Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021 --- Days 10/30 & 31

Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball  2. No

Distance: 1. 2.5 miles, 1 hr. pickle, yoga  2. Yoga

Often Ciwt goes to the moving Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony at the Presidio National Cemetery, but this year it was canceled.  So she joined others on line for the interfaith memorial service at the Presidio Chapel.  Always a special day of grateful remembrance.  

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Back At The Flicks! --- Days 10/28 & 29

Walk: 1. Presidio Social Club, Crissy Field  2. AMC Kabuki (A Quiet Place II)

Distance: 1. 6 miles  2. 3.3 miles

So Ciwt went to the movies!  There may have been a couple of others there.  She can't be sure because she sits toward - sometimes at - the front.  The theater was spotless and very well organized with assigned seats and care taken to assure proper spacing (if there had been more in the audience).  And of course the screen was enormous, the sound surround and it didn't take a moment of Zoom-like concentration to sit back in her lounge chair and enjoy being immersed in another world.  It felt great and relieving to be at one of her favorite escapes after more than a year, and she says to movie buffs wherever you are,  "Try it, you'll like it!"  9You'll also be doing your part in keeping our big screens alive).

Also for a (dystopian) suspense/thriller getaway she can recommend the movie she saw:  A Quiet Place, Part II.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The "Perfect" Cure --- Days 10/26 & 27

Walk: 1. Presidio  2. Hood

Distance: 1. 4.4 miles, yoga  2. 4.2 miles, yoga

So, Ciwt was going to take a trip to the place where she grew up.  But today she canceled it.  Lots of real world reasons, mostly related to the fact that it really is too soon to travel for many of us unless it is a necessity. At least to take a longish plane trip.  For openers (and closers actually), the state she was going to has a no mask policy while Ciwt's state is still masking, social distancing etc., and Ciwt feels safest with that for now.  

Seems a rational, sensible decision, but, because it concerns the place of her childhood, not going is confusing.  By doing what feels safest and most comfortable (and sane) to her, is she being a good enough friend?, community member?, citizen of the world? human being?  It is fraught - home - and Ciwt struggles to finally, finally not get confused by it, nail it down, get over it. And she found a poem today that seems helpful.


Albert Huffstickler

We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to “get over” a life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things
and be then not any less pain but true to form.
Because anything natural has an inherent shape
and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we’re looking for:
not the end of a thing but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
without obliterating (getting over) a single
instant of it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Something To Do - Intermittently --- Day 10/25

Walk: GG Park Pickleball

Distance: 1.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle. yoga

The day begins with vitamins and Water, really (desktop computer on right)

Ciwt is going to give an 'intermittent fast' diet a try. No eating until noon or after 8 pm.  Something to do. We'll see.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Pillow? Caper --- Day 10/24

Walk: Monday errands

Distance: 4 miles, yoga

Oh dear, just when Ciwt needs a couple of new ones, why do sleeping pillows have to look so different from when she was growing up.?

Sunday, May 23, 2021

All Subverted --- Day 10/23

Walk: Presidio Pickleball Courts

Distance: 2.4 miles, Yoga, Just a few games of pickle 

Paulina Olowska (Polishm born 1976), Portrait of the Artist - indoors, 2012, oil, ink,transparency on linen 

So, Ciwt felt a bit subverted by the newly hung walls at SFMOMA the other day.  "Subvert," that's the recent art and other arenas buzz word intentionalty used wrong by subversive Ciwt.  It means undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution), or topple, destabilize, unsettle, etc.  You get it, and, if you are like Ciwt, you've heard and seen quite enough of it these days.

There were several galleries at SFMOMA that felt to Ciwt like glorified street fairs, filled with artists she'd never heard of.  And there's part of the subversion.  It used to be that there was quite an exacting route to museum walls.  Artists had to have some combination of  talent, excellent training, patrons, approval by prestigious galleries and finally by the highly educated and powerful museum honchos.  In the 50's, when the art center moved to New York from Paris, that system began to crack in earnest.  There were the huge, macho, self-expressive canvases of the 'Ab Exs,' then Warhol opened the door to 'museum quality' art even farther showing that artists could make their own careers and command enormous prices through things like wild parties, equally wild movies, (women's) magazines.  They became such media stars museums looked out of it if they didn't put their work on the walls.  

