Monday, August 17, 2015


It was a hot and humid day, but we were determined to give ourselves the present of a day with no dishes.  I'm tired of dishes.  Generally, I am not.  It is a piece of my overall being tired of so many things these days.

The sugar numbers and the undiagnosed nose smell put me off my adventurous mood.

However, I managed to eat right. My sugar numbers are off the chart, but I know what I know.

We started by finding the cork screw trail not far from home.  It was too wet for our shoes, but it will be a fine trail, all covered in a woodsy canopy so it will stay cool.  It is a new addition to hiking opportunities, privately owned but accessible.


Then we went up beyond Stephentown and stopped for breakfast at a great little diner all decorated for the West with Indians and cowboys.  It was a bright and good place.  The coffee was good.  I had a burrito.  Elizabeth had a Portobello and egg on English and perhaps I'll try that next time and just skip the muffin. 

This diner was located in a plaza and along side the plaza was a fine little flea market.  We walked around and enjoyed some of the old things.   There were some dollar deals.  I bought a fine little brass like dust bin and brush and a flexible spatula like the ones I bought from Sherry's mom.  I had two of those and one just split in half. 
This one had a fine and untarnished blade but the black handle had been cracked a bit.  When I got home a few minutes of grinding the handle down, smoothing it, and spraying on a coat of black paint did the trick.  I'll love this!

It got too hot and we started toward  the Norman Rockwell Museum

It was $17, a good bit I think.  And it was crowded.  Still, it was fine to see all the painting and other bits there.  A cartoonist was also featured, but I was not so thrilled with that display.

Favorites included:

In Rockwell's time there was a great fear that feminism might take over.  Here a young fellow suffers the barbs of baseball buddies because he is doing child care that day.

Of course, I'd like this one.  It is a fisherman's dream.

Here is a fine depiction of jeering baseball fans.
A baseball classic from America's most beloved folk artist! Entitled "The Dugout", this famous piece was originally published as the cover art for the September 4, 1948 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, and perfectly captures the feeling of being a losing road team in hostile territory. As a franchise on the decline in the late 1940s, the Chicago Cubs were the perfect target for Rockwell's inspired art - little did he know, the Cubs would feel little but dejection for the rest of the 20th century. Forget the curse of the Billygoat...the Cubs may be a victim of Rockwell's hex! 

This is quite a photo of a hero, the way we all wanted to be in the scouts.  Here one carries a girl and her cat to a rowboat as her house is destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.
I did encounter quite a bit of Rockwell as a boy because I always had a subscription to Boy's LIfe and he did the covers to that oversized magazine.  I should have saved all of them   I remember Dick Bull also loved the magazine although he never because a scout.  He was always showing me some article, especially those that had to do with building some camping trick. 
I liked the quilt.

Rockwell had a whole series of Cousin Reginald pieces in which the nerdy guy outsmarts the popular and good looking boy.  Fun.

This Post cover was represented as depicting the process of his work.  First he had some Arlington neighbors pose for a photograph and then he used them in the painting.  He paid $5 a sitting and always insisted that an artist should pay the models something as the modeling was much improved.



There was a lecture, but we did not attend but used that time to see the works with less competition from others.  I did pick up that Rockwell was so pale that as a baby he was called "Snow in the Face" 


Here a young fellow discovers Santa's outfit in a bottom drawer and begins to get the idea.

From this painiting I learned the word, doorkijkje,

Santa's outfit It was particularly important to me because it is exactly the sort of artistic experience I have from my bed, looking out the door at all the many angles in the kitchen and beyond.

We took a bit of a rest on the porch.  It was fairy cool there.  I fell asleep for a bit.

Then we poked around Great Barrington, but it was too hot to be of much comfort.  I heard some fine outdoor music playing the songs I love and doing it quite well.  Elizabeth poked in shops and ended up buying a dress.  I added my Veterans status to get an extra 10% off and had a talk with one of the owners who had been in the Navy.

I went into a gallery

and that might have been interesting except they featured  and this stuff was just terrible.  Much of it was women with only partial faces.  I hated all of it.  It was as if someone one time sloshed and ruined a nice portrait and then decided that the error might be a great artistic technique.  But what do I know.

