Thursday, April 30, 2020

TJ's Smooth Yoga Retreat --- Day 9/19

Walk: Trader Joe's!
Distance: 3.4 Miles

Mural at 'Ciwt's' Trader Joe's

After 7 weeks of having her groceries delivered, Ciwt decided a walk to Trader Joe's was essential to her sanity, wallet and tastebuds.  Having heard about the super long lines and thinking of the usual circus that is TJ's she packed her Kindle, donned her beanie and prepared for tense hours in line.

But when she got to that line, it was so organized she felt like she'd gone on a wonderful vacation.  Good old Trader Joe's, nice to see you again.  Joe's crew had put down red tape lines 6 feet apart so there wasn't any tension about exactly how far apart to stand.  People were in their proper spots, all masked, gloved and respectful.  It wasn't that long, and it moved And it gave Ciwt an opportunity to do some yoga type stretches and quiet warm ups.  (That's the beauty of yoga; you can do it anywhere, anytime).  One by one others around her in line picked up on what she was doing and pretty soon many of them were rolling their shoulders, stretching their hamstrings, standing on one leg.  Good, healthy energy, and Ciwt loved seeing that.

When she got to the door she also loved seeing how totally together TJ's was at the entry point.  One of the crew was supervising and told her when it was okay for her to enter. The cars and baskets were already! sanitized, so she could just grab whichever (or both if she wanted) and go on in.

And there was all her usual and favorite stuff.    Beginning with 
her Alstroemeria lilies!  All very orderly (for Trader Joe's...), and when she checked out she thanked the crewmember.  He said, "We've worked hard to make a trip to Trader Joe's a pleasant and smooth experience for our shoppers at this time."

Yes, so smooth, and the first outing Ciwt would call 'normal' in 8 weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Stuck --- Day 9/18

Walk: No
Distance: 0

Stuck Inside

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

No Cleaning Girl: Week 8 --- Day 9/17

Walk: No, Cleaning Again😠
Distance: Up and Down Stairs a Few Times (to take out trash), Yoga

It has become an obsession.  Today was a scheduled reading day for Ciwt - then she made the mistake of opening her oven door...

Ciwt is NOT going to do any major housework for a week!!  Really.  She is going to quit for a week!  Yes, she is.  She's not addicted  --- yet.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Empty Bay --- Day 9/16

Walk: Crissy Field!
Distance: 3.4 miles, small yoga, housework (yes, bathroom πŸ˜•)

No people or boats on the Bay either.  Somewhere between serene and strange.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Road Closed, Yay! --- Day 9/15

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 3.5 miles, Housecleaning (yes, kitchen πŸ˜‘)

Some road closures are good!  The Presidio closed some of its main arteries, and, voila, so easy to stay 6' apart.  Many of us Presidio walkers had our first free and relaxed walk in weeks. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Just Dinobird, Books and Ciwt --- Day 9/14

Walk: Hood
Distance: 2.5 miles, small yoga

Happy Independent Bookstore Day

An excerpt from Walt Whitman's diary: Every day, seclusion - every day at least two or three hours of freedom, bathing, no talk, no bonds, no dress, no books (oops), no manners....Here I realize the meaning of the old fellow who said he was seldom less alone than when alone.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Unlearning Helplessness --- Day 9/13

Walk: Short Hood
Distance: 8 blocks, small yoga, small wall ball

So far Ciwt has organized her cleaning supplies and cleaned her home 8 times, stocked her pantry and prepared several meals from scratch, polished and painted her own toes.  She's not optimistic about cutting her own hair, but, luckily in this case, she doesn't have much of that and does have many hats.  She has no hope whatsoever for tackling any tech glitches.  But, all in all,  she's on her way to unlearning helplessness - sort of.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Getty Challenge --- Day 9/12

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 4 miles

Top: Vermeer, Girl with Pearl Earring   Bottom: Talented! Getty Challenge Submitter

The Getty Museum challenged quarantined art lovers to recreate their favorite work of art using three things lying around their homes.  Even Ciwt's cats are enjoying their creative and funny responses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Non-Electric Beauty --- Day 9/11

Walk: No, busy editing
Distance: 0, Wall Ball, Yoga

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Highlights from the promised gift of Barrie and Deedee Wigmore