Now it seems there are other - and international - routes to museums that Ciwt knows nothing about.  And many of them are "Subversive" according to the signage.  Some of this subversive art Ciwt has seen at other museums are simply gross, apparently meant to disgust and shock. But that wasn't the case at SFMOMA.  Many of their newly hung (or otherwise displayed) art works are beautifully executed, engaging and thought-provoking, even in their 'subversiveness.'  

For instance, the work at the top by Polish artist Paulina Olowska. It is finely crafted (with cats to please Ciwt), but, wow, the signage: Olowska embeds her compostions with forgotten figures from overlooked histories.  This work depicts the Mexican poet and painter Carmen Mondragon (1893-1978), also known as Nahui Olin, a fashion and cultural icon who posed for such artists as Diego Rivera, Tina Modotti, and Edward Weston.  Olowska complicates the depiction in several ways.  The central figure is based on a picture by the fashion photographer Norman Parkinson - not of Olin, but of another woman. The plates on the wall are decorated with images of the artist and her lovers, a nod to Olowska's own ceramic work, while the collaged cats evoke the artist's preoccupation with these animals  

Or this striking work by Guyanese artist, Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling (Guyanese, born 1934), Elder Sun Benjamin, 2018, Acrylic paint, synthetic resin, cut and pasted canvas, fabric, and photographs on canvas

Very affecting work, but, again, look at the extensive signage:  This work is named for the artist's oldest son, Benjamin, whose likeness emerges from the two photographs collaged onto the canvas, barely visible in the thick layers of yellow paint.  Also pasted onto the surface are strips of Asian textiles his grandson purchased in Zambia, weaving the artist's personal lineage and experience with broader histories of migration and cross-cultural exchange.  The ocular forms of the photographs recall the artists quote, "I don't think what you see or reel in the world when you open your eyes for first time ever lieaves you..Historical memory is hardly ever erased.

Can't Ciwt just enjoy or be intrigued by the work and research it (or take an art tour 😉) on her own if she wants to learn more about it or the artist?  Like just reading a poem?

Ciwt also wonders things like 1. Does this artist have a body of work similar to what Ciwt is looking at or is this just one good work? Ie, is there consistency and maturity here? 2. Is the museum showing this work primarily because the artist is local?  Or international?  Or an overlooked Sunday painter? 3. How much of a role do museums play in advancing local (or international) artists?  4. Similarly, is the art work displayed to advance or articulate a political statement or promote a cause?  5. Should museums be respites from politics or part of the political media? 6. Do viewers want to/benefit from seeing many of the same, 'accepted,' dazzlingly expensive 'in club' artists museum after museum?  

7.Does Ciwt want to walk into a green museum 

Olafur Eliasson, Danish-Icelandic, born 1967, One-way colour tunnel, 2007,stainless steel, acrylic color-effect filters, acrylic mirrors, paint, and wire

and out of a  blue/pink one - all or mildly  'subverted' - like she did in with Olafur Eliasson's glorious light tunnel?  

Questions without answers for now.  Probably for museums as well.  Everyone's a bit subverted she suspects.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Have Can, Will Travel --- Day 10/22

Walk: T. Joe's

Distance: 2.5 miles

Pretty amazing what taggers can do overnight.  This closed restaurant and parking lot is right next to 'Ciwt's' Trader Joe's, and those walls were blank just a few days ago.  

If the 'artist' got a legal permt from the property owner, it can stay.  But, if not, he/she is considered a vandal and subject to pretty severe consequences. Good, thinks Ciwt.  She enjoys our terrific, legal murals around San Francisco, but, otherwise prefers to see her art in museums, galleries, street fairs and homes.  

Friday, May 21, 2021

Form: Simple and Colorful --- Day 10/21

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 2.5 miles, 90 minutes pickle, Yoga

Milton Avery (American, 1885-1965), White Rooster, 1947, o/c, 61 1/2 x 50 3/4" 

Ciwt just likes this painting and in general the intimately charming and colorful work of Milton Avery, a truly original, self-taught American painter.  

