Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bye, Bye 2014 --- Day 3/346

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Mr. Turner.  That's 3), Laurel Village, Designer Consigner
Distance: 3.8 miles

         Let's Go, Pooh, 2014 Is Over Now.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Leaving it Softly --- Day 3/345

Walk: San Anselmo, GGBridge in high wind, Trader Joe's, Mindful Body, Friend's House
Distance: Just a mile or so and teach last yoga class of 2014

Yoga WorkshopsCiwt's 3:00 class really is a treasure.  Such nice and loyal people.  13-14 years now, many from the very beginning.  Then a mellow interlude with green ginger tea after yoga where two friends shared pictures and stories of Hawaii where they have each just been (separately) and one of the friends had the ribbon cutting of an apartment he built from an old storeroom.  Excellent architecture and a lovely way to phase out the year.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year Closet Caper --- Day 3/344

Walk: Back and forth from closets and mirror
Distance:  ? but some, home yoga

Which of these will find a new home in 2015?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

One Turn Deserves Another -- Day 3/343

Walk: Trader Joe's, Sundance Kabuki (Mr. Turner (2))
Distance: 4 miles

Mike Leigh at the Late Turner exhibition at Tate Britain.
Mike Leigh, director of Mr. Turner, at the Tate exhibition: Late Turner: Painting Set Free.

Anglophile, art and film lover, Ciwt, went once again to sit at the feet of Mike Leigh's portrait of JMW Tuner and 18th/19th century British art/noble/intelligentsia society.  Riveting in its meticulously researched, immersive vision; not a false note in two and one half hours.  Leigh, has looked at a real genius artist and found a way to express him and his time.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Big Kitsch --- Day 3/342

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Big Eyes)
Distance:  2 miles

Why did Ciwt do it?  She knew she wouldn't like it, but some yoga people said it was 'Fabulous,' so skeptically off she went to Big Eyes.  Waltz is oppressively hammy and annoyingly awful. Adams is depressingly half-alive and unsympathetic because of it.  The whole vivid pastel movie was visually dismaying to Ciwt, empty and dispiriting in the way of turquoise Naugahyde, desert diners, neon - and, of course those paintings.  Why did she do it?  A good question for both Margaret Keane and Ciwt.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Better Late ---- Day 3/341

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (The Imitation Game), Bay Bread, Mindful Body
Distance: 2.8 nippy miles and take yoga class

Darlene Love blew Fun into Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) for the final time on David Letterman this year (2014).  Click her name and join the joy.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mr. Turner-Spall --- Day 3/340

Walk: Embarcadero Cinema (Mr. Turner)
Distance:  3.5 miles



Ciwt is feeling a bit Humpty-Dumptyish after seeing the movie biography of the great British artist JMW Turner.  She wonders if she can ever put her joyous visceral response to Turner's ethereal art back together again with her new visceral response to Turner's personal gross, grunting, abusive instinctiveness.

Her new sense of Turner is made indelible by the superb acting of Timothy Spall, a great thespian who devoted two years to donning his Turner role - including learning to paint in the manner of Turner. Spall won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and is sure to be nominated, perhaps win, for Best Actor in all the important awards.

So, go for the acting.  Definitely.  And for the uncanny, brilliant cinematography.  Such is its technical inventiveness and magic that there are many moments when we feel we are actually in one of Tuner's masterpieces.  And throughout the movie we are quite sure we are living in 18th Century England.  Not an easy feat to believably reconstruct a by-gone era; usually there are inadvertent tip offs: hair and make up style, lighting, modern dentistry, fake sideburns, personal fitness and carriage.

Of course she will put Mr. Turner back together with his art.  Just like she responds to Mozart's music even after encountering his immature, infantile character in Amadeus.  Without realizing it Ciwt must have imagined Turner as some sort of magician who, in one grand swipe, captured all that is ethereal in the heavens and waters.  So, there is the disillusionment and then the deeper work of reconciling artistic genius and output with the human artist.  Ultimately, Humpty-Dumpty looks richer, more compelling and authentic with his cracks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Holiday Card Winner --- Day 3/339

Walk: Pets Unlimited
Distance: 1.5 miles and home practice

            Robert Doisneau* (1912-1994), La Tour Eiffel, Paris, Photograph.

Once again Ciwt's favorite holiday card** was an image of the Eiffel Tower in the snow.

