Tuesday, June 27, 2017


We  took a drive up to the Clark Museum today to see two exhibits.  One was Picasso encounters.  Here is a good review with samples of that:

The other was

On the way we stopped at the Five  Corners for coffee and a sandwich. 

I ate just one bite and a few bites of greens.  My coffee was a vanilla flavored with chocolate powder added.  Very good.  Two cups for $2.55.

Both of the exhibits at the Clark were interesting and enjoyable.  Not earthshaking.  I could not take photographs, but here is what I remember.

Picasso Encounters started with his more conventional painting,  a self portrait, some other portraits.
Then it jumped to the cubism and abstractions.

I did like Portrait of Dora Maar
I would like to read a bit more about her.  She was a major lover in his life.  However, he kept his women in secondary status.  If they became assertive, he dropped them and moved on to someone else. 

I did not like The bullfight drawing.  It was much too abstract for me to find any of the images the little plaque said were there, except for the face of the bull.  The rest seemed just indecipherable.


This included the piano shown in this link:

It is part of the permanent collection and usually housed with the Surrealist paintings upstairs.  We had not noticed it until they put it in the context of the room where it once existed.  The representation of that room was very impressive with restored seats, even to the monogram that someone had removed and the painting that hung in the room, a woman listening to Homer.

There was a very interesting circular table that was made to expand in a very intricate manner.  If the table was spun to the right, it opened areas that could be filled with expanding triangular pieces.  It was quite a process.  Two sets of pieces were available for two different expansions.  The designs were mounted in large drawings on the wall.  A video showed the table being expanded.  It would make a good poker table, the guard told me.  It was his favorite joke.  He told it to everyone.

We sat for a while by the very calming pond of water with hills of green and grazing cows in the background.  The chairs were composite recycled materials and we asked for the company who makes them. 

Amazing chair.  Astounding price.

I had a good nap to catch up again on a sleepless night.
Then we went for the half duck at '06 restaurant.  Another great meal.  They were nice enough to serve us the duck early. A great duck with plenty of garlic spinach and a mixed veggie. 
We got on the road and were home just a bit after 6 PM.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Monday, May 27, 2013

Boston Birthday trip

We had a fine couple days in Boston.  I thought it would be just too short, but it felt just fine, just the right length.  It was to celebrate (again)  Elizabeth's birthday and of course to see Dana and Jen and Dan's new place.
The trip out was a bit boring.  Hard rain obscured most of the good views and made the driving a bit of a drag.  We stopped a lot for bathrooms and McDonald's coffee in order to create the need for more bathrooms. 
We had a fine visit out and arrived as planned at the Kendall Hotel

This was a luxuriant place build in what was once a Firehouse.  It was a museum in itself with plenty of small collections and bits of Firehouse memorabilia.
The suite included full kitchen, living room with fireplace, bathroom with Jacuzzi tub big enough for two, and plenty of interesting antiques.

 Looking over kitchen and living room.

and the kitchen itself


A fine antique desk of bird's eye maple

Every hallway and every corner included interesting antiques and collections

These photos contrast the way women dressed the year my grandfather was born with the way they dressed when he was thirty.

 This particular firehouse was called the Black Sheep of the fire department, so there is this collection and the restaurant is named, Black Sheep

 This in an interesting coffee table made from a piece of firetruck
Here is what my grandfather did for a living, only there were four horses pulling his engine.

We took a walk to the Charles River and a bridge that gave us a fine view of sailboats, rowers in those long thin boats and other craft like


Right across the street from the hotel was this MIT COOP bookstore.

Dana treated us to a birthday dinner at a pretty upscale restaurant called Harvest. 


Along with award winning recipes came restaurant practices that included buying local and sustainable.  Jen ate a filet mignon, Elizabeth and Dana had pork tenderloin.  I ate salmon.  And we had some other tastes in appetizers and asparagus.  With some of the meals came a wine pairing and that was interesting too.  I just had tastes of that.  I had a pea soup that was very creamy.
For dessert there were plenty of interesting tastes, but Jen ordered this award winning chocolate concoction that was really wonderful.  I had a taste. 

The next day we took the T to the Gardiner museum.  The nearby Museum of Fine Arts was free that day and the T was full of folks for that spot and the lines were hours long.  Out line was not so long and while the museum was crowded due to the holiday, it was still a great experience.

I liked an 18th century guitar made by Jacopo Mosca-Cavelli and very similar to this one

I also liked the large painting of Archangel Michael from 1480   with his foot on the satan, keeping the devil from taking souls.

We all seemed to enjoy this large view of gypsy dancers in Southern Spain.  She is older than the dancers I saw in the 60's, but the rest ring true to my memory including the clay water containers set out on the floor to make the scene


I was drawn to some paintings quite different from most of the collections, Morland Summer and Winter shots.

Also, this large depiction of The Tragedy of Lucretia, a 1500 Botticelli, seemed an odd piece to do for a wedding present.