As Ciwt shelters in place, one thing (of many) she feels thankful for is that she is not doing it in the later 1800's during the American Arts and Crafts movement.  The handcraftsmanship of the art, furniture, wallpaper, paintings, jewelry and other artistic handicraft of that movement is often breathtakingly exquisite in its attention to and adoration of the details of nature. But the pieces are usually large, stark in their darkness, a bit cloying in all those details.  Even in the enormous Robber Baron homes many adorned, they could be stiffling and overwhelming.  The nail for Ciwt is that America had not begun to be electrified until the early 20th century so she would be sheltering in the dark, tiny in comparison to her furniture and without Comcast, Netflix, Amazon.  Oh dear. Aesthetic Beauty is one thing, but, realistically, give Ciwt machine-age modernity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Smell the Roses --- Day 9/10

Walk: Mountain Lake Birding
Distance: 4 miles

Just a photo today.   Of Ciwt's favorite street garden.  Like a trip to ancient Italy.  In full bloom.
You can smell the roses from a block away.  No need to stop, but you do to take in the beauty.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

Untethered Hat ---Day 9/9

Walk: Alta Plaza Park
Distance: 1.2 miles, Housekeeping

Philip Treacy (British, born Ireland, 1966), Spring Hat , 2003,  Straw, Turkey Feathers

From plated armor yesterday to turkey feathers cut, painted and fashioned into a delicate spring bonnet today.  In whatever form, custom made garments are works of art.  This one will be a centerpiece of Sandy Schreier's promised gift to the Metropolitan Museum's Fashion Institute.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Lovable Security --- Day 9/8

Walk: No, Sunday rest
Distance:  0, Yoga, Spin

Keeper William Seiler with Chicago Art Institute watch dogs Billo and Bella, 1938

Ciwt's recent gravitation toward ways people have handled protection brought her to a little known fact about the Art Institute of Chicago.  To wit,  before electrical alarms, the Institute used dogs to guard their priceless collection.

The dogs, all German Shepherds, were trained by hiding 'burglars' in various locations - like antique chests -around the Institute and giving them full run of every room until they located the 'culprit.'  During an entire night patrol, a full run added up to 5 miles or more which delighted the energetic dogs but could be tiring for their human.  After their shift the dogs ate a hearty breakfast, rested a bit then went to a nearby park or their large back yard at the museum to romp freely.  Meanwhile, their human likely headed for 7-8 hours of shut eye.

Prince and Peggy were the first guard couple, and they captured more hearts than gallery intruders.  In the 1930's one Chicago journalist concluded "more pictures in the newspapers have been printed of this famous pair than perhaps of any other in our country."  When both dogs succombed to old age in 1936, their passing was mourned throughout the country, and Kennel Clubs gave them special awards for their faithful service.

Luckily Prince and Peggy had litters of puppies during their ten years together.  Also fortunately three new German Shepherds - Utz von Stornfelds, Bella and Billo - were ready, willing and able to join the Institute's security team.  And soon they too became celebrities.

The dogs went elsewhere to romp at their hearts' content in 1940 when the Institute installed a security system similar to the one used at Fort Knox.  Probably more effective overall, but certainly not as beloved as the dedicated and adored dogs.

Utz von Stornfelds with keeper Bill Seiler

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Fashionable, Functional Protection --- Day 9/7

Walk: Hood
Distance: 3 Miles, Yoga Stretch

Medieval Knight and Horse in Battle Armor, Deering Family Galleries, Art Institute of Chicago
Medieval Knight and Horse in Sport Dress, Deering Family Galleries, Art Institute of Chicago

Perhaps being in shelter in place mode has Ciwt thinking about some of the ways people have protected themselves over the years.  And about her trip last Fall to the The Art Institute of Chicago where two armored figures on horseback dominate and energize the Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor.  

Standing near these armored men, all those movies with knights on horseback fade and a more real sense of the power and terror medieval warfare comes to the fore.  Also, as Ciwt looked more closely at the armor on display, she became more aware of the workmanship, brute and artistic, that went into each plated piece.

Armor for Nobleman in court of Queen Elizabeth I, forged steel and gilt, Royal Workshop, Greenwich, England

Only a high ranking English nobleman would have been granted a royal warrant for the privilege of ordering a suit of armor like all of those above.  And only such a man would have in a postion to pay for such armor; custom suits were the work of many craftsmen and expensive in the extreme.

Nor could this Knight have been in a hurry to receive his armor.  The process from being hand measured for the soft pattern of his suit  to the finished suit would take many months, at least six. Steel ingots used to make the plates needed to be imported from Ore Mountain in Austria, then at the mining site workers would smelt the iron ore with charcoal, next steel workers would fire the steel to red heat and begin shaping each individual piece.  Artists would craft the intricate, artistic designs, again in red hot conditions.