*Robert Doisneau was a French photographer. In the 1930s he used a Leica on the streets of Paris. He and Henri Cartier-Bresson were pioneers of photojournalism. (For more on this interesting talent see this link: Wikipedia)
**See 2/348 for last year's favorite

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Poinsettias and Paintings --- Day 3/338

Walk: Laurel Village, Trader Joe's, Mollie Stone, Mindful Body
Distance: 4 miles and teach yoga class


Monday, December 22, 2014

Don't Lose that Holiday Sparkle --- Day 3/337

Walk: Fillmore Street, Trader Joe's, JCCSF
Distance: 3 miles and home practice


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice Passed --- Day 3/336

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Red Army), Dosa
Distance: 2 miles and home practice

2 hours, 40 minutes ago as Ciwt writes, our Northern Hemisphere began tilting back toward the sun. For the next six months our daylight will gradually lengthen.  This is all Ciwt needs to know.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Come Into My House, Little Girl... Day 3/335

Walk: Fairmont Hotel, Opera House (The Nutcracker)
Distance: 3 miles

Where are we?

Did you guess the Fairmont Hotel lobby at Christmas time?  Pretty cute.  And...the entire house is made of real gingerbread, cookies and frosting.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Hours --- Day 3/333

Walk: AMC VanNess (Interstellar), Mindful Body
Distance: Just 8 Blocks (cuz rain interfered with Ciwt's 4 mi walk) and yoga class

Ciwt is pretty sure she had no idea what was going on for most of the three hour running time.  But Matthew McConaughey is so easy to watch these days and Interstellar turned out to be just the ticket for an afternoon in from the rain, away from Christmas commotion and into another world - wherever it was.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Standing Tall --- Day 3/332

Walk: To/From Car
Distance: 6 blocks and home yoga

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Staring Contest --- Day 3/331

Walk: Presidio Post Office, El Polin Spring Presidio
Distance: 3 miles

Ciwt was eye to eye with this Coopers hawk at El Polin Spring in the Presidio today.  Actually he (?)
was up on a wire and Ciwt thought he'd fly away when she walked under it.  But, not at all; he kept staring down at her as she looked up at him.  Turns out there are several pictures of him on line so I guess he's quite secure with El Polin being his home and unfazed by all the visitors.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hardwood!! --- Day 3/330

Walk: Mindful Body
Distance: 10 Blocks and teach yoga class

Ciwt got an early (only?) holiday present today when the artisan who was going to replace the worn carpet just inside her front door pulled it back and found Hardwood!  Salvageable hardwood!!

That means the whole stairway might have it too.  Wow!  She's going to take the next yoga toe step forward  and see what might be possible.  (PS - Her walls are not sour green
except in iphone camera world).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beginning to Remember Winter -- Day 3/329

Walk: Rainy day Monday.  Hi Tech Nails
Distance: 10 blocks and small home yoga

Farmer John's Almanac predicts colder than usual, maybe rain/snow during Ciwt's January trip to NYC so she was fiddling around today with winter in New York thoughts.  First question: What's snow?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exceptionalism, Hmmm --- Day 3/328

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Foxcatcher)
Distance: 2 miles


Ciwt has observed that sometimes something magic happens when an actor known as a comedian plays a serious role. Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society for instance.  And Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.  Carell is dead on in this portrayal of privileged, shielded-by-immense-wealth, deeply unbalanced heir John E. Du Pont.  An excellent study of the dark realities also (along with the many inspirational glories we're used to seeing in movies) at the heart of of many sports: loneliness, wealth/sponsorship, desperation, isolation, immaturity, exploitation, violence, neediness.  Terrific acting by all three leads: Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo.  Slow, grimly revelatory, probably unpleasant viewing for many. Also a unique opportunity to eyeball the ever shrinking-but-true rarefied/removed old WASP upper crust American lifestyle. (Ie, This is not Ralph Lauren).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

One Foot and Then The Other --- Day 3/327

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Wild)
Distance: 2 miles
Reese Witherspoon carries her backpack -- nicknamed Monster -- in the movie Wild, about one woman's hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Ciwt thought she should just get it over with.  Reese Witherspoon will be nominated for an Oscar, Ciwt loves Oscar night and makes every attempt to see all the nominees ahead of time. So, today she went to the movie of Wild, a book she has rated a notch or so above Eat, Pray, Love, one of her most disliked.

The good news is Witherspoon's fine, ego-less acting, beautiful glimpses of the Pacific Coast Trail (which Ciwt herself considered hiking many years ago), and the fact that the movie was merely tame rather than annoying.