Marc Rothko, one of several artists who befriended Avery in New York City in the 30's and 40's liked him too and once said of his work: What was Avery's repertoire? His living room, Central Park, his wife Sally, his daughter March, the beaches and mountains where they summered; cows, fish heads, the flight of birds; his friends and whatever world strayed through his studio: a domestic, unheroic cast. But from these there have been fashioned great canvases, that far from the casual and transitory implications of the subjects, have always a gripping lyricism, and often achieve the permanence and monumentality of Egypt.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Oh, Son, would you.... --- Day 10/20

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4.3 miles, Yoga

So the other day Ciwt realized she hadn't heard from a friend for a while.  Concerned that her friend had been overtaken by languishment - or worse - Ciwt texted her to learn a bit more about the silence.

Well, not only was Ciwt's friend not languishing, she had been busy completing a list of 22! household projects with her son.  'With' probably meaning she stood and watched her son.  And did Ciwt mention her son lives across the country?  

'They' fixed all those daily glitches that can drive you nuts: doorbell that doesn't ring, smart tv you've forgotten how to communicate with, hard to reach ceiling lights that have burned out, doors that no longer close.   And 18 more until everything on the list had been scratched off (see above) and they both 'felt great.'  It sounded fun and fabulous.  Although, truthfully, one part of Ciwt was happy for her friend and another part felt a teensy bit sorry for Ciwt because all she has are cats.  If she handed them a list, they'd either bat it around or shred it. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Happy and Silent Anniversary --- Day 10/19


Distance: 3 miles, Yoga


So, to celebrate its Fifth Anniversary in its expanded and reconfigured building, our Museum of Modern Art opened its doors for certain members today. (Maybe ones with names beginning with "C"?)  The hours of the event were noon to 5 pm, and since Ciwt hasn't been there in over a year, she decided to go first thing.  Well, not first; three others went through the doors before her.  She's not sure where they went, but it felt to Ciwt that she had the enormous and silent space entirely to herself.  It was quite lovely.

She walked down an empty corrridor where she took the museum up on their invitation to 'Watch This Space' through a viewing window.  Several museum personnel and some heavy eqquipment were working hard on mounting a huge new exhibition.

Then it was up the stairs to the always delightful Calder Room - and, oh my goodness, another person!

After taking in the galleries by herself for an hour or so it was lunch hour, and she went to the space where we were invited to have food and refreshments.  Of course, that's where there were many other members!  And lots of outdoor sculpture garden space so we could enjoy ourselves on a lovely day.

Like so many places for all of us, after a year+ of being away, part SFMOMA seemed to Ciwt like a space she's never seen before and part felt like an old friend.  So, Ciwt will let that renewed encounter sort itself out and be back to you with her impressions.  Stay tuned please.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Street Garden Supreme --- Day 10/18

Walk: Presidio, Golden Gate Park

Distance: 2 miles, 90 minutes pickle, yoga

Ah the joys of our street gardens. Ciwt readers have seen this house before.  With scary but somehow stylish Halloween ghouls, perfect pumpkins all in a row, festive red bows and flowers.  And then, this day, pure white for tulip season.  Just flawless everyday and such a treat to walk by.  


Monday, May 17, 2021

Night Time is the Right Time (for some) --- Day 10/17

Walk: Monday errands

Distance: 3 cold, windy miles, Yoga

Vincent Van Gogh, Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888,  31.8" x 25.7", o/c

So, Ciwt bought a plane ticket to go to a life celebration for someone she knew.  She was to land at a pleasant late afternoon time which would be perfect for a leisurely settling into a socially distanced, covid restricted  hotel and eating a light dinner outside.  Then she started receiving "airline updates" for her flight which have her lucky to find her way to her hotel by 10 p.m.  And now the governor of the state she's visiting has lifted All covid restrictions - no masks, no social distancing, life celebrations are come one, come all.  

Quite the shock for Ciwt who has been living under strict covid mandates for over a year.  And did she mention she dislikes flying?   Looks like she'll need to give the airline and those expecting her an "update."

So what does all this have to do with the beloved and second-most reproduced painting above? (Van Gogh's Starry Night is first) Well, it makes Ciwt wish she could be carefree about when her plane lands, etc and was as in love with night as Vincent Van Gogh.  As he wrote his sister from Arles shortly after completing Cafe Terrace at Night, "...the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." It also surfaced his deep and abiding religious impulses.  In another letter to his brother, Theo, he wrote "I have an immense need for (should I use the word) religion; and then I go out at night into the open and paint the stars.."

