Sunday, March 31, 2019

New York, Lulu, Roaring 20's - the Sanitized Version --- Day 8/17

Walk: Cinema Club (The Chaperone)
Distance: 2 miles

                           Elizabeth McGovern in The Chaperone

Here's a movie you can stream on Netflix if you watch it at all.  The Chaperone is a Hallmarky period drama that was Ciwt's Cinema Club showing today.  (Probably you can tell from the picture above?)  In defense of her CC, which is usually a rich movie going and discussion experience, San Francisco's Internaitonal Film Festival begins soon and prohibits CC from showing any of the entries that have been selected for it.  Presumably, any of the movies with real depth.  The Chaperone would be a pleasant TV get away though.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

High Brow on a Teeter-Totter --- Day 8/16

Walk: AMC Kabuki (Met Live: Die Walkure)
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga stretch after 5+ hours of sitting

So Ciwt went high brow today and finally saw one of the four operas that make up Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Very moving, tragic, powerful with gorgeous music.  She didn't quite know what to make of the stage: it moved!  Tipped back and forth like a teeter-totter as well as going straight up and down.  Kudos to all the cast for navigating and staying upright while never missing notes.  

She also came to understand how it is possible for one of her friends and thousands of unknown others to follow The Ring all over the world, seeing it again and again. In total the Ring runs 17 hours. All four operas are usually staged a few days apart and each has long intermissions.  So, with the longest Ring opera running 5 1/2 hours plus intermissions, die hard fans all over the world leave their opera houses somewhere between midnight and 1:30 a.m..  That would put Ciwt seriously off her feed; maybe if some company staged them all as matinees she would flock to whereever those productions were.  As it was, she got to her seat at 9:00 a.m.out here in San Francisco and was out of the theater by 2:15 in the afternoon. Operatic in itself if you ask her.

Friday, March 29, 2019

When I Grow Up I Want to Be... --- Days 8/14 and 15

Walk:1.  Marin Driving  2.San Francisco Fire Station Museum
Distance: 1. Couple of Blocks, 30 min. Pedal, Yoga  2. 3.6 miles, 40 min Pedal, Yoga

SFFD Museum
Only in San Francisco.  Another museum! right on Ciwt's near daily walk to and from Trader Joe's. It is a part of an active fire station, and she'd noticed the fire trucks, but somehow overlooked the adjacent museum - for over 30 years😵

So today Ciwt  finally went in the "Open" door expecting maybe a few old buttons and hats, that kind of paraphernalia.  Imagine her surprise when she encountered this:

 A huge room jam packed with beautiful, restored engines from the 1800's that still operate today!

Badges and artifacts from the 1906 earthquake and Fire. 

OL' 22
Paintings, old photographs, yes buttons and hats and so much more, including a real live fireperson who gives his time to the museum on days off.  All with lovingly researched signage.  For instance she learned about OL' 22 above that it had been built in 1893 and sold when the SFFD had completed its conversion from horse-drawn to motorized apparatus in 1921.  Luckily, before the fire engine was disassembled by the farming family that bought it, they realized its historical value, restored it to the condition you see above, complete with refreshed ornate gold leafing and operational pump. In 1987 they sold/donated the engine to the SFFD Museum, thus returning it to San Francisco. 

What a great find for Ciwt!  Just imagine if she were young and dreaming of being a fireperson!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

1040 Begins On 3/27 --- Day 8/13

Walk: No
Distance: No, Computer Sitting for Tax Return

                    Well, not quite 'Snap, Tap...' - at least for Ciwt

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Happy Days --- Days 8/11 & 12

Walk: 1. Pier One pillows, cat nails day 😱   2. Pier One pillows return 
Distance: 1. 0, Yoga, 40 min. Pedal   2. 4 miles, Yoga, 30 min. Pedal

Why Not? Thanks for the reminder, Trader Joe's.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Green and White with a Touch of Hot Pink --- Day 8/10

Walk: Deck Planting Errands
Distance: 4 miles, stairs, stairs, stairs, yoga stretch

Ciwt began again on her deck today.  This time just green with a few touches.  Her thought is the green will be more hardy than her various attempts at flowering shrubs. Ciwt had high hopes for them.  But in spite of their descriptions they've all gotten spindly and ragged after just a few months in the San Francisco wind and fog. Tough means tough out there.