So now onward on her own personal year end quest goes Ciwt.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Acting is Everything --- Day 3/326

Walk: Vogue Theater (The Theory of Everything), Laurel Village
Distance: 2.5 miles, home yoga

Felicity Jones                          Eddie Redmayne

                                                      Stephen Hawking   Jane Wilde

Ciwt felt particularly lucky to be doing her small yoga practice at home today after returning from The Theory of Everything.  She thinks see this movie for the acting - both husband (Redmayne) and wife (Jones) are superb.  Also there is a tiny sense of physics and quite a bit of twee.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storms in Light Places --- Day 3/325

Walk: No, Storm
Distance: 0, not even yoga

TempĂȘte Ă  Nice, 1919
Henri Matisse, Storm in Nice, 1919, oil on canvas

Matisse would spend each winter at the Hotel Mediterranee – from October to May – for the next five years, producing a steady stream of noteworthy paintings and drawings. On 2 January 1919 a freak storm broke over Nice which would generate one of Matisse’s most iconic Nice paintings.  In her biography, Matisse The Master, Hilary Spurling writes:
Seas pounded up onto the front, pouring across the promenade and turning the street into a rushing grey river.  Winds tore off the hotel shutters, smashed the windows and shattered a big mirror in the entrance hall.  ‘It’s so extraordinary that I haven’t enough eyes to take it all in, ‘ Matisse wrote to his wife next day, painting the scene from his window with hands that still shook from elation and shock.  The luminous rain-washed atmosphere after a storm always exhilarated him.  The main reason he gave afterwards for coming to Nice was the Mediterranean sunlight: clear, silvery and soft in spite of its phenomenal brilliance.  He said he couldn’t believe his luck when he first realised he would open his eyes every morning on the same light.   ****

****  Courtesy Blog: That's How the Light Gets In 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Double Trouble Ahead --- Day 3/324

Walk: Errands before 'storm of the decade'
Distance: 3 miles and home yoga

Ciwt is wondering which will be more scary tomorrow:

What the local rag is calling 'the storm of the decade'


her haircut.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Living in a World of Pink --- Day 3/323

Walk: Union Square, Mindful Body
Distance: 1.5 miles and teach yoga class

In which Ciwt leaves her back room, walks out on her deck and encounters

A single Camilia..

The color pink is the color of universal love of oneself and of others.  
* The meaning of the color pink is unconditional love and nurturing.
Color PinkPink is the color of universal love. Pink is a quiet color. Lovers of beauty favor pink.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa's Revenge? --- Day 3/322

Walk: (Major Driving Errands Day: Goodwill, Town School Clothes Closet, SF Treasurer, SF Assessor, B&B Pet Supply, Best Buy, Floorcraft  Ahhhh, many missions accomplished)
Distance: A few Blocks, small home yoga

          Ciwt views just one day's requests

As Christmas nears, Santa must know she's naughtly and not that into his holiday.  So he floods Ciwt's mailbox, email mailbox and even telephone with requests for her money instead of the lovely Christmas cards good girls and boys receive at this time of year.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Falls -- Day 3/321

Walk: Cinema Club (Still Alice), Presidio Cafe, Best Buy
Distance: 4 miles

Our Japanese Maple Fall

Still Alice at Cinema Club today.  Like everyone who has or will see the movie, Ciwt was very impressed with Julianne Moore's superb acting.  Surely she will get a Best Actress Oscar nomination and possibly win it as well as other awards.  But, after her, for Ciwt the film was a bit too 'sanitized:' the family stayed steady, calm; the economic circumstances were solid; there were no outbursts, wandering, slovenliness.  Everything and everybody formed a fairly placid background for Moore's touching and informative portrayal of (early onset) Alzheimer's. (As one reviewer put it: Simultaneously rawly realistic and air brushed). No surprises; you know where the movie is going, and it does - with that great acting and in a very bearable way for the viewer.  Ciwt says see it if the subject is of interest or just for a star turn.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Arion Press Tour --- Day 3/320

Walk: Presidio/Arion Press
Distance: 5 miles

Local treasure and historic wonder, Arion Press, had a holiday open house today. Included was a demonstration tour of Arion's historic book making and printing facilities and the type foundry of M & H Type. Ciwt felt she had returned to some Dickensonian or Benjamin Franklin world of early printers.  Just an incredibly exacting, intensive labor of rare vision, rare apprentice-acquired skill and love.

The facility is one of the last of its kind in the world in full operation.  Some of the rare historic machinery dates back to the early 1900's .

The huge collection of type faces is unparalleled anywhere in the world              
(one corridor of type cases)                              (more here and that's not all; at present there are 3,888 cases)

Ciwt had an opportunity to see type cast from molten lead in the foundry and hear about the precautions necessary to work with lead.  (The main health problems come from the vapors and lead dust). She also watched pages being made up in the composition room and printed by letter press.

One of her favorite stations was the binding station where books are folded (by hand often!) into pages, stacked, and then either machine sews or hand sewn with a needlepoint type needle on the apparatus above. After being sewn the books are backed and then cased in.  Casing in (or creating the actual exterior look of the book) is apparently the most prestigious of all book binding work.  Ciwt imagines Andrew Hoyem (Mr. Arion Press) - or someone he has carefully selected - probably does most of the casing in.

Maybe because Ciwt has some familiarity with needlepoint (and the often accompanying carpal tunnel complications) she could particularly relate to the labor involved here.  She was also interested to see a box of band aids and to learn that even rare paper can be - and is! - cleaned of blood with the use of some clear vinegar.

