Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Still Standing --- Days 9/76, 77 & 78

Walk: 1. No  2. Hood 3. Presidio
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 3.5 miles, Yoga  3. 4 Miles, Yoga

Blackened Spire way in the distance

Framed between the tree trunks, Ciwt was happy to see the charred presence of Goldsworthy's Spire still standing today. 

Her (perfect 👍 - and happenstance) centering of Spire between those trees would make the French artist Claude Lorrain (1604/5-1682) proud.  Well, probably not; Lorrain, who invented this 'split tree' framing technique had plenty of proud ego which he wasn't in the habit of sharing.  Witness the fact that he went by and is still known by his single, first name, Claude.

In his time such nomenclature was exceeding rare and allowed to only the most gifted: Michangelo, Leonardo, Rembrandt - and Claude.  What Claude did to earn his exalted contemporary reputation and place in artistic history was elevate landscape scenes from the bottom rung of the hierarchy of subjects to a genre that was avidly collected by patrons on the Grand Tour of Italy where he painted.

He did this primarily by applying to the lowly landscape the classically ordered and harmonious techniques taught by the all-powerful Academie Royale.  And then he populated his paintings with mythic, idyllic or bibilical figures and architectural elements in the ancient Greek style.  And, voila, with him, landscape began its ascendancy to the most beloved and sought after form of painting it is today.

Claude, Landscape with Dancing Figures, 1648, oil on canvas

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Home Yoga --- Day 9/75

Walk: No
Distance: 0, Yoga (x2)

Some people have elaborate yoga/meditation spaces.  Not Ciwt; hers is pretty simple, mat on top of area rug, props available.  The great thing about yoga mats is they fit just about anywhere - even bathrooms if that is only place you can find privacy and peace for your practice.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Home Deck --- Days 9/73 & 74

Walks: 1. No  2. Trader Joe's
Distance: 1. 0, yoga   2. 2 miles, yoga

Finding Home is often a near mystical experience.

In Ciwt's case, her home has split feelings.  You come to the front or street half after climbing 70 (!) stairs.  This half is classically Victorian, and, when Ciwt first followed the For Sale sign up those stairs and saw it, her reaction was 'Very nice, but ho hum.  Not home.'

Then she turned the other direction, headed down the hallway and came into a library type room (now her 'everything room') that felt decidely more modern.  Wood cased windows but lower, very light, cozy.  At the end of that room, through a glass door in a traditional frame, she saw Home! in the form of a huge deck, or a deck as large as the living room and much larger than most residential city decks anywhere.  It was instant access to the outdoors, from the top floor, safely 70 stairs up from the street.  It was nature, freedom, sanctuary, and from the moment she saw it, it became all hers.  All that was left was the paperwork as far as she was concerned.

That was forty years and several Ciwt, cat and planting lifetimes ago.  During all those times she has loved and appreciated her deck, and, certainly never more than now during our present prolonged shelter-in-place times.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Ex Spire (?), cont. --- Day 9/72

Walk: Spire, Breck's on Arguello
Distance:  4 miles

Ciwt visited the damaged Spire* today and found it meditative and peaceful in its charred state.  She is hoping the Presidio Trust can find a way to keep the sculpture standing.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Ex-Spire? --- Day 9/71

Walk: No
Distance: 0, Yoga

Andy Goldsworthy's Spire     Ablaze     6/23/20
Ciwt is very sad that one of her and San Francisco's most beloved works may be gone.*

* See CIWT 7/54, 7/55, &/71&72, 8/49

Monday, June 22, 2020

Meticulous Freshness --- Days 9/68,69 & 70

Walks: 1. Presidio  2. No  3. Hood Monday errands
Distance: 1. 3 miles, yoga  2. Yoga  3. 4 miles, yoga

Canaletto (Venice 1697- Venice 1768), The Bacino di San Marco on Ascension Day, c. 1733-4 

Sheltering at home on a foggy San Francisco summer day Ciwt's mind goes to Venice and the galaxy of artists who have have taken its ancient splendors and pearly light as subject. Amongst the many who have captured its canals, palaces and people, perhaps the most well known and beloved is Venetian born Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto.