Cats are checking it out; paws and fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Between Storms and Good Flix -- Day 8/9

Walk: Trader Joe's, Union Square, General errands between storm
Distance: 3.5 miles, yoga

Ooops, left over picture (ha) from when Ciwt lived in the midwest and needed to do some quick errands between storms.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Knock, Knock... Day 8/8

Walk: AMC Kabuki (Us)
Distance: 2 miles, Yoga

The last time Ciwt saw a Jordan Peele movie it took about two days for it to totally sink in.  When she walked out of Get Out she knew she seen something brilliant but didn't appreciate for those two days how brilliant it was.  Now she's home from Peele's second movie ever, Us, and has that same sense: Something important was on the screen but not enough time has gone by for her to fully grasp what it was - if she ever does.

On the preliminary level she knows the beautiful Jupito Nyong'o is an incredible actress, Winston Duke is a hunk (and a good actor), the visuals of Us are stunning, Peele is a highly original and intelligent filmmaker, and she thinks his 'Us' might be the very same as Pogo's (which she'll leave crytic for the moment).

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Seduction* --- Day 8/7

Walk: Marin Driving Day, PGCC Book Group (The Piano Tuner)
Distance:  Nada  

The word for this book is seductive.  The lush scenery, the intrigue, the never quite knowable characters, the uniquely gorgeous piano and the refined writing all seduce, sometimes to good and educational effect, sometimes not.  Ciwt's book club liked The Piano Tuner and found it very discussable.

* The Piano Player takes place largely in Burma.  Here is that country's word for seduce: သှေးဆောငျ.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Too Much Leaping, Not Enough Centering --- Day 8/6

Walk: A.C.T. (The Great Leap)
Distance: 4.3 miles, small yoga

BD Wong, Tim Liu, Arye Gross, Ruibo Qian in Lauren Yee's
                 The Great Leap at A.C.T.

Sadly BD Wong, one of Ciwt's favorite actors, had an understudy playing his part in The Great Leap today. And the understudy flubbed his lines at least three times Ciwt caught.

So, that is the bad news about Ciwt's play experience this afternoon.  The medium news is the play is okay(ish).  Yee displays a great understanding of the game of basketball so the repartee is right on, but she takes a shot at coupling that with 1.Tiananmen Square, 2. Mao's Great Leap Forward, 3. a dead mother, and 4.  teenage angst.  Even one of those couplings might have been over Yee's head, but all four makes for many attempts but few shots through the net.

The good news was the economy of the stage set.  

Doctor, My Eyes --- Day 8/5

Walk: de Young Museum (Monet: The Late Years)
Distance: 5 miles

Claude Monet (1840-1926), The Japanese Footbridge, 1899, o/c

Claude Monet (1840-1926), The Japanese Footbridge, 1923-25, o/c
Here we have the same Japanese Footbridge at Claude Monet's home in Giverny painted by him some twenty years apart.  We also have one of the reasons Ciwt could not be a docent.  If she were, she would need to present the lower painting as a marvel of old age daring, an entirely new and laudable way of painting invented by one of the world's most famous and talented artists in his final years. In other words she would need to present/educate along the lines of museums and those who sell and collect art.

But what Ciwt actually sees and believes is the case is the deterioration of Monet's eyesight and therefore talent, particularly after 1908 when he first wrote his doctor My poor eyesight means I see everything as through a fog. In the ensuing years Monet became blind in one eye and, even after cataract surgery, legally blind in the other.  In the year he was painting the lower work (1923) he wrote his doctor the following:

I went through bad days of nerve pain or other, fortunately, calmed and passed by pills.  Apart from that, I see less and less, with or without dark glasses.  The excessive light that we have tires me so much that I am obliged to confine myself in the darkness of the room.  Today, I have had strong spins in the center of the eye itself, and, moreover I always have the sensation of having water in my eye.
               Monet in his bed wearing the protective dark glasses he wore
                       continually for many years in connection with worsening cataracts
Besides on his blindness there is more research available on Monet's late years, none of which indicates he was intentionally embarking on a revolutionary breakthrough in his painting style.  As Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post wrote "..over time Monet grew old, selfish and cussed."  And good for him thinks Ciwt.  From his early twenties on Monet worked assiduously overcoming enormous artistic, personal and financial obstacles to create - invent really -  great, truly revolutionary work that is beloved the world round.  Ciwt thinks don't lionize him with dubious breakthoughs; instead honor his tenacity and true human struggles with advanced age.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Home Not a Ship --- Day 8/4

Walk: Fort Mason, Ghiradelli Square, Union Square
Distance: 5 miles

So one reason Ciwt doesn't get on airplanes very often is the abundance of attractions right here in her very own city.  Today on one of her favorite walks up and over the hill from Fort Mason to Ghiradelli Square she realized she had never gone to the San Francisco Maritime Museum on the water there.  So in she went in and found an array of quite good crafts created by sailors

Turns out many sailors - on board and on land - adapted their maritime skills (ropes, rigging, sighting, ivory, music, etc) to making folk art, fancywork, early photographs, paintings and other art forms.