When the suit reached the Knight it would radiate status; the higher the quality of the workmanship, the more important was the Knight.  It would weigh approximately 50 pounds but also, by necessity, allow for quick movement. Any deviation from the custom pattern was extremely dangerous as it would interfere with the Knight's ability to fight and protect himself from two-handed swords, bows and arrows, crossbows, battl axes, mace, daggers, lances or whatever new weapons of war might be developed.  All in all, each commissioned suit of protective armor was a complex, near miracle of laborous, exacting, hand-tailored production.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Time Management --- Day 9/6

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 4 miles, Spin

How is it possible for Ciwt to keep running out of time these days?  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tulip Dance: Act 3 --- Day 9/5

Walk: Hood
Distance: 1 mile, Yoga, Spin

First Postion

Fifth Position


Audience is Enthralled

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Home Sweet Art (Hopefully) --- Day 9/4

Walk: Around the Block
Distance: 6 blocks, Wall Ball, Spin, Yoga

Wassily Kandinsky, Blue Segment, 1921, oil on canvas

Here's the thing about art.  Usually when Ciwt sees a work, it stimulates a variety of responses: the effect of the work itself, questions about its origin, artist, history.  One question leads to another and off Ciwt goes to find answers. Sometimes the stimulation can last for days.

Online resources these days are fabulous.  Armchair travelers like Ciwt can go to entire museums all over the world.  But for her they don't evoke 'the jab' that engages her mind and energies like the actual presence of the work.  So this is what she misses most about art in these times.

This inherent energy in an art work can be tricky if you are interested in acquiring it. It will play around with your environment, the whole feeling of your home.  A painting that moves you in a gallery setting might feel all wrong in your personal space.  Ciwt learned that the hard way several times when she first began buying art.  Same paintings, but suddenly too negative, too shrill, too exuberant when they came into her home.  The Kandinsky above is a masterpiece of motion and musical rhythm.  But imagine it in your house. 

Ciwt hates to admit it, but her favorite Matisses would probably be too strong for her environment.

Forget the 'probably' part.  Ciwt would have to move out if she owned his Harmony in Red (1908)  because it would totally take over.  But that is not a problem Ciwt will ever face.

On the other hand, her latest and gifted work, cute, zingy little Dinobird  is just perfect on her deck.  But, truth be told, Dino's photo had been viewed and discussed on line with her artist friend, K. Libbey Nash, long ahead of time. The wonderful surprise was that so much time went by that Ciwt had nearly forgotten Dino when he arrived.

So, what is Ciwt getting at here?  Just cautioning that art (all art: music, films, books, ..) hugely stimulates the brain so take your time letting it in to your home. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

No Amy: Week 6 --- Day 9/3

Walk: Yes!  Mountain Lake
Distance: 4.5 miles, stretches

Monday, April 13, 2020

Starting 9 with a (Quiet) Bang --- Day 9/2

Walk: Goldsworthy's Spire 
Distance: 2.4 miles, and the new Wall Ball(!)

Wall Ball

So, if you haven't seen one, that black and blue object is a pickleball paddle. In front of it is an orange/yellow ball waiting to be hit by Ciwt right into the middle of that blue 'U.'  It's a foam ball special ordered by Ciwt. (Minimum order was 24, so if you're interested......) One of the complaints about pickleball is how much noise the ball makes, but this one is Totally Silent so Ciwt can hit and hit and hit and miss and hit again until she's out of the shelter doldrums.

Wall Ball is an old Ciwt habit actually.  Ciwt's family had a tennis backboard, and, whenever anything was on her mind, she'd go down to it and hit and hit and miss and slam harder sometimes for hours.  It was great, so this mini-version of wall ball destressor feels great.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Now We Are Nine --- Day 9/1

Walk: No
Distance: 0, small yoga, small spin

Let's stay together and see what's ahead in CIWT Year 9.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Year 8 Comes to a Close --- Day 8/365

Walk: Nearby Hood Shops
Distance: 8 Blocks, Spin, Yoga

Thank you CIWT family and Take Care.  Year 8 has reached its last day. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Orange Energy --- Day 8/364

Walk: Short around the hood (streets crowded!)
Distance: @1 mile, 50 min spinning/pedalling, yoga

Orange* is the New Sun at Ciwt's

According to various color theories:
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.

