Monday, January 29, 2007
The paintings were ALL THE SAME SIZE, that of a big sheet of rice paper, They were mounted and then stuck to the wall, without any glass! It made them wonderful to look at, but we saw one man rest the back of his head right on one as he leaned on the pillar. P said that in a hundred years the museum will wonder where that grease spot came from. Which reminds me of the word "antimacassar."
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Early this Sunday morning the dachshunds caught a feral cat and killed it. We had been feeding that cat for many years; it had always avoided the fenced back yard that we let the dogs into about four times a day. The cat has always been in the front yard before. It was pretty terrible and S got scratched and bitten by the cat as he tried, unsucessfully, to rescue it. Later, Animal Control came to get the cat for rabies testing. Rabies is almost unknown here, but bats still test positive for it, so the testing must be done. Everyone we met today was very professional and helpful, from the Sunday doctor and nurses at Kaiser, to the animal control officer. It makes me thankful to live in an orderly society.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Tonight I met with my writer's group. We had a wonderful time. We learn a lot from thinking seriously about each other's work. And renew our enthusiasm to write more.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Three days old! She was still sleeping most of the time. A quite remarkably tranquil baby. And pretty cute. We sure enjoyed spending a week with her.
Tonight a show based on color movies filmed during World War II is on TV. Justice Frankfurter does not believe a personally-delivered report about the killling of the Jews. I hadn't remembered that. And Eleanor (I love Eleanor, the more I learn about her, the more I love her!) talking about training women for work.
Yesterday the Paris Review came. After George Plimpton died I was quite cross about the changes in the magazine. I liked the old paperback sized format, and just the familiarity of it. No color, nothing fancy. Lots of poems, usually only one from each author. Everything just top rank and guaranteed to be interesting. And the interviews! I loved the interviews! Well, with this issue, I am almost reconciled. There is an interview, an excellent one, with Javier Marias from Spain. There is less poetry, but portfolios from the poets included, which can give a better sense of the poet. The poetry in this issue is a little disappointing, though I like the idea of groups of poems from each poet. The portfolio from Dean Young does not seem like his best work. Translations from a 14th century French poet have a certain antiquarian interest, but are not compelling. Matthew Thorburn seems too young somehow, for his poems to have the requisite depth. But the translations from the Chinese on interviews about "The Corpse Walker" and "The Leper" and wonderful stories by Joseph Heller, Gish Jen and T. C. Boyle made up for that this time. And the spectacular, beautiful and terrifying portfolio of color photographs, including foldouts of interiors with paragraphs spoken by the inhabitants, of the huge slum outside Nairobi is completely unlike anything I could have expected from the classic Paris Review. Images re still echoing around inside my head. Now that I have raved about it, I should tell you that it is Issue 179, Winter, 2006. Should be available at a bookstore now. Good night.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Tonight we watched a 2002 documentary on Elie Wiesel. Narrated excerpts from Night were interspersed with Wiesel interview segments and photos and film clips. It was riveting, Near the end he talks about the bar mitzvah gift (his grandfather's watch) which he buried in the yard the night before they were to be taken away to Auchwitz. Later, he found it and then put it back. His small home town was the same, the buildings the same, the streets the same, but without Jews. I feel abashed for any of my complaints. My life has been quite easy. Good night.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I got a swell letter from my cousin, Rosie. She wrote it all over the lightcolored spaces on a large calendar photograph. The text went this way and that, according to the space available. It was the best letter I've gotten for a long time, quite long, personal, warm and funny. It made me sorry that email is so easy that it is hard to get a letter this good any more. I love email, don't get me wrong, but , , ,
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Here in San Jose, the freeze continues and all the epilhyllum baskerts are on the floor in the family room. We have water spraying on the lemon tree all night. And we're crossing our fingers. In the last forty years we've lost four other lemon trees. Once this one froze back to the trunk.
Jack Bauer is back on 24 and, in the first hour, has already done some torturing, which seems to be one of his specialties. But, hey! It's just TV. I hope. . .
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Today I went to visit a friend who has recently entered a retirement home. It is a very nice place, very clean. It seems well run. Still, I was glad that I didn't have to live there.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Gerald Ford has finally been laid to rest. Twenty-one gun salute, the whole nine yards. A decent human being, by all accounts. I am surprised to feel nostalgic about a Repulican politician. When I saw his college letter M draped near the coffin, it brought tears to my eyes. It also made me wonder whatever happened to my father's letter A from University of Arizona, where he captained the polo team. I went through everything after Mom's death and it never turned up. I do have the A blanket that he got for being the person who came the farthest distance for the Homecoming Game my freshman year at the U. of A. He had come to visit me while he was on a business trip. The blanket is laprobe size and very heavy navy blue wool, almost like felt, with the red A sewed in the center. I keep it in the cedar chest my mother in law brought to her marriage. In the January, 2007 issue of Art in America, which came today, there is a report on the Gwangju Biennale, which many of you may be forgiven for never having heard of. It's a major art show in Korea, with artists selected from many countries. The main prize was given to two artists, one of whom was Korean artist Song Dong. He gave top credit to his mom, Zhao Xiang Yuan, a nice gesture, considering the exhibit is very neatly arranged stacks (and a couple of chests) of all the things she has saved over fifty years while she lived through many terrifying times in Korea. It has given her a deep sense that anything might come in handy. The article called the exhibit, notable in a single small photograph for its neatly arranged stacking, "the biennial's most poignant work." I wish I could see it. Often this kind of art does not appeal to me, but this was different. Good night.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
There is so much space and so many interesting things to see. I want to especially recommend the Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby, Kansas. It has been a couple of years since I was there, but it made a lasting impression on me; I plan to visit it again. Based on the collections of a farming family with plenty of money and big attics the collection ranges from Meissen and art glass to American toys and ephemera. Changing exhibits juxtapose artifiacts of all kinds that begin with letters of the alphabet. I have to congratulate the curators on this idea and its execution. Unexpected associations are a delight, and thought-provoking. This is Samuel Ramey's hometown and there is a very nice exhibit on his life in the opera world. They also have some lovely dolls and other toys. There is such a richness in the collection that they can change the displays quite a bit. The Museum is located just off Highway 70, between exits 53 &54 in Northwest Kansas.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Along the river here the water always looks very green; I am not sure why. It is quite picturesque; local watercolor groups meet here to paint in plein air.
Well, the Saddam execution went poorly and the phone video is already in circulation. I didn't see how they could prevent pictures when there are so many little cameras everywhere. And indeed they did not. It's a black eye for everyone involved.
On a brighter note, the San Francisco people who made a compact (like the Mayflower compact) not to buy anything new this year except food and medicines were happy about the success of the experiment and many plan to continue it. It's a great idea!
This picture was taken from the car on the trip in November. I love the soft muted colors and how far you can see.