Ciwt's favorities, no matter who makes them and where she sees them, are always the detailed miniture models of ships, or, as many a salt has called them, homes.  

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Next Stop Please(?) --- Day 8/3

Walk: Cinema Club (Transit)
Distance: 2 miles, small yoga

Ciwt's Cinema Club movie today was Transit.  Ciwt is going to borrow fromWinston Churchill's description of Russia,* to say it is like a coincidence inside a coincidence wrapped in a coincidence.  Subtly, quietly the enigmatic and unexpected lurks around every corner of Transit throughout all of its 101 minutes.  Personally Ciwt was absorbed in the ongoing suspense, but, beware; many of her Cinema Club audience members reported being bored, bamboozled, angry or completely checked out.  So perhaps you would like to transit right through to the next movie.

* "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.  It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma..."
                                   Winston Churchill, Radio Broadcast, October 1, 1939

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Black Step Aside --- Day 8/2

Walk: No, Really finished Spring/Summer Closet caper
Distance: 0, Yoga

Not easy since Ciwt's closet is almost entirely city woman black, but she pressed through with 
her Spring/Summer closet caper and accomplished her goal: no black (almost).  We'll see if she wears those colors or reaches into the wings where her blacks are hiding).  

Friday, March 15, 2019

CIWT YEAR 8 and THE Reader --- Day 8/ONE

Walks: Hood, Presidio, Whereever Ciwt can in our beautiful weather
Distance: 4.5 miles, wee yoga sessions

Ciwt is happy to begin CIWT YEAR 8 with an homage to those who write and read better than she does.  Better than most people anywhere do.

A few days ago, Ciwt wrote to say she was quite impressed with people who apparently read two or more books at once and that she herself might give it a try.*  In response to this, one of her readers sent the picture above.  And, no, those books aren't lying there because they haven't been attended to and the bookshelves are getting dusty.  Those are the books her husband is currently reading. All of them. Soon they will have been read cover to cover and a new pile will begin forming.

Needless to say, Ciwt was stunned.  Luckily her reader also included a note:  The above photo is my husband's reading/rotating book stack.  He rotates 20 (Ciwt's bold) at a time although he says he does better when we travel and he brings along 10 - in both cases replacing finished books with new ones (from Amazon) to be savored.  He assiduously reads, reviews and probably passes over 120 books a year.  As a result he's a fascinating dinner partner and guest.  Plus I luck out because he knows what I like and passes them along.

Knowing Ciwt's brain was likely spinning at this news, her reader sent an addendum to help Ciwt understand how her husband accomplishes this.  Ready?  If he has, say, 10 books,  he reads every other space: Book A, then Book B, then back to Book A, and Book C and so on until he gets to book number 10.  Book A varies; he chooses it because it has the least pages left to read, so the longer books gradually work their way up to Book A position.  

Using this personal system he finishes one book every other day on average. 200 pages a day.  And remember the yearly 120 books in the description above?  Well, it turns out that was an underestimate and he actually reads more like 150 books a year.

Ciwt would like to add a few notes of her own:

1. This topic of exceptional readers and how they do it is surely worthy of some NYT, or New York Review article by an excellent columnist.
2. If you don't quite grasp the husband's system, neither does Ciwt.
3. It should be noted the husband has a PhD in some form of Engineering.
4. Lest you think all this reading is accomplished by a hermit, let Ciwt correct you:  He's a terrific guy; they have a wonderful long marriage and spend much time conversing, entertaining, enjoying their children, grandchildren and each other.  It can be done. 
5.  If you meet such a man, send him Ciwt's way please.
6.  Welcome to CIWT Year 8.  Thank you very much for reading at whatever pace suits you.  You are valued.

*Ciwt Day 7/363

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

With a Whimper --- Day 7/365

Walk: Hood
Distance: 3 miles

Ciwt is sad to end her seventh year of CIWT with sad news about Alex Trebek, the man who has been her dinner partner every night - with very few exceptions - for 35 years.  While she collects her thoughts and sends her hopeful wishes, she offers a partial quote from a longer article by Ken Jennings, 79 consecutive day Jeopardy winner, and links to his full article as well as another (out of many internationally) from the New York Times.  Ciwt is not alone in her feelings.