And look at that star-filled sky!  Who could not find hope and comfort in its twinkling, radiant energy. And such a contrast from the cafe's more harsh artificial lighting which was relatively new to Arles at the time. (Paris itself had only been lit at night since around 1853).

The cafe where Van Gogh set up his easel and painted during the nights in 1881 is still there.  It was refurbished to replicate the painting and renamed Cafe Van Gogh in 1991.   Maybe when Ciwt's a more relaxed traveler, she'll take a trip to it.  But she's a day person and won't go at night.

Cafe Van Gogh, Arles, France

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Early Voting --- Day 10/16

Walk: No

Distance: Yoga

So far, Ciwt is voting for Bill Whitaker 


Or Ken Jennings 

for the new Host of Jeopardy.  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Personally,........ --- Day 10/15

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 4.4 Miles, small yoga

Hmmmm, Ciwt may have to give this no mask thing a little while...

Friday, May 14, 2021

No Eyesore Here --- Day 10/14

Walk: Goodwill

Distance: Just a few blocks, Yoga

Ciwt had never seen anyone do this before so stopped to take a picture.  The people who are "remodeling" (read essentially rebuilding) this house down from Ciwt have created a huge wooden wall painting of what their property will soon look like.  Very thoughtful to hide the construction - and expensive!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Love in Glass -- Day 10/13

Walk: Drizzly, windy hood

Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

Marc Chagall, Orphee, mosaic, Georgetown, D.C. (now at National Gallery of Art)

Darn!  When Ciwt was reading about Bella Rosenfeld Chagall, she learned she had once lived just blocks away from a Chagall mosaic in Georgetown.  It was in a hidden garden, but just maybe, Ciwt would have been invited to see it.  Oh, but then Ciwt read a bit further and realized she had left Georgetown well before the mosaic was installed plus now she can see it at the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden.

Chagall created the 10 x 17' mosaic as a wedding present in 1968 for John and Evelyn Steffanson Nef, art lovers and collectors extrordinaire.  As Evelyn explained their deep friendship with the Chagalls: My husband was a professor at the Univeristy of Chicago.  John invited Chagall to take part in a symposium - and they found they had friends in common.  The Chagalls stayed for a time with us.  He found that he could buy art supplies at Woolworth's; all the neighbors were thrilled with him.  When the mosaic (which was designed in France and  created in Italy) was installed, the Nefs celebrated with the 84-year-old Chagall present.

Following Evelyn's death in 2009, the mosaic was donated to the National Gallery of Art.  It is the first of Chagall's large scale outdoor mosaics in this country.  Thanks to the Nefs introducing Chagall to the man who spearheaded the commission, it was soon followed by the renowned Four Seasons in Chicago. Of course, Marc and Bella are lovingly together in both the gorgeous mosaics.

Evelyn Nef and Garden Architect, James van Sweden, in front of Marc Chagall's Georgetown mosaic, Orphee

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Gifted Bride --- Day 10/12

Walk: Windy hood

Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

Marc Chagall, Bella with White Collar, 1917 

So much of Marc and Bella Rosenfeld Chagall's story is remarkable one hardly knows how to begin.

First there was the purely coincidental, electric, love at first sight and forever meeting in St. Petersburg where they both happened to be visiting.  In My Life, Chagall described his first meeting her: "Her silence is mine, her eyes mine. It is as if she knows everything about my childhood, my present, my future, as if she can see right through me." Bella later wrote, of meeting him, "When you did catch a glimpse of his eyes, they were as blue as if they’d fallen straight out of the sky. They were strange eyes … long, almond-shaped … and each seemed to sail along by itself, like a little boat."

Then there was the fact that Bella Rosenfeld in her own right was as ambitious and talented as her future husband.  Shortly after they met, Marc carried her in his soul to Paris as his muse and soon became one of the pioneers of modern art. Instead of pining,  Bella, already a serious student and budding writer, left her family in Vitebsk to attend university in Moscow where she studied history, philosophy and literature and supplemented her studies by contributing articles to a local Moscow newspaper.  To say her accomplishments were rare for a Russian Jewish girl would be an understatement.  In the Russian Empire at that time Jewish children weren't allowed to study at regular Russian schools or universities.  The fact that Bella's father was a wealthy jeweller probably made the difference, but Bella's drive and talents were all her own.  At one point she aspired to be an actress and studied under none other than Stanislavski.  