See PBS Newshour on Arion Press

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Very Smart Urban Crow --- Day 3/319

Walk: No, Tech Support Day (was expecting 1 hour)
Distance: 0, small home yoga

Between tech support phone calls today, Ciwt was busy learning more about her new and ever increasing neighbors, urban crows.

Turns out my neighbors have been called "feathered apes" and are ranked high with intelligent membes of the animals kingdom, including primates, dolphins and elephants. *If you would like a great example of this and don't want to read further, go down to the amazing link below. Their brains are huge compared to their body size, and they exhibit many behaviors including language, delinquency, play, passion, wrath, risk-taking, awareness.

Crows gather around their dead, warn of impending doom, recognize people, commit murder of other crows, lure fish and birds to their death, swill coffee, drink beer, turn on lights to stay warm, design and use tools, use cars as nutcrackers, windsurf and sled to play, and work in tandem to spray soft cheese out of a can. Their marvelous brains allow them to think, plan, and reconsider their actions. Don't believe Ciwt?  *Again, go to the great link below, watch and marvel.

Ciwt is looking forward to them acquiring tech support knowledge so she can just signal one in to peck around the keys and get her devices in perfect working order.  


Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Urban Crow --- Day 3/318

Walks: Fillmore Street, Presidio Golf Course, Trader Joe's, Clay Theater (250 Year Anniversary of the Hermitage documentary  special showing), Best Buy (printer breakdown/new printer)
Distances: 5 miles, 3.5 miles, rainy days, home yoga (2-3), teach yoga

The other day before the rains came Ciwt opened her back door to a cacophony of squawking crows and noticed they were flying to a tree behind her building . As she watched at least 60 crows began gathering in the tree  and on the roofs
around her .  She's seen these gatherings before, sometimes with wicked, yes, murderous fights in the air.  (Crows will kill invaders; thus the term murder of crows).  There's a riveting fascination to watching these big coal black birds.  Partly this is  related to a Hitchcock/ Birds-type fear and partly to just watching nature do its thing.

In this case it turns out nature is bringing crows to urban environments in droves.  Also turns out crows are very smart, have incredibly complex social interactions are omnivores and are strong survivalists. They like places where shooting guns is against the law, and food - any food because they are omnivores - is readily available.  They can talk to each other so the word is out that cities provide these things and more.

As for the evening Ciwt was observing, it is generally a fall and winter phenomenon before they pair off and disperse into smaller groups to mate.  It's actually a sort of hoe down, social get together. They hang out, goof around, frolic, exchange information and then quiet down and fly off to roost for the night.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

One Window, Different Views --- Day 3/317

Walk: No
Distance: 0, small home yoga, much reading.  Thankful for long Thanksgiving holiday of rain,                           quiet, books in company of Callie

Open Window at Collioure, 1905, 21 3/4" x 18 1/8",  oil on canvas

French Window at Collioure, 1914, 46" x 35",  oil on canvas

This window was in Matisse's room at Collioure, a French fishing port he returned to again and again over the decades.  The light filled painting on top was done shortly after he first arrived at Collioure during a summer he and Derain spent months together, painting side-by-side. It was entered in the Paris Salon that year where its vibrant, childlike forms and unnatural colors were received with outrage.

Matisse painted the lower painting while back in Collioure and probably trying to assimilate his dark and complex emotions and forebodings about World War I. (The poet Louis Aragon called French Window 'the most mysterious picture Matisse ever painted.').  The picture was not displayed publicly during Matisse's life time, and was finally shown in 1966, more than fifty years after it was painted.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Issy Studio --- Day 3/316

Walk: Presidio Golf Course, Laurel Village
Distance: 3.8 miles, home yoga (2 small)

Matisse painted two important and famous portraits of his Issy studio which was an unusual turn for his protective and private character.

Henri Matisse, Pink Workshop, 1911, 70 5/8" x 87", o/c      (Pushkin Museum, Moscow)

Henri Matisse, Red Studio, 1911, 71 1/4" x 7' 2.25", o/c      (Museum of Modern Art, New York)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Matisse's Issy House --- Day 3/315

Walk: Fillmore Street, Trader Joe's 
Distance: 3.5 miles and home yoga practice

House of Henri Matisse, Issy-les-Moulineaux

Maison d'Henri Matisse a Issy-les-Moulineaux, France (1909- ca1929)

The house is surrounded by a large garden with ponds and a greenhouse.  Matisse erected a large pre-fab studio on the grounds (which he brought with him during his travels to ensure a place to work on his often enormous canvasses ).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Best Holiday --- Day 3/314

Walk: No
Distance: 0, Thankful for a peaceful day with Callie reading about Matisse