In praise of Alex Trebek: “Alex Trebek announced a few days ago that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and that he plans to keep working as he fights the disease. Let me be clear: This is not an elegy. I hope Alex will be hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ for a long time to come. It’s impossible to even imagine the show with anyone else. But he’s been doing one job so long, and so well, that I think we sometimes take him for granted. Let’s make sure that we appreciate the man as long as we have him... In person, he’s decidedly not the stern, judicial presence you might expect. On TV, he’s all business. He has 61 clues to get to, and not a lot of time. Hosting such a dense, fast-moving game is an insanely hard job, but he makes it look effortless. Here’s the belief that lies at the core of Alex’s TV persona: ‘Jeopardy!’ itselfnot he, is the star of the show. It’s all about the format, the players, the facts, the dissemination of answers and questions. It’s hard to imagine any modern TV personality deftly avoiding the spotlight like that.”

What Alex Trebek is Really Like by Ken Jennings
Why America Loves Alex Trebek

Monday, March 11, 2019

Catching a Wave --- Day 7/364

Walk: Crissy Field, Monday Hood Errands
Distance: 4.8 miles

So this morning at Crissy Field there were these guys actually in the Bay with cameras.  Ciwt is guessing a surfing movie is on their horizon.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Multiple Diversions Recommended --- Day 7/363

Walk: No (c-w-r again)
Distance: 0, Yoga

So over the years Ciwt had heard people talking about reading several books at once.  This seemed odd to her and she dismissed the concept.  Now, with months on end of cold-wind-rain (c-w-r) and getting a bit bored with the book group novel she's been reading, she decided to Google the topic.  

Well, turns out having multiple books going can have all sorts of positive effects like keeping the reader stimulated when he/she has run out of steam on one, and enlarging one's understanding of the world for two.  In Ciwt's case there might be the dissipation of guilt factor as well.  She's not a library borrower so she buys books, puts them in her bookcase then, more often than she cares to admit,  never takes them off to read them.  

She's going to give multiples a try; her big question is whether she'll forget the characters and plot on several books at a time. (Likely).  If that happens, she'll take a lesson from her cats. As you might notice from he picture above, Ciwt's cats have no trouble whatsoever with multiple toys and couldn't care less if they forget the one they were just carried away with.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Information, Please --- Day 7/362

Walk: No (another rain-wind-cold one)
Distance: 0, Yoga, and exercising her eyes reading a book club selection

Today is the 7th year, 362nd day of CIWT. Can 365 be far behind?  Time hovers more consciously than before.  Earlier this year it prompted Ciwt to go visit one of those (sensible) places for maybe the 17th year of CIWT.  Oh dear.  The lobby fountain is above; residents dress for dinner, there is ballroom after ballroom for entertaining (this is a guess).  Upstairs things are less grandly appointed but still on the high end of the scale (even the 'health' - read hospital - facilities).

This option - and others like it - are not on Ciwt's wish list, but in year 7 of CIWT it seemed 'sensible' to become informed.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Picture Still A Bit Blurry --- Days 359 and 360

Walk: Day 1: Home doing Spring Wardrobe Closet Caper  Day 2: Clay Theater (Never Look Away)
Distance:  1. 8 blocks  2. 3.5 miles, small yoga

What can Ciwt say about the movie Never Look Away?  Well,  at 3 hours, fifteen minutes, it's a long one.  And because Ciwt is interested in art and artists she found it an interesting study of the creative development of one of the current world's most well known, talented and expensive artists.

The movie is based on the life events of Gerhard Richter.  Our SFMOMA has an extensive collection of his works, and Richter is/was personally befriended, beloved and collected by both the art-powerful Fisher and Schwab families.  Ciwt herself has led tours of Richter's paintings and described his art and life story and relationship to Bay Area collectors numerous times.  But, even as she explained, a part of her could never fully grasp why this painting virtuoso continually changes subject matter and forms - being a Vermeer look alike one moment, a wildly colorful abstract artist the next, then settling for a moment into color chart studies before moving to paintings of blurred photographs. There are more styles, but you get the picture.  The wonder is that Richter is a complete master of each and every style he explores; he truly is a painting genius.