In 1914 love, and enough artistic success to convince Bella's skeptical family he would be a suitable husband,  brought Marc back to Vitebsk to marry Bella.  His thought was probably to return to Paris which he had already adopted and where he was stimulated and well liked by the lively artistic community.  But the new couple was trapped in Russia by the outbreak of World War I followed almost immediately by the Russian Revolution and Civil War, and shortly official opinion of what was proper proletarian art made Marc's work, even his set designs, unwelcome in Russia.

So by 1922 the Chagalls left Russia with their 5 year old daughter, Ida, never to return.  And, in many ways, never to be able to settle. They watched in horror from afar through the 1920s and 30s as the Jewish homeland of their youth was systematically destroyed first by the Communists then by the Nazis. At one point, at and at the very last moment, Bella rolled up Marc's paintings and the small family made an escape to the United States.  Marc was welcomed to New York City where his art was already admired and sought after.  But he didn't speak English and was never at ease there, comfortable only when he left their mid-town apartment and went to the Lower East Side where he could have delicious bread and speak Yiddish.  

Bella had neglected her writing for motherhood and to support Marc's art, but returned to it during her years of exile in New York.  Most notably she wrote a lyrical memoir in Yiddish, Burning Lights, about her childhood in Vitebsk.  Then, beyond sadly, in 1944 she died of a throat infection that could have been cured with antibiotics had they not been in exceedingly short supply because of World War II.

As all who are acquainted with Marc Chagall's work know, Bella continued to be his muse and joyfully flew with him in his canvases and other works for the rest of his life.  

Marc Chagall painting Bella at his Paris atelier as their daughter, Ida, watches

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Still Floating (Bella and Ciwt) --- Days 10/9, 10 & 11

Walk: 1. No  2. Presidio Wall Pickleball, Trader Joe's  3. Goldman Tennis Center, GG Park

Distance: 1. Yoga  2. 4 miles, 1 hour pickle  3. 2.5, 2 hours pickle

Marc Chagall, Romeo and Juliet, 1964, Lithograph

Have you ever wondered who that woman is that floats through so much of Marc Chagall's art?   

Meet Bella.  Chagall did in St. Petersburg in 1909 when he and Bella happened to be visiting friends. He was 22; she was 14, and their young love lasted beyond Bella's death in 1944 and in Marc's heart until he died in 1985.   

Chagall's vibrant, joyous colors and the continual airiness of his images suggest that that long love affair and marriage was blessed with near perfect harmony and dancing peace.  That goes to Chagall's masterful understanding of color and belies the fact that their relationship was called up to endure and rise above multiple and turmultuous events.

Ciwt will tell something of those tomorrow.

Marc Chagall, The Circus, ca 1954, lithograph

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Ungrounded --- Days 10/7 & 8

Walk: 1. TJ's, Presidio Pickleball, Apothaquarium; 2. Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 1. 4.8 miles, couple of pickleball games, some yoga;  2. 2.4 miles, more pickle games, stretches

Rene Magritte, Golconda, 1953, o/c, 31.9" x 39.37"

For unknown reasons Ciwt is feeling a bit up in the air these days.  

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Art World Folk Tale --- Day 10/6

Walk: No (too windy, little Ciwt would blow over)

Distance: Yoga

Janet Sobel, 1893-1968, painting at her Brooklyn home

Once upon a time there was a married woman in her early 40's who picked up a paintbrush for the first time.  She lay down on the floor of her Brooklyn living room and began painting images that reminded her of the people and  folk and fairy tales when she was a little girl named Jennie Olechovsky in Ukraine.

Janet Sobel, Untitled, c. 1941, watercolor and gouche on paper

 Pretty soon the people in her paintings started blending with the colorful vegetation around them.

Janet Sobel, Disappointment, 1943, oil and sand on canvas, 25 x 29.5"

Until they became rhythmic drips of paint pulsing with the vibrating energy of abundant life. 