It was Tax Free weekend in Mass. so we decided to eat a bit out of town to avoid the crowds.  We went to Agean Breeze

for a fine dinner.  Elizabeth had baby lamb chops and I had sardines.  Both came with a greek salad and it was a great meal.  I skipped wine.  The sardines were perfect.  I loved this dish in Portugal and this was very similar.  I also would eat them grilled at the fiestas in Spain, but those were not cleaned and we had to eat around the stomach.  They are a mackerel like fish only much sweeter and blended well with the fine salads.  Many more dishes were on the menu.  I saw wraps but I was not taken with those.  We'll be back;  however, I'll probably have sardines again.

So, it was a fine day.  We had fun.  We had time together and processed a few things. A perfect celebration.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Clark to see Whistler's Mother and the Van Gogh one more time with lectures and brunch

It was a perfectly planned outing. 
As members of the Clark, we were there at 9 and let in to see the Whistler's mother.  I did not really understand there was only one.  Mona Lisa exists in so many varieties.  What would the actual Whistler's Mother be doing at this isolated museum in Williamstown Massachusettes.
But there it was.   This piece that had made so much history.  On load from

The "talk" was really fine.  We learned a good deal.  With the centerpiece were other prints that whistler did to make the money he needed after he sued John Ruskin for libel.

He won a farthing.

And then he had all the lawyers to pay.

I did not expect the subject of some of his prints to be fisherman and wharves.  This one is actually on the wall in the Whistler's Mother painting.

Because I have no sophisticated art skills, I tend to like bits of boats and water and fish.  Then too I like those that have stories around them.  Even Mad Magazine (you know, the one that J. Edgar Hoover sued) was involved.'s+mother+mad+magazine+cover&tbm=isch&

Poor Whistler lost so much to lawyers that he had to hock the painting and for ten years it was with creditors. Then the French bought it and it became the first American Painting to be displayed in the Louvre.

She was a pious and conservative mother.
He was an extravagant and "dandy" sort of fellow.

It must have been hard living together in his studio.

That is how she ended up posing.  His model did not show up.  He wanted her to stand, but after a couple days she got tired. So she sat.  She was sour because these were long sessions and because photography had taught folks not to smile.  It was too hard to hold a smile for those old cameras.

The frame was also probably original and that in itself was exciting.  It was like the frames that Whistler loved, thick and gold.  I liked it.

Some of his prints were in "nocturne" style where things are a bit dark.    Then there were some very colorful Japanese prints.  I was to see these in the Van Gogh exhibit as well.

When Depression hit, Whistler had a better American audience and there was an American Tour of "Whistler's mother" that was very popular.  Before that he had a better French than American or British audience. 
In 1934 there was a postage stamp


We then went to brunch, a buffet of great fruit, thin and crispy bacon, grand sausage, good coffee and some pastry.  I went off the diet for a bluebetty muffin and I did not pay for it.

After the food the lunch included a fine lecture on Van Gogh with slides and lots of information.  He was a letter writer and has 800 letters that survived.  They are on line. Some are collected here

Much of the focus of this exhibit was Van Gogh's love of nature.  I don't respond well to Impressionist painting, but I did like this theme in connection with other writers of the time and before. 

I did like some of the painting. 
"Rain" is so sad.  It was his last.  He had been in and out of mental facilities.  He put a bullet in his brain.

In many ways his life is very sad.  He sold one painting.  Now, here he is being celebrated by people all over the world. He never knew that might happen.

Just as the crowds of people were arriving, we were leaving.  How nice!
I love being a member.  What it cost we have retrieved many times over.  We hardly ever visit without Elizabeth buying something at the gift shop and as members we get 10%.

Also, Elizabeth went once with Ann Marie and they assumed she was part of the family dual.

Finally, we are able to visit for a few hours and then go home without thinking that we had wasted out entry fee.  An art museum to me is like a buffet.  There are many more things to enjoy than is possible to enjoy in one visit. 

Elizabeth spent most of her time in the Van Gogh, but I went in search of my regular favorites.  They are well documented in other visits/posts.

I was introduced to these as new to me.

Bierstadt's Pugent Sound on Pacific Coast.
This was actually on load as a football wager.

The Poacher by DeCamps

Death and the Maidens  Chavannes
I really get this painting. I want to choose just the maidens.  However, there is the old fellow just waiting for me.

