Snow, Leaves and Art before Panama

We’ve had a wet year in Maryland, and got more rain last week. In my 11 day turn-around between the Transatlantic and the up-coming Panama transit, I thought I might have enough time to get several chores done around the house, but hadn’t figured in the wet weather, a 2-day volunteer stint, the election, and a family visit. Packing for travel is becoming more of a habit, but it still needed to be done in a bit of a flurry this time.

Thursday was the first dry-enough day to take care of the first tranche of leaf-fall in my yard. At the end of Thursday, most of these leaves ended up in the compost bins in the back yard, but since they were damp, they were not particularly cooperative. Much as I like yardwork (and I do), this could have been more enjoyable.

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Friday, Gary and Cindy reunited with 3 couples in WDC, old friends from younger working days, and we and their friends took an excursion to the Smithsonian. We began our tour at the Air and Space Museum, which lots of visitors, including busloads of school kids, do. Then Cindy and Gary and I went to the art museums across the mall, starting with the beautiful old masters in the National Gallery of Art and moving on to the amazing modern art in the East Wing gallery. Below are Cindy and Gary in the Air and Space, standing in front of mannequins of well-dressed air travelers of earlier times.

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The interesting sculpture below looks like it might be made of paper. (It is resin.) From different angles you see different suggested images, of birds, horses, faces. And the structure has windows through it. From this photo, I see Stonehenge, a gaping-mouthed spook, a giraffe – and Gary, with one arm of the Calder mobile hanging above his head.

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The rooms of the East Wing are organized by date and origin. The works in the room representing European artists after WWII reflected on the destruction, confusion and disarray of their post-war world. Below, Cindy is standing by a sculpture resembling a signpost, but a signpost that is disorganized, incoherent, without direction. In this room it was easy for me to project on the art my present sense of cultural unease.

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Cindy and I both were taken by the painting below by Joaquin Torrez-Garcia, an Uruguayan artist, with its color, rhythm, and balance. It was painted in the late 1940’s. There is a tension in the “containers”, like cells, preventing freedom of thought and movement.

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Last night (Saturday) I took an uneventful flight to Denver. It was cold in WDC, in the 30’s, but mild in Denver, in the 50’s. However, early this morning, a large weather system started dropping a steady, moderate snow that stuck on the lawns and cars but mostly melted on the sidewalk and street. It has been snowing for hours, foggy, slushy, cold, wet, and by dark, freezing slickly. What a fitting prelude to a cruise through the Panama Canal.

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Tonight, in Colorado, we are having family dinner, brought to us by Yvonne and Mike, – ribs and sides. Among family and friends there is much joy and comfort to be taken. And you have to admit, Andi rocks those pink ruffled socks.

Mom and I will be leaving at 7AM for the airport to fly to Miami. We are excited and trying not to drive each other nuts with our pre-trip jitters.

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What is she doing in Colorado??

I have only been in Colorado 24 hours, so there’s not that much to report. It is unseasonably warm here for September: only a few trees here in Lakewood are starting to turn color: Mom’s cacti are blooming again.

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This morning we visited my sister who is recovering from back surgery, and brother-in-law who was babysitter-in-chief of granddaughter, Andi (or Andrea, your choice.) Andi has gorgeous huge hazel eyes and an adorable smile, and at 5 months of age is learning quickly how to use her gifts. And, while getting the hang of that, she’s just starting to sit up and working on crawling. She’s adorable. She’s adored. She also has a death-grip when she gets ahold of a hank of your hair.

 

 

This afternoon I had a much-needed and much-anticipated appointment with my very favorite hairdresser, Kim, of Costcutter’s. Kim is the Best!

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Tomorrow, Mom and I will do some shopping, cooking, mending, and maybe some photo scanning. If the day does not get too hot too soon, we will do some weeding, to get a couple flower beds ready for the winter.

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Mom’s birthday is on September 21st. She will be 94 years young, and has plenty of wisdom to share.