Janet Sobel (1893-1968)- Milky Way, 1945. Enamel on canvas. 44 7/8 x 29 7/8"

Then, in 1946, a famous art dealer, Peggy Guggenheim gave this artist, now named Janet Sobel, a one person show in New York.  And, as luck would have it, the exceedingly powerful art critic, Clement Greenberg, brought the fairly unknown artist, Jackson Pollock, to the show where they saw Sobel's vibrant, inventive splashed paint work.  And the rest was history.

For Pollack whose new "drip paintings" along with Greenburg's tireless backing, soon catapulted him to international fame and notoriety.  

Sobel moved with her husband and five children to New Jersey and kept painting in basic obscurity as "an outsider," essentially an imprecise art term for self-taught as opposed to academy-trained artists.  

Was this tale a tragedy for Sobel?  Many might say so.  But did she want fame and recognition?  What would it have done to her marriage in that era?  Was she ultimately more content without dealers and collectors looking over her shoulder, having the privacy which allowed her immensely complex, layered and intense creations  to flow organically onto the canvas?  

Ciwt wonders.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Gorgeous, Sad Walls --- Day 10/5

Walk: Polk Street

Distance: 3 miles, small yoga

Ciwt doesn't often mention in food-obsessed San Francisco that she's not that interested in food.  Surviving in a tasty way, Yes!  But she enjoys most anything that is brought to the table and is not a foodie.

So the Legion of Honor's current (and Grand Lockdown Reopening!) exhibition, Last Meal at Pompeii,  was a bit of a challenge for her.  First, it focuses on all things food: cooking and eating utensils, tableware, dining furniture, sculptures of food, and, ugh, actual ash-covered, petrified food.  Second, much of  what she was viewing was at Pompeii the moment all life forms were instantaneously extinquished by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius 24 August, AD 79.  

In all that food and ruination what began to stand out for her was an art form she had never particularly noticed before: the painted walls.  Still so lively, richly colored and beautiful even in ancient, fragmented form.

Fresco Depicting a Woman, Roman, Pompeii, 1st Century AD

Turns out the history of Roman painting is essentially a history of wall painting on plaster.  And, really, it is glorious.  

The wonder of these frescoes having survived the vast destruction of Vesuvius - which buried much of the region around the Bay of Naples including  the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum - must be due in large part to the elaborate methods and materials that were employed in their creation.  Wall painters at the time inserted sheets of lead in the walls to prevent moisture from them from attacking the paint.  Then they applied as many as seven layers of plaster on top of which they worked in marble powder which accounts for the mirror like sheen and luster still visible today.

As if that wasn't complex enough, there was the creation of colors for the frescoes.  The red you see above was derived either from cinnabar, red ocher, or from heating white lead.  Ocher was extracted from mines and served for yellow.  Blue was made from mixing sand, purple was usually (and impossibly thinks Ciwt) obtained from sea welks and that deep black below was drawn from carbon created by burning brushwood or pine chips.

Fresco with siren, sea monsters, and niche on black ground, Roman, AD 50-79

Such intricate, advanced techniques, such care and artistic skill!  Sad to see the frescoes after the cataclysmic circumstances that froze them in the past.  But much appreciation and admiration to the artists and artisans who created this timelessly beautiful wall art.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Wow, They Don't Succ --- Day 10/4

 Walk: Legion of Honor for Last Supper at Pompeii Exhibition, GG Pickleball

Distance: 2.5 miles, Yoga, 1 Hour Pickleball

Faithful readers may remember that Ciwt is not that fond of succulents. But this colorful little sidewalk garden full of them goes a long way toward bringing her around.  Just in time since we are in need of drought tolerant vegetation out here.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Sports Column --- Day 10/3

Walk: Presidio Pickleball!  Monday errands

Distance: 3.5 miles, just a few careful games pickle, yoga

So in the past Ciwt has avoided those two and half evenings of prime time television devoted to the NFL draft.  But this year, the wind, cold and her recovering back had kept her mostly inside and exausting all her reading and puttering energies. What else was there to do except watch the draft?