The Venice Canaletto painted had declined from her former eminence as a maritime and commercial power. And her High Renaissance greats, Titian, Tintoreto, Veronese had long since passed away.  Venice had become more of a theatrical city by Canaletto's time, devoted to luxury, filled with political corruption, cherishing its pageantry and intrigues.  And Canaletto was a master at capturing in extraordinary detail the full sweep of its azure canals, slightly decayed architecture, and ongoing carnival atmosphere.

His stunning compositions, freshness of touch and flair for color made Canaletto the darling of international travelers on their Grand Tours, particularly the English. Later, in the 18th century Catherine the Great and other European monarchs competed with each other to acquire his top works. That the British Royal Collection in London contains the finest and largest group of paintings, drawings and prints is no accident because they were bought directly from Canaletto's greatest patron, Joseph Smith, by none other than a young George III.  And to this day his sparkling and easily recognizable views of Venice remain beloved among collectors and museums goers - and a balm for foggy - as well as sunny - days.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Live and Learn (Kind of...) --- Day 9/68

Walk: Hood
Distance: 3 Miles, small yoga

Another new skill (besides cooking 👎) Ciwt is a bit slow at acquiring is how to fit in at Zoom get togethers.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tell the Chef *#!*## --- Day 9/67

Walk: No, on phone with Apple
Distance: 0, Yoga x 3

Ciwt knows exactly how this dog feels.  Every night these days she's thinking "Send this back to the kitchen!"  But, unfortunately, she's the chef.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Return to the Roads --- Days 9/65 & 66

Walk: 1. No 2.Hood and Joe's
Distance: 1.Yoga  2. 2 miles, Yoga

Now that we are partially open for business in San Francisco, Ciwt is amazed at how much she - and others - have forgotten about proper walking and driving in these past months.

Monday, June 15, 2020

With Books We Grow --- Day 9/64

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. Monday errands
Distance: 1. 3 miles, Yoga  2. 4 miles, Yoga

Minneapolis Central Library, Built 1889, 10th and Hennepin

It's a wonder Ciwt likes libraries so much when she looks at an old photo of the kind of creepy one she 'grew up' with.  It was downtown which was a huge trek in many ways from her homogeneous surburban world.  And not many people Ciwt knew ever went there.  

She did because she was fascinated.  There were always many people sitting the library's stone castle steps.  And they were visibly different in various ways from those she saw every day in her home town and school.  Just seeing these people opened Ciwt's consciousness, and she liked that they seemed to feel safe and welcome there.  Like she was.  

Minneapolis Central Library, Opened 1961, 4th and Nicollet 

By 1961 Ciwt was away at boarding school so she wasn't in Minneapolis when they finally decided 
the old library was overcrowded and out of date and built a new one.  Looks to her like the people would have gathered on the outside square in nicer weather; she wonders where they went in the much more common colder weather.  She also thinks she would have needed the "Guide to the New Public Library"   the 1961 library offered because the building included a library, a planetarium, an auditorium and a small museum which became famous among school children for its Egyptian mummies.

Building Two was also built like (an ugly Ciwt thinks) tank that took wreckers a long time to wrestle down when Minneapolis engaged Caesar Pelli to design the present Minneapolis Central Library.

Minneapolis Central Library, Caesar Pelli, Architect.  Opened 2006, in site of 1961 building

The "New Central" has over 300 internet computers for use by the public, a huge atrium (where maybe the people hang out), a 'green' roof and a host of energy efficient measures.  It bills itself as having the 'third largest per capita collection of any major American city with a collection of more than 2.4 million items - including books, DVDs, music and government documents.'  Which makes Ciwt wonder how soon it might outgrow this current iteration.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Home We Shelter In --- Day 9/63

Walk: No, Day off for books
Distance: 0 - just exercising eyes and brain, Yoga

Some people are happy turning their decorating (including bookshelves) over to professionals.  Not Ciwt. At this point, her home is her history, a sort of homage to herself.  Nothing is here that hasn't evolved into its right place - for her.