Gainsborough's Elizabeth and Thomas Linley

I was really caught by this portrait.  The photo does not do justice to the what the faces were developed. It was stunning.  I'll be adding this one to the favorites I visit each trip.

I liked this one. Another card playing painting.  From 1631 by Dirck Hals

And finally, I spent a bit of time with the little Goya they have and wished I was in the Prado or eating wild pork at El Pardo.  To decorate El Pardo for the king, Goya painted this in 1786 and others that were so celebratory and light.  I love them.  So did Christine from France who toured the museum with me many years ago.

All in all it was a great visit and I can't wait to go again.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I woke up refreshed.  The humira did not seem to bother me or tire me out.  The stomach elusive infection or whatever seemed gone. 
It seemed like a good day to go to the Clark museum.

Elizabeth wanted me gone. She is reading a book and I interrupt with questions and exclamations of frustration.

Well, this is the last Monday that the Clark is closed.
I found that out at the door.
So much for the new smart phone.

So no chance of seeing this painting that has just been verified as Rembrandt

So I walked about Williamstown and poked in some shops.  I did the art galleries.  This was one.  It too was closed.


It had some pieces in the window I could see.

I could see that this did reflect the sort of county scenes I passed in the car.

 This above was a cool sort of use for rocks when they are too big to make card protectors out of them.  Of course, the prices on this "art" at a gift store were outrageous. 

 I used my phone to find a great buffet at Spice Root

But when I got to the Thai place there was no buffet and I was confused.
I had miso soup and some duck with cashews.  it was good.  I tasted the jasmine rice and that was fine later on the blood.

It was only on exiting that I discovered that Spice Root was next door. 

I poked and drove a bit.  I went toward Bennington but was getting too tired to go and find out that the museum there was closed, so I got a good price on gas and used the GPS to take me home a really scenic route.  Wonderful views.  Farms and animals and hills and fields.

Elizabeth was disappointed that I was home so early.

I made up some supper. 
One thing about my own refrigerator.  It is never closed in the same way as these other places.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

To the Clark with Casey

We gave Casey his first taste of the Clark today after a fine meal at Bob's Country Kitchen

Great spot, but hard again to go no carb.  I was not counting today, and it made no difference, but a little exercise got the sugar down to 89.

Casey was positive about the Clark and engaged a good bit of it for a 5 year old.  After a while he got tired, but even then he opted to to for a walk there in the woods before we came home.  With out membership, we were all free.  $3 got us a little earphone and a computer that told about some of the paintings, but I think that Casey is a bit too young for that.
He loved having the digital camera Boppy let him use for the day.  He had a grand time at the pool and late in the woods. 
The large pond behind the Clark is lined with stones.  The water is crystal clear and the colors of the stones fascinated Casey.

In the woods Casey took this abstract shot of a decaying log.  Pretty cool

That attraction on the bridge was a spider.

Here is Casey's drink at the Clark 

Casey loves tractors and heavy equipment.  We passed this back hoe doing road work  and he took this shot.


He especially engaged one silver piece.  He wanted a postcard, but there were none.  Howe ver, there was a picture on line that pretty much is the piece or one very much like it made by Sterling Silver Cream Jug by Peter & Anne Bateman - Antique Georgian

Here are some photos I took of the walk in the woods.



At Ioka Valley Farm we hoped to see animals and get some pancakes, but they only open on weekends.  No one was home, so we stopped long enough on the way back to photograph the cows.  Casey walked up to the fence and all these young cows galloped over to him, so He got some interesting shots.

We were afraid they might break through the fence and tample him. 
But they did not, and he got some photos.

He caught this shot through the window of the car

At home he fished while I bailed the boat.  It was too cold for him to swim.  I thought it was fine, but the bailing was enough for me.  No bites. 
Then we watched a cartoon movie, The Nut Job

It was a good movie.  Plenty of action.  And the violence was of the old cartoon sort where no one was actually hurt.

Elizabeth cooked chicken and rice and summer squash with green beans.  I was very hungry and I guess I overate. 


71st Birthday visit

NOTE:  At the end of this post it seems sometimes to repeat itself.  I can't quite figure how to get that out of the post.  My intentio...