Category Archives: Life

Like a Gentle Breeze

Waves

Farewell

I just found out that a friend who has struggled with cancer for the last year and a half died today.  I am very sad.  He was a wonderful person who was intensely private and a deep quiet soul.

You know people always say that the world was a better place when/while someone lived in it; but in this case it was true.  He spent his life making this a place that was better for not only us but our children’s children.  Or, I guess in my case, my cat’s kittens….err even though they’re neutered.

He would have laughed at that.

I  was nice at Thanksgiving and spared him my two puns.  I guess now, I wished I’d have tortured him with them.

Life is precious and short; live, laugh and love to the fullest.

Colorado and then a Snow Storm

Aspen

Aspen

Sorry for the lack of posts.   It seems difficult to get back on track when you’re literally zipping all over the states.  I spent Thanksgiving in San Francisco California where I manged to get a whopper of a cold/flu.

As a result I was down for the count for quite a while and stayed home for another week trying to recover.

I also had a ski trip scheduled for Colorado in the middle of December.  Aspen is gorgeous and I highly recommend it.  Although if you are either recovering from a bad case of the flu, or suffer from asthma or have any problems with breathing you’re in for some interesting times.  All I can say is to make sure you pack an inhaler.

The town was beautiful and very small,  but of course the highlight was the skiing.  I only felt well enough to hit the slopes towards the end of the week but they were amazing.  I traveled with a friend who learned to ski on the trip,  so we stuck to the easier area (Buttermilk Mountain).  You can ski from the top of the mountain to the parking lot.

Whats even better is if you ski Aspen (the gondola in town) you can end your run at Starbucks.  What could be better?

On the flight home we learned that our connecting flight was canceled (right as we were boarding-oh joy).  It took almost 36 hours to arrive back into DC.  All said and done it was worth the trip.

Adventures in Chinatown

Chinatown Eaves

 

Spent the afternoon exploring the Chinatown district of San Francisco today.  It was beautiful and gleaming and decaying and  seedy.   Old next to new, the air reeking of cigarette smoke and the rhythm of mandarin and cantonese ringing.

I wandered in and out of the shops fingering the wonderful silks, laughing at the tacky key chains, and having fun. 

Peking Duck

Peking Duck

Decided to try peking duck for lunch.  Although I am not a huge duck fan, I have to tell you that it was amazing!  They slice it tableside and it’s served with these light as air, steamed bread/pancakes. 

 The slices of the duck are dipped in a hoisin sauce, placed in the bun and some shredded scallions are placed on top.  All you have to do is eat.  the entire idea is that the bun is simply a crispy duck skin delivery vehicle.  It’s delicious but very greasy/fatty so a little goes along way.

Walked along Market Street afterwards and then ducked into a great japanese mochi bakery.  Very tasty but some of the flavors are pretty exotic.  I’ve had a virgin version of a mixed drink that had yazu in it so I am slightly familiar with the taste.  But there were wine and yazu jelly stuffed with perilla (sesame leaves).  the taste was great but the texture was – well foreign.

Just Have a Few Things

to celebrate.  Good times, good friends and comrades who are trudging (and skipping and hopping) this happy road of destiny-together.

For some reason I just wanted to post that I am so grateful to the people I work with and know, to my friends, my family and my loved ones.

Found out my dearest friend got the job of his dreams and it’s so well deserved-it’s a gift (I think) to be able to rejoice in someone else’s accomplishments don’t you think?  Lucky him, lucky me 🙂

Sunset in Virginia

Sunset in Virginia

Life is good. Decided to post my favorite photo of the Alexandria historic district-it was taken at that gorgeous moment of thick syrupy golden light.

This photo always reminds me of Jane Kenyon’s poem, Let Evening Come.

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Paint Made Flesh Show-GO!!

Hyphen, Jenny Saville

I went to the Paint Made Flesh show at the Phillips collection last weekend specifically to see Jenny Saville’s painting Hyphen. What I didn’t realize was how massive this painting was, it was enormous. The paint is thin, the paint is as thick as frosting on a cake.  In several places the thick paint abuts almost sheer canvas with a thick link of paint almost like a curb along a pavement.

If you get close, really close, the painting is almost like an abstract.  The flesh is pink and red with many pink tinged greys.  But stand far away, it reads so beautifully across the room.  It’s glorious.

Ms. Saville was discovered in her late 20s by British collector Saatchi (of the Damon Hirst, shark in Formaldehyde infamy).