Unfortunately sheltering in place without her housekeeper Amy has brought Ciwt face to face with some of the wear and tear she's been able to overlook.  When she wasn't so eyeball to paint, appliances, fabrics around her home she could just occuply herself with her clothes closet capers.  The rest was stage setting. Now she sees there's lots that could be done to update some of that scenery.

Some might say all of it.  But that feels like disturbing a fabric that has taken years to weave into wholecloth. Where would she start?  Or does she start at all? Coming up with answers opens the door to larger questions like where is she in her life now? 

All of us are at home these days, and probably many who have lived in their homes for a long time are having similar thoughts.  Wonder what we'll decide.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Along for the Ride --- Days 9/61 & 62

Walk: 1. No  2. Presidio and Hood
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 4.5 miles, Yoga

Like many other people in this very changed city at this very, - what?, unique, unexpected, arduous - time, Ciwt wonders how to respond.  This isn't the city she or they moved to.

Starting with its overnight Gold Rush history, San Francisco has been no stranger to change.  But often there was a buoyancy accompanying the upheavals.  And somehow control was wrested over each new incarnation. Now it seems control has been lost along with almost the 'whole enchilada.'

Several people she knows have left.  Her next door neighbors just put their house on the market after spending years and millions of dollars remodeling it.  An art gallery owner and hood mainstay moved with his wife to the gorgeous Santa Barbara.  Her brother has been on her for years to at least get a place in Palm Springs.

But deep at heart, Ciwt is loyal; she really isn't a mover and probably would never have left her home town if she hadn't been sent to boarding school.  Another story - fraught but with a happy San Francisco ending.  San Francisco has been to place that offered her the most freedom to expand in her way - and in ways that would have been nearly impossible to achieve in that home town. The City, including the whole Bay Area, marched her right into herself, often in spite of herself.  She held onto her hat, and when the dust settled, she looked around and said "Wow; actually that was a good way to grow." 

San Francisco's unceasing momentum is still at play, but now it feels precarious.  What will the city become?  What about Ciwt's individual life here - same question.  And, for now, her particular answer is...... "We'lllll see....."  She's staked her claim.  Or, as Tony Bennet would croon......♫♫

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Worth Remembering --- Day 9/60

Walk: Hood
Distance:  2 miles, Yoga
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)

From Susan Orlean's The Library Book:

The general public didn't really agree on the value of public libraries until the end of the nineteenth century.  Before that, libraries were viewed as scholarly and elite, rather than an indispensable and democratic public resource.  Many public libraries still had membership fees.  The change of attitude began with the philanthropy of Scottish businessman Andrew Carnegie, who launched a library-building project in 1890.  Carnegie was born in Scotland and then emigrated to the United States.  His father was a weaver, and the family teetered between poverty and modest comfort throughout his childhood.  As a young boy he had little money to spare; for instance, he couldn't afford the two-dollar membership fee for the local library.  Eventually, he made a fortune in steel and railroads, and at one time was the richest man in the world.  When he reached middle age, he decided to commit the last third of his life to giving away his money.  The disappointment of not being able to afford the local library had stuck with him, and he chose libraries as one of the main beneficiaries of his philanthropy.  He offered large grants to build libraries in communities that would commit to supporting them with tax revenues.  Towns and cities began lobbying to get Carnegie funding, and the process of applying had the effect of rallying interest and support for public ibraries.  Carnegie ended up building nearly 1,700 libraries in 1,400 communities.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Always Remember... --- Day 9/59

Walk: Presidio and Hood
Distance: 5 miles, Yoga

Monday, June 8, 2020

First Get in Motion --- Day 9/58

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

So Ciwt has always tended to be an afternoon exerciser.  Occasionally mid-day.  But in the last few days she's taken her (beloved) walk first thing (or so) in the morning. The object was to avoid congestion, have as much space as possible.  But, unexpectedly, it also made her days feel smoother, more easily productive.  Yes, on the morning walks there had been fewer people/more freedom/more walking enjoyment, but the results felt beyond those things. 

Then today she read a passage by a Swedish man whose family began every day with a walk before releasing the children to do whatever they wanted with the rest of the day.

