Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hope I Lose --- Day 13/137

Walk: Hood (Not Bay to Breakers - party pooper that is Ciwt)

Distance: 5.5 miles

San Francisco Bay to Breakers 2024 

Clearly fun is the goal for most in this 111 year old, (extremely challenging for actual running - not costume - competitors) San Francisco tradition.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ouch, Babe --- Day 13/136

Walk: AMC Kabuki (Babes)

Distance: 2 Miles

If you don't find private body parts 'jokes' humorous, you can completely forget about going to this movie.  If you do, as many in Ciwt's audience today apparently did, you'll like it a lot.

For her part, Ciwt misses Jack Benny, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Robin Williams, and all the other truly funny comedians.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Not Your San Francisco Fog --- Days 13/134 & 135

Walks: Errands.

Distances: 3.5, 5.5 miles

Fog Bow on the Denmark Strait in East Greenland. 
© Reinhard Huber / GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2024 

So Ciwt has been a bit frazzled with an unexpected - but good - project (Stay tuned for news...).   If you have been too, she thought you might enjoy this peaceful scene as much as she does.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Wonderful Pictures Ahead --- Days 13/130-133

Walks/Lopes: Hood, Open Houses:

Distances: 2 miles average 

Ciwt HEARTS Dogs 💓   And here are a few pouring their spirits into the 2024 Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show.

Here's more!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Cat Mother's Presents --- Days 13/126-129

Walks/Lopes: Hood: errands, open houses,

Distances: 1.9 miles (nose to grindstone finishing will update), 4 miles, 4 miles, 5.5 miles

Happy Mother's Day.  Ciwt's cats mostly give her the gift of company and a few soft, colorful 'mice' here and there. No cards.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Where'd That Office Go? --- Day 13/126

Walk/Lope/Stretch:  Hood and Neighborhood Park

Distance: 3 miles

Has Ciwt shown you what she likes best about having her office in a closet?

All messy

And now....

All gone; even her cats can't find the mess

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Chocolate, Books, Life - In Miniature --- Day 13/125

Walk: Hood

Distance: 3.5 miles

Tatsuya Tanaka, Sweet Time, 2021. MINIATURE CALENDAR.

Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka started publishing his miniature works on instagram where he now has 3M followers.  His playful minature landscapes are put together using commonplace objects along with figures from Tanaka's collection of diorama figurines.  Shortly after his first post a follower commented that he wanted to see a new miniature post every day.  So Tanaka did just that then got so involved in his daily posts he created a Miniature Calendar.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Favorite Drawer --- Day 13/124

Walk: Just a few errands

Distance: 1/2 mile

So, its the little things in life that can bring so much pleasure. For instance,  Ciwt's limited closet and drawer space keeps her carefully folding and hanging her things.  But she allows herself the luxury of one Completely Messy drawer.  After getting her bedroom in order with  things neatly put away, she just loves to pick up the last little pile and just heave it into her designated any-way-she-wants drawer.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Caution: Lemons Ahead --- Day 13/123

Lope: Hood

Distance: 5.5 miles

Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Lemons and Olives, 1629, oil on canvas

Readers, take heart.  Ciwt is nearly done with her will update project so the CIWT palette should be brightening very soon.

But, while she's on the will theme,  a note on another dark work of art.  Probably you know that the Golden Age Dutch still lifes are filled with symbols.  And that virtually all of them are a version of memento mori, Latin for 'remember you will die.'  So glasses can be tipped over, everything on the table can be near the edge and therefore precarious, about to fall. There's usually at least one piece of fruit that is sliced, peeled and beginning to rot.  

And in this painting, that fruit is clearly the lemon. Lemons were very expensive in that era, so they are a sign of wealth.  On the other hand, they are also bitter and one of them has been sliced and peeled.  So what we have is a moral warning for the viewer: You may enjoy your costly objects but remember earthly beauty is deceptive and fleeting.

As Ciwt said, brightness is on the way around CIWT.....

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Falling for Stars --- Day 13/122

Walk: No, rain and cold wind

Distance: yoga

You know who: Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt

So Ciwt took advantage of good weather before the coming storm to go to The Fall Guy.  Really to be able to gaze at that Ken and other roles guy, Ryan Gosling, and that Quiet Room and other roles woman, Emily Blunt.  She was duly rewarded with numerous 20' high close ups of each of them throughout the movie.  

The plot was thin so those huge headshots, and some great car rolls and myriad enteraining stunts, were about all she got from her movie outing.  But, given the talented, eye candy stars, that was Plenty.


Friday, May 3, 2024

Lavinia Fontana, Leading Artist, 1600 ad --- Day 13/121

Walk: AMC Kabuki (The Fall Guy)

Distance: 2 miles

Lavinia Fontana (Italy, 1552-1614) , Portrait of Bianca degli Utili Maselli and Her Children, ca. 1604-5. Oil on canvas, 39 x 53 1/4 in. (99.06 x 135.255 cm)

So, the Decorator Showcase designers (see previous CIWT) will likely cast admiring eyes at the Legion of Honor's newly acquired painting by Renaissance artist Lavinia Fontana.  Look at those sumptuous fabrics, the haute couture fitting of each family member's outfit, the lengthly strand of enormous matching pearls.

