Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

After Christmas, I returned to New York and enjoyed 14 hours at home before setting off for Jay Peak for a week-long ski trip.

The snow was quite nice on New Year's Eve (though a bit shabby most of the rest of the time). I liked this construction site at the base of the mountain - if you look closely, you should be able to see a Christmas tree atop the middle tower:

Slopeside, the trees were coated thickly next to the snow-making machines:

A new snowboarder recovers quickly from the inevitable falls that go with learning to ride:

The trip organizers prepared an opulent barbeque feast for our last meal of 2008...

...but it was a low-key atmosphere as we relaxed with movies and games to welcome in 2009.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thanksgiving: Ospreys & Stars

Thanksgiving week in Florida was thick with ospreys. The first day, we saw them from afar, seeking fish in the waters in front of the beach house:

Then at the eastern end of the island, we saw them relatively close-up in a nest built on a man-made platform:

The detail was amazing:

Later in the week, we actually saw one flying with a fish in its claws, the way they are portrayed in the Northwest. So cool!!

My brother spotted a live starfish in the shallow waters near a pen shell:

It was chilly at night, so I procrastinated my star-gazing activities until the very last day. It was so lovely. I just wish I could see the night like this all the time. Unfortunately, even on the "starry sky" setting with the maximum exposure (60 seconds), my camera doesn't do it justice:

I often feel such peace and joy away from New York. If only it were that easy...!

Nov. 27: Sand Sculptures

Now that we have a bit of snow, we can look ahead to snow sculptures.... if the snow sticks, which I rather doubt. So here's a look back to some sand sculptures from Thanksgiving week.

A reclining "snowman" made of sand and shells:

(A sandman, perhaps?)

A mighty fortress:

A mermaid; the use of pen shells for the tail was an inspired choice.

There were some nice turkey sculptures too, but they didn't come out as well in the photos.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Light and Shadow

It was a good but busy weekend, with Christmas parties, service projects, and concerts. One hour stood out from the rest - a moving presentation/book-reading by Joe Vedella.

I had a chance, over the course of the weekend, to enjoy three of my favorite activities - dancing, singing, and being silly with kids. Yes, the silliness factor was very high when I volunteered to help with the children of parents shopping at His Toy Store. We tried lots of different animal walks (frogs, crabs, kangaroos, snakes, penguins, sharks...), did the hokey pokey, and made paper airplanes. They thought it was hilarious when I would "chase" them around the room (using a very slow and stiff-legged walk like a windup T-Rex and saying "Rahr, rahr") ... and of course even more hilarious when I would pretend to be terrified when they did the same thing back to me. I think kids don't mind much what the rules of the game are, as long as they get to win over the grown-ups.

This view caught my eye after the His Toy Store event. Something about the quality of the light, but I also liked the ladder that almost seems to lead up to the steeple. There's a sermon in there somewhere, as Dr. Tewell would say.

Today, after caroling on Fifth Avenue and a late lunch at Chipotle Grill (carnitas burrito bol - yum!), I went down to BMCC to meet some friends for a Messiah sing-along. The 4 featured vocalists were very good, although I particularly liked the tenor (Samuel Kinsey) and soprano (Shannah Timms).

As for the audience? Well, we all did our best. But it's so much easier for me if I sit with other altos. Instead, I was sitting between a tenor and a baritone. Oh well.

At intermission, I stepped outside to this amazing view:

The soaring torso didn't really grab me on the way in, but with the changed sky, it was pretty cool:

I've tried to capture a slice of the sky here as well:

Now I've just finished two loads of laundry, which is a nice stairmaster-type workout to help round out the weekend. What more could a girl ask for?

Monday, December 08, 2008

MoMA Monday

Turns out MoMA is open late on Mondays, which is pretty cool. So I saw the Van Gogh exhibit. I liked this picture (from 1888), though it's clearly not the distinctive VG style yet. The colors of sunset in sky and sea were smooth and beautiful -- even the green in the sky works here -- and the simple silhouettes are formed and expressive.

This one, also from 1888, was also quite nice... though the stars made me think of fireflies. (Those stripes on the painting are not pillars, but reflections of dock or pier lights on the water.)
Afterward, I checked out the Architecture & Design II exhibit. A lot of cool stuff there. I liked this screen, called "Algae", made of many individual branches that can be connected and reconnected to each other in many ways:

I totally want this chain-mail Headscarf (2003), created by an American-born Israeli:

And a flashback to Sunday, in which Sony shows the holiday spirit:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Lilac Festival, Reprise

Kensuke Okabayashi, the author of Manga for Dummies and the forthcoming Figure Drawing for Dummies, created the following illustration echoing a photo of my brother and Clara at the arboretum in Boston:

(Arigato gozaimasu!)