So it felt vaguely comforting to Ciwt to watch Never Look Away and finally 'see' this man, the making of his early paintings and the life she has been touring and explaining.  But it was also vaguely uncomfortable because this was no authorized bio; the characters have fictional names and the media shy Richter himself has said the writer/director "..has managed to abuse and grossly distort my biography."

For Ciwt Don't Look Away might have worked best as a total work of fiction so she didn't have to think about invading and melodramatizing Richter's privacy and very real biography.  Take away that, she liked the movie, thought it was well acted and absorbing, informative about art, beautifully shot and worth 3 hours and fifteen minutes of the time of movie buffs who are interested in the artistic process and one artist's (partially fictionalized) life.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Boot and Stage --- Day 7/358

Walk: Strand Theater (Her Portmanteau), M.A.C. Clothing
Distance: 1.5 Windy, Rainy, Cold Miles (again)

See Ciwt's rain boot nearly touching the stage at the Strand Theater where she sat Front Row Center (to say the least) for Her Portmanteau.  If you think that looks close, they actually rolled the stage forward so the performance was at Ciwt's eye level just a foot or so away.  Even with such visibility she had to ask the woman sitting next to her exactly what happened at the end of the play.  Maybe Ciwt was preoccupied with her neck which had become sore from swiveling right and left to follow the actors. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Standing Tall --- Day 7/357

Walk: CPMC, Hood
Distance: 3.8 miles, Yoga

Standing Tall at Crissy Field

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Colors of Our Lives --- Day 7/358

Walk: The Ever Renewing Crissy Field 
Distance: 3.4 miles, wee yoga

For forty plus yearsCiwt has walked right past the rocks at Crissy Field with hardly a glance. But since adopting her Greige/Tawny cats (named Misty Gris and Tawny) Ciwt has become much more aware of objects in those tones. Whole new world.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Baffled in Plain Sight --- Day7/257

Walk: Cinema Club (The Invisibles)
Distance: 2.4 miles

No particular Ciwt comment on The Invisibles, today's Cinema Club docudrama about 4 young (at the time) German Jews who hid in plain site in Berlin during WWII and survived.  Such a story is riveting, multi-faceted, intense on the face of it.  But The Invisibles, moving from actors to the actual people in their old age and then back all with subtitles was a bit too baffling for Ciwt's little mind and took her away from the importance and depth of the stories being told.  When asked for a show of hands of other audience members who also got lost, Ciwt was interested that over 60% of the assembled movie buffs raised theirs.  Probably good to go and see for yourself; Ciwt gives it a C+.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Last and First --- Days 7/355 and 356

Walk: 1. Discount Fabric House, PGCC  2. Sutter Upholstery, AMC Kubuki (Opera: Daughter of the Regiment)
Distance: 1. 2.3 miles, teen yoga  1. 2.3 rainy mile
Last Gold Fabric in San Francisco finally captured by Ciwt

A couple of golden days for Ciwt.  Just when she was about to give up on finding gold fabric to reslipcover her couch (see previous CIWT days if you at all interested), she drove with little hope to Discount Fabric House. There she was presented with an enormous warehouse of fabrics rolled up and on shelves that rose to the ceiling.  Again, she nearly threw in the towel, but luckily her uphosterer had given her the name of someone she knew there.  Someone who didn't speak any English whatsoever.  But somehow Ciwt and he were able to communicate Gold, enough yards for a couch, strong enough for two cats (his eyes popped at this last).  He was brave enough to climb up to the sky again and again, but through his smiles Ciwt could see he too was ready to throw in the towel  Then, there it was - literally, the only candidate.  Both he and Ciwt were stunned, then overjoyed.

First Opera Encore Ever Seen by Ciwt: Javier Camarena in The Daughter of the Regiment

Then this morning it was off to New York's Metropolitan Opera - at the AMC Kabuki movie theater right here in San Francisco.   What a way to see an Opera!!!  Fabulous acoustics, clear, intimate filming so you are Orchestra Center or closer the whole time.  No heads moving back and forth in front of you, consistent temperature and super comfortable seats. And did Ciwt mention the price?  Ciwt would have been perfectly happy with all these things, but then an unexpected event happened: the lead tenor was so resoundly applauded after one aria that he sang an encore through joyous tears.  Ciwt was stunned again!  She had heard of but never seen an opera encore, and, when she texted her opera buff friend who has been a Met mainstay for decades, she learned they are so rare her friend had never heard one in all her years of attending operas all over the world.  Golden!