If you can make them out, that is.  The painting is remarkably preserved having been in one family for over four hundred years, so the overall dark tones are not due to accumulated dirt and grime.  Instead the reddish brown ground layer was likely achieved by the artist's decision to grind and reuse broken clay bricks for her colors. In fact, the trend of using darker colored grounds was only just taking hold in Bologna where the multiple portrait was painted and indicates Fontana was up to date with the newest technical developments in her field.

Up to date is the least of it.  Livinia Fontana, an unusual woman in unusual circumstances, was far ahead of her time in many regards.  First, of course, in her natural talent, which was honed by her father who was a recognized artist in his own right. Second by the good fortune of being born in Bologna at a time when elite women had greater opportunities to participate in public life and women artists had more chance at acceptance.

The rest was up to Fontana's strong vision for fashioning her own life and career - eventually establishing herself as the first female career artist in Western Europe. Instead of offering a traditional dowry at her wedding, Fontana offered her ability to paint - and this was accepted.  She earned commissions for her income; her family relied on her career as a painter; her father retired and became her painting assistant; her husband, Gian Paolo Zappi, gave up his own career, raised their 11 children, managed her studio  and served as her agent.  That last, was of paramount importance because, even in the comparatively liberal city of Bologna, she would have needed a man to engage in business negotiations on her behalf.

While Bolognese society at large was supportive of Fontana's artistic career it was the newly empowered uppper class women who became Fontana's initial core clientele. With their patronage and increasingly important commissions, by the end of the 1550's, she was the uncontested portraitist of Bolognese noblewomen. 

And as her fame grew within and beyond Italy, Fontana had vision, ambition and courage to move her studio and family to Rome. There too, in that competitive, cosmopolitan, male city, she thrived as she had in Bologna. Even Pope Paul V himself was one of her sitters.  Over her thirty plus year career, Lavinia Fontana became the recipient of numerous honors and is today regarded as the first highly successful woman artist, working within the same sphere as her male counterparts, outside a court or convent. And San Francisco's Fine Arts Museums and its visitors are fortunate to now have this work by such an enterprising, talented and successful woman artist in its collection and on view.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Moody Displays for a Good Cause --- Day 13/120

Walk/Lope: Decorator Showcase

Distance: 4 miles

This year's Decorator Showcase house: 4-story, 10-bedroom, 7-bathroom home built in 1899 —with ipanoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay

Decorator Showcase is the major fundraiser for a local high school's financial aid program.* A San Francisco mansion is emptied and Bay Area design and decorator talents move in and are given a room a two to display their look and craft.  

The last time Ciwt went to a Showcase was at least forty years ago, so when she walked past its open door today she decided to donate to a good cause and go in.  On her last visit, much was made of white, white, white - and a bit of peach, light pink, periwinkle.  She distinctly remembers the dining room: It was draped floor to ceiling in embroidered white silk as was the large, round table in a slightly different pattern. The dining chairs were upholstered in yet another thick white silk, and there might even have been a white rug on the floor.  In all, there was at least $400,000 of fabric teed up to be spilled on and stained at the first dinner party in the room.

But Ciwt learned as she looked that 2024 is not the year of white. Not at all. The Showcase was room after room of high-gloss surfaces, deep toned custom paints, complex marble and tile fixtures, various wall creations, moody, layered fabrics. Basically drama, drama, drama. Dark drama.

For those of you about to redecorate your homes, forget minimalism; it's o-u-t apparently.  Opulence and abstract design are i-n.  And, if you are looking for a new home, this one is currently on the market for (remember this is San Francisco) $32 million.  You can probably talk a few of these designers into leaving their creations in place for you.  

Powder Room in Blue

Welcome Salon in Black

Kitchen in Very Dark Brown

Grand Living Room in Purple Velvet


Study in Browns with Abstract Painted Ceiling

Guest Room Bathroom in  Many Deep, Rich Colors (detail below)

*Throughout its history the Decorator Showcase has raised over $18M to provide hundreds of deserving Bay Area students with world-class college preparatory education.    

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Sometimes You Laugh --- Day 13/119

Walk: Hood

Distance: 3.5 miles

So Eighty is a difficult age to ignore.  Impossible so far for Ciwt who has had a lifetime pattern of flying by - even forgetting - her birthdays.  But not 80!  It's coming for Ciwt and it's somewhere on her mind much of the time these days.  

Maybe it has just been Ciwt's luck, but most of the articles or books she's read on older age/turning 80 haven't spoken to her.  The focus of some has been on decrepitude or deep acceptance and spiritual connections.  Then there are the spunky 80 year olds who start new (successful) companies or find love and marriage or become wildly participatory in activities and volunteer jobs.  Oh and the very wealthy ones talking about golf, fly fishing, heli skiing and new resort homes.

Not many Ciwt has encoutered  talk about  people like her - somewhere in the middle  - who enjoy good (enough) health, relative economic okayness (for now) and slowly, day by day, (reluctantly) notice and find ways to adjust to the myriad little parts of themselves that are lessening - balance, strength, focus, stamina.  

So even though she didn't laugh, Ciwt related and was edified by the candid descriptions of such lives in Susan Evans' You Have to Laugh. It's a small, wise book of short, well-crafted essays (Evans calls 'riffs') told with compassion, intelligence and loving candor ; not too upbeat, not too downbeat, but just right on for Ciwt.