"You may play inside now," my mother would say, smiling.  We had been nomadic for a brief period and were allowed to be civilized again.  It was a principle we had been raised to follow: if you want to sit still, first you have to move around.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

(Im)possible Lament Response -- Days 9/56 & 57

Walk: 1. no  2. hood
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 3 miles, Yoga

Yes, maybe Ciwt could have San Francisco to herself if she walks very early every morning.  But then there is the doing it.....😒

Friday, June 5, 2020

Lament --- Days 9/53 & 54

Walk: 1. Hood  2. No 
Distance: 1. 3.4, Yoga  2. 3 Blocks to garage and exercising her car, Yoga

For Ciwt every walk is an adventure.  Even the ones when she's forced herself to lace up her Asics and is traveling the same route she's walked countless times.  Very shortly after setting out something (a graden maybe) looks different or there's a new feeling in the air, or thoughts get triggered that haven't been before, and once again she feels like she's adventuring through and with the world.

Until recently, and here (after health) lies the main on-going stress of these virus times for her.  Now, because we need to be constantly wary, masked and and mindful when we walk, walking has become akin to going to the gym and doing those good-for-you but uninspiring reps.  Much as Ciwt tries to construct a sense of adventure, she can't get into it, and nd she often returns home a bit agitated and sometimes even relieved to just have the walk over.

This - exercise for the sake of exercise - is not the relationship she wants with walking.  It's no fun, and she misses the fun and the connection.  Deeply.  The freedom, the exploring, the exercising, the sense of "Hello, World!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

One Thought at a Time --- Day 9/52

Walk:  Post Office
Distance: 2.5 miles, Yoga

Maybe Ciwt mentioned that she's slowly getting the knack of reading more than one book at a time.
That is, reading a few chapters/pages/whatever of one book, then going on to another.

Here's an unexpected something she has realized by adopting this system:  the author's thoughts sink in more deeply.  It seems to her many authors tend to group concepts and at the end of a paragraph, section or chapter, they have often laid out a point they are trying to make. It could be an aspect of a character, portrait of an historical personage, a philosophical idea, an important plot development.  Whatever it is, the author is organized around it for a certain passage of paragraphs, pages, chapters.

In 'regular,' start to finish reading Ciwt would go from one of these passages to the other. One after the other taking in the concepts but also eagerly moving ahead to what was next.  In the new, more focused, multi-book type of read, Ciwt notices that she spends more mental time with what the author has been saying for the pages she's read.

Subtle, but interesting she thinks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Got Books? --- Day 9/51

Walk: No, Too hot
Distance: 0, Yoga

Ciwt is trying to recall what media person or program would have been talking books in the late 1970's.  That's when she and her partner owned a bookstore in a mountain ski resort.  Books were so unusual in that state and place at the time that some people would panic when they came through the door.  Ciwt wasn't sure what to do about that, and it was her partner who suggested greeting cards.  Sure enough.  As soon as a spinning rack of cards was installed, the 'book scared' happily darted right over to them - and added to the profits of the store.

For the 'book lovers,' it was harder to solve the problem that would ensue when there was a sudden run on a particular book.  People we were trying to entice actually called ahead or came in droves to secure the title.  It was great in some ways - clientele! - but difficult in others because a small bookstore can only afford to stock 'x' number of copies of one book - shelf space-wise and monetarily. Every book brought in is ordered sight unseen months ahead of time and a gamble.

What was going on on those book rush days?  Ciwt actually came up with the answer to this:  the now forgotten media person or program had featured that book that morning.  The fix wasn't easy.  Some people could be persuaded to special order the book, wait for its arrival and support their local (and only!) bookstore.  Others would lecture us owners having to 'serve locals' like their home - meaning big city/copious shelf space - store did.  One man actually sent his private pilot through the skies to his home store whenever these rushes happened and brought them immediately upon their personal arrival to show (humiliate) Ciwt and her partner.

From title to entitlement.  Oh well. 

Now what was the name of that program or star?

Monday, June 1, 2020

Shared Gardener? --- Days 9/49 & 9/50

Walk: 1. No 2. Hood and Joe's
Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 3.5 Miles, Yoga

These three street gardens are right next to each other, and each one is an artistic jewel.  Ciwt suspects the owners share a gardener, a very talented gardener.