the timing didn't work out. We finally got our chance yesterday.

The exhibit is stunning with an impressive collection of armour and arms. Elaborately embroidered silk and silver inlays on some of the armour looked more like an haute couture collection than items used in warfare.

I was also struck by the similarity to European Medieval armour. The oni helmet made me think of Vikings. Oni are demons though a protective spirit to one who wears the image. Along one wall was a huge scroll depicting a 13th. century battle Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace. It's story was remarkably simliar to the Bayeaux Tapestry which details William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD. Another suit of armour looked more like a Kachina, a spirit being from the Native American cultures of the Southwest.

The exhibit is on display until 4. August 2013. If you can't make it to Boston to see the exhibit in person, click on the link above to take a virtual tour.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Friday Five

We bit the bullet and are getting a new car. Five things about the new car

1. It's a 2013 Toyota Corolla.

2. The color is Nautical Blue Metallic. Color me blue with happiness.

3. It has a moon roof or sun roof or whatever the window in the roof of the car is called and it opens!

4. It has remote start. I imagine that feature will be glorious on wicked cold or wicked hot days.

5. It has a take me to the moon dashboard, even though I only need to get to the museum or the post office.

If you owned a Toyota what did you think of it?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hidden Benefits

The flowers in the pot and hanging basket don't look too good. I'm not sure if it was the month of rain in June or the hazy, hot and humid weather with the downpour showers we've had every day since July began.

On the other hand, the humidity seems to be doing wonders for my hair. My hair has never felt so soft and no frizz.

What's the weather like outside your window?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Garden Circus

We have a new visitor to the yard. He's quite entertaining and athletic. Can you see him on the trellis? He's a chipmunk, and he performs the most amazing feat to get to the birdfeeder.

On his first attempt, he leaped to the roof of the bird feeder but fell off.  When he scampered away unhurt, I  named him Timex. You know from the old commercials, takes a licking, but keeps on ticking?

Well, a fall from a skyscraper high bird feeder wasn't enough to deter Timex. He quickly figured out he could climb the trellis and leap to the dome shield under the birdfeeder. The dome shield that is supposed to keep squirrels, and I thought, chipmunks from shimmying up the pole to reach the birdfeeder.

From the top of the dome, Timex makes a mighty leap (a good 8 to 10 inches) to the perch. He catches the perch with his front paws and then somersaults so he's sitting on the perch where he can stuff himself to his heart's content with bird seed. When he's sated or something startles him, he makes a leap to the roses which sway under his weight where he can drop to the trellis and then shimmy down the honeysuckle vine. Maybe I should have named him Wallenda.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Oh no! Not Another Cannoli Recipe

Yup, another cannoli recipe. I wanted to bring cannoli  to The Brother's Fourth of July cookout. Didn't want to take a trip into the North End to buy cannoli. Thought of making them, but making the shells seemed too labor intensive. Until I found a recipe from an unlikely source.

I found the recipe at Martha Stewart. Usually, I don't go to Martha for recipes. She's too fussy and foo foo for me. I like quick and easy so was really surprised to see Martha used waffle ice cream cones for the cannoli shell. Brilliant!

I made a test batch. The recipe was really easy though I skipped the part of piping the filling in the cone. The recipe calls for pistachio nuts, but you could substitute any kind of nut you prefer or skip them altogether. I made the cannoli a couple of hours before serving to make sure the cones wouldn't get mushy. They were pretty crisp when the family decided to give the cannoli a try though the leftovers lost a bit in the translation the next day.

Are you a fan of cannoli?

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Friday Five

My car didn't pass inspection, and it looks like it will be cheaper to buy or lease a new one than to repair it. Five things that would be nice to have in a new car.

1. Car colors seem so boring now, white, black or silver. I want a blue one, and not a candy-ass blue, but a deep shade of cobalt blue.

2. Self-parking would be cool to  have.

3. A back-up camera would be nice.

4. A remote start would be deliciously decadent so I could start the car from inside the house on cold days.

5. Remembered seat and mirrors settings so if someone else drives, I don't have to spend time adjusting seat and mirrors.

What are the extras you like in a car?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Dad and Ma
4. July 1943
Today my parents celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When Jupiter Aligns with Mars

Prynne, Coat of Arms
For my Artist in Residence du Jour, I chose The Scarlet Letter VI by Tim Rollins and K.O.S. from the WAM collection as my inspiration. I decided I wanted to alter a copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and use the book as my canvas. I didn't have a copy of the book on my bookshelf and friends and relatives didn't either.

On a search of AbeBooks, a site for used and out of print books, I found a 1970 Penguin Classics version with a cover picture of Elizabeth Freake and her daughter, Mary as Hester Prynne and her daughter, Pearl. The portraits of the Freakes are also in the WAM collection.

After finishing the mixed media piece, I heard of Unbound Vol. III, a juried art show from the Artistree Community Arts Center and Gallery in Woodstock, Vermont. I submitted my piece for consideration. Entering this show was a little out of my comfort zone. I almost talked myself out of entering. I thought my work wouldn't be edgy enough, calligraphy isn't considered fine art, and any number of excuses why I shouldn't submit the work. I was pleased with myself for following though.

Many would say these events were coincidental. Maybe, they are "wyrd", Anglo-Saxon for fate or personal destiny. Either way, I'm pleased to announce my book was accepted into the show. Color me my favorite blue with excitement.

Unbound Vol.III
26. July - 7. September 2013
Artistree Community Arts Center and Gallery
Woodstock, VT

Opening Reception: Friday, 26. July 2013, 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Monday, July 1, 2013

Month of July

Looking for something to do or a way to beat the heat? The Worcester Art Museum is offering free admission during July and August.