Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chihuly Patchouli

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.  
John Updike

A few weeks ago I took a break from my home -- the fraternity house -- and drove north to Dallas to see my long-time friend, Savannah. You might recall her from previous posts. We go way back to the early 80's in Denver where we played softball together  and both worked in the oil bidness.

In April, Vanna had flown up to Green Bay to help my brothers and me empty my mom and dad's house. After that fun, I was eager to visit with her in a less emotional setting. 

When you live with a bunch of men, as I do, it is always a pleasure to have extended time with women friends. Women look at me when I speak and appear to comprehend what comes out of my mouth. They respond.

Always shocks me.

But Vanna and I did more than just chat for hours on end. We did stuff, too. Fort Worth is a very cool city. I'd always heard it called Cow Town, but it wasn't no Cow Town in the museum district. Our first stop was the Kimbell Art Museum to see the touring exhibit The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark. (I like the way that makes me sound like an art snob, which I'm not.)

The Sterling and Francine Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts has many fine impressionist paintings. This tour brought many with them. I do like many other artists, but I'm true to the Impressionists. (I love the books of the era also.) Renoir is my favorite and I wasn't disappointed by what I saw.

I had never seen either of these, but both became favorites. My guess the collector's favorites also?
And this one, by Berthe Morisot. 

But you can only handle so much great art in one day. With an eye to all the museums in this area, we planned a return visit and pondered lunch. We headed to what Fort Worth was really all about way back when - the Stockyards.

We had a fabulous hamburger and a beer.

We got propositioned by a couple of guys to go over and get a room with them here, but, no, Vanna didn't want to.

We ended up here, checking out where they hold the ROOODEEOOO.

You can only have so much fun in one day so after a return to Dallas we got a good night's sleep and spent the next day at the Dallas Arboretum where a Chihuly show was going on.

Who is Chihuly? Yes, I was ignorant enough to have to ask that question. Sounded like some Chilean, Italian, or Chinese guy to me. Neither my arboretum guidebook or the docent standing nearby   overflowed with information. (I did my own research when I got home.)
For those of you as unaware as me - Dale Chihuly is a renowned sculptor of glass. You can find out more here. Turns out he's American - his family long ago emigrated from what was once Czechoslovakia. Chihuly resulted from some Slavic name. I have one of those, too. My maiden name -- Sucha.
At this special exhibit, Chihuly's glass sculptures were installed throughout the botanical gardens. I've never been a huge fan of Murano/Venetian glass art. I'm still not quite certain what I think. How about you?
Pretty. Like the blue. Like the mist.

Bad hair day?

These creeped me out. Sort of like the horns on Cinderella's stepsisters' ball hats.

Colorful. Fun. Odd.

Incredible view. Carnival!

I hate to say, but I liked the real live blooming lilies better. One of my favorites though.

Pretty. Flowing.

What is it with me? Why do I have friends that are petite and 5'2" and I always feel like the Jolly Green Giant standing next to them?

Remember at the end of the first episode of Lonesome Dove? When the nice, young Irish guy is afraid to cross the river on his horse? And then he does? And the mating ball of water moccasins kill him?

Hey, we're in Dallas. Did you think you were gonna get out of here without seeing the Dallas star? (Packers Rule!)

Then, just when I wasn't certain what to think, we came across a series of little houses with artist names attached to them that I understood. Here's the Georges Seurat house. They had a Picasso, Van Gogh, O'Keefe, too. For little kids. And me.

 Monet's bridge in Giverny.

Monet house. That guy standing there? I ran out of patience waiting for a clear shot. His children weren't listening to him. He wanted them on the bridge for a picture. Don't you hate that when people don't listen to you?

What would an artistic weekend be without beautiful food? Blueberry souffle anyone?

How about a Bananas Foster souffle? Decadent.
Okay, these photo essays exhaust me. Take me 20 times longer than using my words. Plus, we've arrived at the end of the story. I had to drive home and go back to my house that smells like a bunch of boys live there. In a much better mood though.
Thanks Vanna.

Monday, July 2, 2012

What's On Your Summer Reading List?

I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  
Groucho Marx

I know, I know. It is now July and I'm finally posting  my summer reading list. Goes right along with my total laxness in the blogging world at present. 

Not to say I haven't been productive. I am working on my novel again. And the toilets in my house are clean. So rare to have both of those things run concurrently. 

I have been reading, too, although not as quickly as normal. Here is my stack for the summer. 

The Greater Journey - David McCullough
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies) - Laurie Notaro (More than a giggle and chuckle. Hawhawing from the dock.)
The Tiger's Wife - A Novel - Tea Obreht
Final Payments - Mary Gordon
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents - Julia Alvarez
Suite Francaise - Irene Neverosky
When Everything Changed - The Amazing Journey of American Women 1960 to Present - Gail Collins (a must read for all young women, young men, old men, everyone!)
Close Range - Annie Proulx
Clair de Lune - Jetta Carleton (From rediscovered author of The Moonflower Vine)
Beloved - Toni Morrison (I know - been on my list every summer. Maybe this summer?)
The Lacuna - Barbara Kingsolver (I loved this one.
As Texas Goes...: How the Lonestar State Hijacked the American Agenda - Gail Collins
Below Stairs - Margaret Powell

And from some of my great blogging and writer friends:

Stick a Fork in It - Robin Allen (Out now) PLUS you can get Robin's first book in this culinary adventure spree If You Can't Stand the Heat for FREE on your Kindle right now.

Whipped, Not Beaten - Melissa Westemeier (AKA Green Girl in Wisconsin - mother of three sons so obviously a kindred spirit.)
Being Miss (Blogging friend from England and this book is so well done.)
The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son - William Snyder (Blogging friend) 1600 sold copies needed for a book deal. You can get it now for $3.95 on Kindle.

And for those of you with kids or grandkids, I'm toting this one by my WriterGrrl friend Bernadette Noll Make Stuff Together: 24 Projects to Create as a Family 

Now, as many of you know from your past experience here at this blog, I end up altering my list all summer as I trade books at book club, wander through the library, or just happen to go past that book table at Costco. So it goes in the world of reading.

But, SHARE! What's on your summer reading list?

P.S. Can anyone tell me how to center my header on my blog page?



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