It was amazingly busy and full of action.  And sad.

But what do I know about art?  Not much.  Take this one that caught my attention.  Naked women and boats do seem to grab my attention easily.


I'm sure that Elizabeth's, Dana's and Jen's experiences were very different from mine, but it was fun to visit this place, in part because the rooms themselves were pretty incredible, built to house the collection of Isabelle after her husband died and she was looking for something to occupy her energy.  She did live in this beautiful place.
In the center was a fine inner courtyard with flowers and sculpture and unlike the rooms, plenty of light.  It was covered with a glass ceiling many floors above the peaceful little place.

Many of the rooms had huge fireplaces.  Still it much have been cold there in the winter. 
Wall decorations of tapestry or tile or in one case an entire wall of leatherwork also added to the experience.

We had lunch in the cafĂ© built outside the old house.  The food was very good.  I had a baked trout garnished with odd bits I could not identify but wish I could reproduce at home.  And we had some homemade potato chips as well.

And overall we had a fine visit that was full and not rushed.  We caught up on all the new developments in the lives of Dana and Jen, heard about their work and their hopes for future work.  Jen soon moves much closer to her job with Turbine and that should take some of the pressure of long commutes off her daily routine.

They both seemed good.  Dana's place seem pretty comfortable for a single guy and of course included incredible computer equipment including a garbage can with a computer so that the top opened with no touching.

In between then great meals I had a taste of Indian at Dana's and a drink of a milk stout.  It seems Dana keeps milk as his main drink even when he drinks beer.

Our ride home was much easier than our trip out.  For the most part we had sun.  And even the clouds formed to make fine patterns of cloud and sunlight and fields were enveloped in mist.  We stopped at Salmon Run in Lee for a supper of salmon, mine a buffalo wing like taste and Elizabeth's encrusted with potato. They were packed, but the fellow fit us right in the middle at a little table.  It was lively, but a good bit of fun.

Today we just loaf about and for supper Jay and Judy will stop by.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Hampered by colds and tons of family stuff, we still managed to escape a bit.  Skimming might be of interest to some. 

May/June 2017

I bought a Living Social coupon back while we were in Florida last winter.
It cost $170 for two nights at the 1896 House.  Values included were two breakfasts which we were lucky to be cooked by private chef.  That is usually reserved for the high priced rooms, but occupancy was low.  I had eggs both days to stay on the diet.  Elizabeth had French toast the first day.  Figure $20 value.
In our room was placed a bottle of wine which we could bring to dinner with us.
Value $26 =  It was good.  Canon Road.  California  Cabernet sauvignon  2015
On the market it might sell for closer to $10, but it was the cheapest bottle available in the restaurant, and so had we not brought it, we would have paid for one since all glasses were about $10.

The restaurant coupon was for worth about $20
So we figured we got about $76 in free add ons.  That makes this grand place just about $50 a night total.
The room was much like the old style motel, only upscale.  Our section, Pondside, had decorative wall paper and a fine, fancy look.  Window treatments shut out light if we wanted a nap.  Everything was very clean and well repaired.  Turner Classic Movies was on the television.  The shower had a small tub below it.  The beds were comfortable and we got extra pillows.  Along with a heating thermostat was an air conditioner and a dehumidifier. 
The electricity was a bit sparse, but we managed.  Next trip I need to bring my adapter because the computer was three pronged and the wall receptable only two.  I borrowed the dehumidifier adapter and switched it out.
Shampoo and soap were a bit down scale, but okay. 
Behind us was a small pond and some white ducks.

And an old coach was on display.

We thought with all that was going on in the family just now and these horrendous colds, we would lose our chance to go, but all we needed to do was to push it ahead a day and shorten our schedules a bit and we were fine.
We started about nine in the morning and wandered to Williamstown.  We stopped first for coffee at the 5 corners coffee spot

and had some coffee and half a chocolate chip cookie while we looked over the map.

Their hazelnut coffee was really good.  It was Mountain Grown brand.  They also had cinnamon.  It was much better than the coffee with our breakfasts, and we went back the morning we left for early coffee before breakfast.  We could sit on a very pleasant sunporch and have a taste of a cookie, or a fresh baked scone.  I just had one small bit.  Yum.
Coffee cost just $1.75 and then 80 cents for a refill.
This spot had one of the most interesting rest room distinctions I have seen.  Important here was to let patrons know where the baby changing table was located.

I had not really understood how close Williamstown was to home.  I suppose we tend to go first to Guido's in Pittsfield when we do a day trip, so the ride is longer.
We stopped at the 1896 House, but we could not check in as early as eleven.  So, we went for lunch at the Indian restaurant downtown and then  on to the Clark Museum. 
It was an inexpensive small Indian buffet with some very tasty foods.  The proprietor told me which selections had added sugar.  It still left some fine tastes.  I can eat Indian at the buffets because I get to choose my food, but to go for a meal is difficult because it is mostly bread and rice and sugary dessert.
These colds have been sapping our energy, so we had a short visit at the Clark.
The special exhibit features some fine Dutch paintings and I enjoyed them a great deal.  Most were a bit dark.  Perhaps they will be restored sometime.