I found this image via a google search.  The site, Artknowledgenews.com wrote what looked like a very thorough article about the show.  Unfortunately the site is in Spanish

Lucian Freud, Naked Man, Back View

Lucian Freud, Naked Man, Back View

The biggest delight and surprise for me was seeing my all time favorite Lucien Freud painting, Naked Man, Back View.  It’s of Leigh Bowery and it’s an in your face painting of Leigh from the back. It normally resides in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and this is the painting that led me to love Freud.

The painting measures  72 1/4 x 54 1/8 in. (183.5 x 137.5 cm) and there isn’t a part of it that hasn’t been rendered thoughtfully and beautifully.

I was unable to photograph it this time, or I would have really tried to show the amazing subtleties in the drape and stool that Leigh is sitting on.

Here is a link to an National Public Radio article on the show as well.  If you live in the metro DC area or you plan on being here for the 3-day Labor Day weekend please head over to the Phillip Collection (it’s a museum for those out of town!).

According to their site, the museum will be open Saturday (10am-5pm)  and Sunday (11am-6pm).  There is an entrance fee of $12. a person but they offer a senior, student or military discount of $2.oo off.   If you have any questions you can reach them at 202-387-02151.

If you take the metro to DuPont Circle make sure you leave via Q Street.  Also don’t forget that the crazy people running the metro decided to close it from Regan National Airport to the Pentagon City for reasons that baffle mere humans.  So, for the first time ever I urge you to avoid the metro like the plague if you’re heading into DC on the blue or yellow lines in Virginia.

Another year older, soon…

and hopefully a tad wiser but who knows?

Green Grass

Green Grass

I wanted to wish my evil twin sister the happiest of birthdays as well.  You are the best sister and dearest friend that anyone could be blessed to have or to share.  Knowing you and growing up with you has been bumpy ride but a fun one all the same.  Life is richer with you in it my evil twin sister!

I had the chance to visit the town I grew up in recently.  Its gotten more beautiful in some places and worse for the wear in others.  In spite of the stories of revitalization, I found the neighborhood I grew up in sad and battered.  Looking at the houses where my relatives and friends lived, seeing the lack of pride, the filth and decay was very difficult for me.

I kept thinking oh my god that was Wanda and Jewel’s house, Gus lived there, Emily lived here.  The homes have new owners, renters and occupants.  It looks like they don’t love it like we did.  The yards with the gorgeous irises, gone.  The neighbor with her displays of tulips and roses gone and filled with trash.  My aunts beautiful border of lilies of the valley long gone.

This city is different now and I have to say that I used to entertain fantasies of moving back here.  But after this visit I can’t ever see that happening.

Demolition Derby

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

The first thing I did in my new home was to knock the walls down! Okay it’s just one wall but here are the pics that show the progress so far.

It’s strange to think that the first thing you do upon closing on a house is cause it significant damage to two rooms and a hall, but it was a case of easier to do this now (before I moved in) vice waiting too long.  The walls are old-plaster mixed with horsehair on metal mesh.  My new neighbor told me he removed his plaster and it was absolutely disgusting. Since I have breathing problems,  it was a wiser pay someone else to do this.

The dining room had wainscoting around it’s walls which was probably wonderful when it was added but 80-90 years of paint build up almost obscured and obliterated the actual grooves in the wainscoting.  Since I am not sure whether I will keep the 2-sided fireplace I wanted both rooms to be uniform in appearance.

Curved Hall (pre-demo)

Curved Hall (pre-demo)

The dining room also has a small half-bath tucked underneath the stairs.  The door to the half-bath was a bifold door.  The contractor replaced this door with a small normal door and framed it in beautifully. The hallway party wall had dentil molding, so the contractor removed it and  matched it with the existing crown molding in the living room.

Once all of the construction work was finished, the floors were sanded down and then stained with Minwax gunstock.  If you look close at the floor you can see the color difference between where the wall sat and the rest of the floor but I love it since it looks well weathered.  Most people who have seen it assume the floors haven’t’ been touched but are in fabulous condition-which is what I was hoping for.

Hall Wall Demo-ed

Hall Wall Demo-ed

It took just over two days and 1.5 gallons of ceiling paint to finish the ceilings in both rooms.  I painted them with a diluted mix of Benjamin Moore’s Linen White (at 50%) and painted the walls with Linen White.

I primed the new drywall with tinted primer and then applied two coats of paint the the walls in the living room and the dining room.  The crown moulding and wood trim was painted with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.

I love how the White Linen looks in different lights.  It is a warm pale white that looks like butter was stirred in; at night it gets paler but it’s still pretty.

I will post pictures of the living room and dining room next week once most of the final touches are completed.

So, what do you think? Messy huh?