You know, it was fun and heartwarming!  Those boys were so impossibly young, so awestruck, and their families were either dazed in excitement or in joyful, relieved tears.  So many years of who knows how many sacrifices had led to this moment.  You couldn't help but wish them all the best while also knowing this was their first step into the real, grueling, often painful and  punishing world of pro football. Some of those kids might some day be Hall of Famers and others, perhaps most, will have other fates.

And speaking of sports, Ciwt is happy to report she was back on the pickleball court today.  Not for long and quite gingerly, but, even that little went a long way toward 'unlanguishing' her.  Fingers crossed...

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Never Too Late --- Day 10/2

Walk: Artist friend, Lorna Strotz's art exhibition at Piedmont Art Walk

Distance: Not far in lovely Piedmont, small yoga.  Nice, relaxing day with actual people

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Ciwt was a bit shocked when Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for Best Actor.  She was in good company: the actor himself was off in Wales, apparently with nary a thought of winning.

The reason for Ciwt's surprise is simple: she hadn't seen The Father. She still might not have if her 'movie partner' back East hadn't texted her to watch it.  

If you're like Ciwt and staying away from what you fear will be an unnerving or depressing look at dementia, fear not.  The French playwright, Florian Zeller, has written a script which is unsparing in its portrayal of the stubborness and grip of dementia while giving the man who sufferrs from it dignity and a wide range of personality.  And then Anthony Hopkins makes him soar while breaking your heart.  

It is an incredible accomplishment by the great actor.  All the more so because there isn't a moment when you think Hopkins is acting.  He comes off the screen into your understanding with completely natural spontaneity.  Which of course it isn't.  

After all these years of watching the 83 year old actor excel in so many parts, Ciwt finally learned that that utter naturalness is what people in the theater and cinema worlds - writers, directors, fellow actors - know him for.  And marvel at.  Who, thirty years later, doesn't still get chills visualing Hopkins hissing "Hello Clarice" in Silence of the Lambs?  

And that 'naturalness' is as 'natural' as anyone's at the top of his or her field.  In other words, it comes from innate exceptional abilities, razor sharp focus and near constant training and practice.  After memorizing his lines, Hopkins rehearses them privately as many as 200 times until they are embedded in his being and truly 'spontaneous.'  Then, when he comes to the set for filming, he's done with rehearsing.  Ideally, and as much as possilbe Zeller gave him that, he is filmed just once.  As Hopkings himself has said about rehearsing close to the time of production, "You sit in a hotel banquet room and rehearse the thing to death.  You can overdo it.  As an actor, you need to clear the brain of other thinking and have a sense of ease and a sense fun."

And, there it is!  The father's struggle in th emovie should be tragic, but Hopkins elevates it into something that has wings because you can see the character's quick mind at work however imperfectly and somewhere, somehow you sense he and Hopkins are feeling that sense of ease and fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Day 10/1 --- Day 10/1

 Walk: Presidio

Distance:3.5 miles, Yoga

Hello, newborn CIWT 10.

Ten years ago Ciwt wasn't Ciwt yet and wasn't clear or particularly interested in what a blog was.  But a friend had sent her an entry written by someone's son-in-law, and politeness dictated that she read it and respond.

His blog subject was, yawn, his happy marriage with adorable children.   Yawn again.  But he happened to include a sentence which read "Writing every day changed my life."  This echoed similar reports Not-Yet-Ciwt had encountered over the years.  "Okay," she thought, "I'm ready for that life change.  I'll do it!"

So she became Ciwt and every day for a year, wherever she was, without fail, she made some entry, no matter how paltry, sometimes with no words even, just a photo. It actually - writing (or making an entry) - was quite challenging.

At the end of the year, she looked around.  No Prince Charming, no lottery winnings, same home, etc.  The only change she was aware of was that that blogging son-in-law had gotten a divorce.  "Oh well," she thought. "That's that."   

And that's when she noticed how her life had changed!  No way was she going to give up CIWT she realized.  CIWT had become a companion, quietly always with her - noticing things, wondering what to write or what to do if nothing came to mind, researching, daring her to put down something even if she throught it was terrible.  A friend, a mentor, an important presence.  And! during that year there had been comments from actual readers,  Imagine that, readers(??)!  

Without noticing it, CIWT had changed her.  CIWT 2 began.  

And now here are Ciwt, and appreciated readers wherever you are, on Day 1 of CIWT 10.  The journey continues.