 This one was an exception.  It was very bright and still colorful.

This was so much like the Saint Jerome paintings.  It was a hermit doing pretty much what Jerome did. 

Hermit Praying in the Wilderness  1707  
Wilhelm Van Mieris  1662-1747

There was a earlier painting of the Goya I had seen in Madrid.  It was not done well, but rough.  Still it was a thrill to find it and make the connection.

 Then this Goya was there as well.  Not perhaps the best of his portraits, but another to add to my experience.

 Other paintings that struck my fancy:

Our colds kept our visit short, but here are some of our favorites

This is absolutely one of my favorites.  I spent a good bit of time sitting and studying the details.  If I had any room on my walls, I'd buy a print.  I like the depiction of the three stages of women and their separate reaction to the music.

Somewhere I have seen all of these in an exhibit.  I hate that I remember so little.

The eyes in this Gainborough are memorable

Here is a fine link to survey what is in the permanent collection at the Clark.

We joined for $150 this year.  It is $20 a pop to enter.
Membership gives us each the ability to bring two guests.
It will also give us some discounts.
In addition it has a reciprocal agreement with about 300 museums including both the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Appleton in Ocala that we visit in wintertime.
What I like best is that I can go for just a short visit.  I can't absorb or remember an experience when I go for too long a period
I also enjoyed a young girl who was to be married in the religious section.  I have seen it before, but don't have the title handy.

We moved into our room, choosing one across the street on the Pondview side in order to avoid the traffic to the restaurant and insure a quiet stay.
We unpacked and took a long nap.  That refreshed us for the rest of the day.

We decided against two plays in the area, both one man shows.
Instead we went to the little nonprofit art theater

We saw the new movie Lovers

Some have not liked it much, but we thought it was great, and well outside the clichĂ© movies on affairs and marriage.  We have been talking about it ever since.

Afterward we went back to the 1896 restaurant.
http://www.6housepub.com/   We ate at tables in the back.

We shared a fine Portobello mushroom salad.  Elizabeth had a martini lobster salad.  I ate a wonderful duck entre with garlic spinach and mixed vegetables.  They gave me more garlic spinach as a substitute for rice.
It is one of the finest duck dinners I can remember eating.  Very lean.  I'll certainly drive to have that meal again.

this was not our table, but looked pretty cool.


Wednesday we spent at Mass Moca which is not a religious coffee but an art museum.
As it is all very modern art, I have been rather unpleased with my previous visits and really went just to humor Elizabeth.
However, this one was great fun.
We managed to spend the day there, breaking for a fine Cobb Salad lunch to refresh our cold accosted senses.
We spent most of our time in the new building, Building 6.  Here we enjoyed
Laurie Anderson
She had a room full of charcoal drawings that were fascinating.  And for the first time we experienced a visual reality head set and saw what she had created there.  Elizabeth could not really see it, but I could and was amazed.  I could interact with floating bits of things, hear their stories and toss them far away, using my own hands that created chalk outlines of hands that worked in the virtual reality.  At the end my hand were the front legs and hooves of horses and I could gallop.

Here were two interesting found art works:


Nick Cave had an amazing display of hanging and twirling relectors.  In some way it was a Black statement, but I could really not get that. 

This seemed the silliest of what we experienced, but at least I know what to do with my worn out sneakers.

Perhaps the most absurd was this one.  I can't help but believe that the artist is laughing at us for taking this seriously.

We had a fine Cobb Salad lunch at the cafeteria.  They let Elizabeth bring in some expresso from the nearby coffee place. 

The background music was just great.  Even Billie Holiday was represented.

While there we admired these rock paintings by a local.

They reminded us of our painting of our rock wall by Susanne.

Afterward we napped as best we could, but some workman with an oversized hand drill spoiled the best of it.

Supper, however, was delightful.  I had the same meal as yesterday.  Green beans instead of mixed squash.  We brought our own wine.  The duck was better than yesterday, sweet and crispy. 


In the evening we watched an old William Haines movie on Turner Classic Movies.  It was very funny.  Just a Gigolo

Contrary to the note in Wikipedia, the song "Just a Gigolo" was not in this movie.

Haines was gay and living openly and honestly with his partner.  He was asked to present a different image, even to get married, but he refused.  He lived fifty years with his partner, but could not get acting jobs, so he did interior decorating for many of the great Hollywood stars.

Joan Crawford was a good friend and helped promote his business.


Sleeping was still difficult with these terrible colds.  We did better on our last night, but still wake up thick with flem.
In the morning we just decided to call it a trip and head back early.  We stopped in Pittsfield at Guido's and bought a few good things.  Then we went home and took a nap.
We've been napping ever since.

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...