To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Village --- Day 8/363

Walk: Yes! 
Distance: 2.3 miles

Who knows why Ciwt was so struck by this picture today.  Maybe in this time of sheltering things are sinking in more deeply.  It is of Sumba, the southernmost village of the Faroe Islands.  And it is of a way of life which goes back to @ 778 that is so utterly different from Ciwt's it confounds her.  Beautiful, rugged, raging winter storms, chain dancing and long songs are traditions, no shops, restaurants or bars, the bus must be arranged for and doesn't necessarily return in short order.

October evening

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Lockdown Exercise ? --- Day 8/362

Walk: No 😞
Distance: 0, Yoga, Pedaling

No, nothing beats walking for Ciwt.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

No Cleaning Girl Because of Lockdown: Week Five --- Day 8/361

Walk: No πŸ˜’
Distance: 0, Housecleaning

Ciwt wishes.....

Monday, April 6, 2020

Not So Little Village --- Day 8/360

Walk: 1. No  2. Hood
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 1.5 miles, Yoga

When we entered the current crisis, Ciwt wondered why so many people were travelling to and from a tiny, remote, backward village in China called Wuhan.

Well.....the answer lies in the photo above.  For armchair non-traveller, Ciwt, it was interesting to learn that Wuhan is a capital city in central China and headquaters to domestic car and steel producers.  Known as the Thoroughfare of China, Wuhan serves as a critical industrial, research and educational base as well as an integrated transport hub for the entire nation.  It's importance is far from just domestic as more than 300 of the world's top 500 companies have a presence in the city, including Microsoft, German software company SAP and French car manufacturer Groupe PSA.

Wuhan also appears to Ciwt to be aesthetically creative in engineering and architecture. See if you agree after watching this pretty amazing video.  (You'll need to "Open" bottom left after you get to the link.  Worth it πŸ˜€)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

War Houses --- Day 8/359

Walk: No (Storm)
Distance: 0, Yoga

So Ciwt has been diving into The British Are Coming, Rick Atkinson's first book in his planned trilogy on the American Revolution.  (press link for trilogy site)

As she read she remembered visiting The Jumal Morris House during her Real New York Walking Tour last Fall. So she let her fingers walk her to the extraordinary New York Public Library's digital division where she found historical prints and photos. 

Located in Harlem Heights, the William Morris house (as it was named before Jumal bought it)  served as George Washington's home and headquarters early in the war.  It is also one of the few historical houses left standing in The City.  This by sheer luck as several other famous and/or notorious people lived in the house after Washington. Usually and ruthlessly development has always taken precedence over history in The Apple. 

In the picture, you can see why The General likely chose the house.  Its slight resemblance to his beloved Mount Vernon, yes, but mostly for the unparalled view.  He was able to take out his telescope and sight all the way down to Wall Street in one direction, across the Hudson at New Jersey in another and a long way up the Hudson River Valley in a third, all three directions from which the English might attack.

Meanwhile, the very man who would have led that attack, Sir William Howe, British Army Commander-in-Chief in America, lived a mile or so downtown in at The Beekman House.  It was located at 50th Street and First Avenue on the East River, a Primo midtown location its future was likely very brief after Howe left it in 1776.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dinobird!!! --- Day 8/358

Walk: Short Hood (like we are supposed to)
Distance: 1 mile, Yoga

What is this new orange creature out on Ciwt's deck?!

Getting closer.  Hope it doesn't attack.

It's a Dinobird!!
Ciwt's artist friend, K. Libbey Nash is partnered with another artist, a sculptor who has lately been creating Bob's Birds from found objects.  All sorts of shapes and sizes, each with its own definite personality and each guaranteed to make you smile if not laugh out loud.  Even in photos which is where Ciwt saw them.

Just thinking of them brightened her day and then today, unbeknowst to Ciwt, one of them arrived at Ciwt's house!!!   What a pick me up, and how great to have a new friend on her deck during these shelter in place days.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ah, No More Close Ups for a While --- Day 8/357

Walk: No  (Taking it easy, just like Mona Lisa)
Distance: 0, Yoga (x2)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sheltering Yoga --- Day 8/356

Walk: Hood (Wine Merchant)
Distance: 1.5 miles, Pedal, Yoga

Even you non-yogi(ni)s might decide to take up the practice after watching this Instructive video.

Highly recommended for shelter in place.