On Sunday, Shannon and I got up in the morning and headed into the city. Shannon used his nifty new Clpper card, which he just flashed to pay for both BART and MUNI (instead of having to wait in line at a BART ticket machine and count out coins for MUNI fare). Convenient!
While on BART, *both* my iPods stopped working. Weird! They were reacting in a strange way I've never seen before. Then we transfered to another train at Macarthur Station, and suddenly both of my iPods were working fine. It was bizarre.
So we rode the #38 bus a looooong way (from downtown out to the NW corner of San Francisco), which Shannon finds highly annoying (because this particular bus line has stops every block or so), but which I rather enjoyed. I love the city, and riding the bus is a nice way to see it, as long as the bus isn't too crowded (which ours wasn't). We passed Japantown, of which I am very fond (though the Kabuki movie theater now says "Sundance" on the outside, so it looks like it's been bought by someone else), and also an entirely Russian area I had never noticed before (including a gorgeous Russian Orthodox church -- I think it was the Holy Virgin Cathedral -- and many stores with names like "Vladimir's Dry Cleaning"). I love the little ethnic neighborhoods you find in most big cities.
We got to the foot of the whopping hill at the NW corner of the city, and then hiked up up up through the Lincoln Park Municipal Golf Course (where not many people seemed to be golfing) to the Palace of the Legion of Honor, where we found, much to our surprise, a complete lack of line to get in! The last time we were there, for the big "Monet in Normandy" exhibit in 2006, the lines were utterly insane. Of course, this time we were members, so we wouldn't have had to wait in that line again, anyway. But what a difference! I guess Monet is a popular guy! (I must admit, that 2006 exhibition was incredible.)
Before going on, we hung out at the foot of the El Cid statue in front of the museum and ate our picnic lunch while people-watching.
Anyway, so we flashed our membership cards and got waved in like superstars, and ventured downstairs to the "Impressionist Paris: City of Light" exhibit. It was full of etchings, drawings, lithographs, photographs, and just a few paintings. I particularly enjoyed the lithographs, especially Toulouse-Lautrec (I basically grew up on his lithographs, so they are like old, familiar friends) and Henri Rivière (who did a collection called "36 Views of the Eiffel Tower," which Shannon and I both loved). The exhibition was interesting, in that it showed a lot of black-and-white works by Impressionists who are best known for color paintings. The lithographs, of course, use limited blocks of color, and so I liked them a bit more.
They even had some Mucha posters, which excited me. I've always loved his artwork, with the swirling, stylized hair and the symbolic motifs (flowers, seasonal items, etc.).
I noticed quite a few people speaking French while looking at the exhibit. I wonder why French people would come to California to look at French art? Or maybe they are ex-pats missing their home country? There was also a woman with a service dog, and I commented to Shannon that it is important to teach your dog about art at a young age. In fact, there were quite a few dogs represented in the artworks, which the service dog might have found interesting.
I felt kind of self-conscious once or twice, when I would look at a piece, and I would say to Shannon, "This one looks very Gaugin-esque to me" or something like that. I mean, I guess that sounds pretentious. But you know ... it looked kind of like Gaugin's work! And I wanted to share my thoughts with the person I was with! It was only later that I realized, "You know, Shannon probably doesn't know what Gaugin's paintings look like, so he might have thought I was trying to make him feel stupid." Not my intention, of course. I just love art so much that I want to talk about it when I see it. Maybe I need an "art group" to go along with my "book group."
Sadly, two of my favorite works (Monet's "Water Lilies" painting and Rodin's "Gates of Hell" sculpture) were not there. The "Water Lilies" is apparently on tour, and (according to the coat check woman) "The Gates of Hell" was never a part of the permanent collection at the PotLoH, and so when I saw it it must have been on loan. Either that, or the coat check woman is senile. But she was cool to talk to because we could dish about all the paintings and sculptures and such, because we were both familiar with them. She got all excited about some tea sets in the west wing (where the Impressionists are) and eagerly urged me to check them out, but I'm not much of a tea set person. Ho hum. Maybe that's more of a little old lady coat checker thing?
But while we were in the west wing (will that ever stop making me think of the tv series?), I checked out a few other paintings I particularly like, such as Konstantin Makovsky's 1889 The Russian Bride's Attire, which I've always loved. I particularly like the fact that one of the women is wearing a bizarre wimple-like garment on her head, fastened under her chin. Weird.
Anyway, so we wandered the museum for a couple hours, and then I started feeling so tired I thought I was going to drop right there on the marble floor and take a nap amid the tourists' shuffling feet. So we headed home, where we had dinner and then I fell unconscious for a couple hours. I don't remember what we did with the rest of our day.
On Monday, the hubby and I showered together in the morning, then he ventured out on his own to go to lunch with some much-anticipated comic books. I slept and slept and slept and watched tv (mostly my disk of "The Vampire Diaries" from Netflix) and then finally dragged my butt off the couch and went out running errands. Sadly, not everyplace was open on Labor Day. Damn those people! They should be laboring!
I spent quite a bit of the day designing a party invitation for my class. When I design things, I tend to do a lot of futzing, trying stuff just to see what it looks like, experimenting with things being different sizes or opacities, etc. So it can keep me busy almost indefinitely.
For dinner, Shannon grilled us some chicken breasts and corn-on-the-cob on our outdoor grill (a wedding present from Shannon's gamer friends), and I kept him company while he cooked. Everything turned out beautifully. The chicken was perfectly done, cooked through but still moist and flavorful. Shannon thought that it was kinda funny that I put *hummus* on my chicken sandwich, but what the hey? I like hummus.
In the evening, we did our weekly housework, though I just wanted to go to sleep again. After housework, we sat down and had our State of the Union talk, and we both raised some issues that needed discussing, and I think we're getting better at this whole "communication" thing. So, 10 years of marriage, and we're figuring out how to talk effectively. Better late than never!
Today, Tuesday, I woke up late, then headed off to my design class. While riding the bus on my way there, I listened to Crime and Punishment, but about halfway through the trip I snapped. In the book, a crowd of strangers spontaneously decided to beat an old horse to death with pipes, sticks, crow bars, etc. No reason. They started out insisting that the horse draw a weight far too heavy for even a young, healthy horse, and when the horse couldn't do it (despite trying repeatedly and pathetically), the beating began ... then escalated ... then escalated ... until finally everyone got in on it, shouting and laughing and just generally acting like it was a terrific lark, like it was a ride at a carnival or something. I was so horrified and disgusted that I just couldn't keep on with the book. That particular scene reminded me of Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon, in which he writes with great enthusiasm about how *hilarious* it is to watch a gored horse run around the bull fighting ring with its entrails dragging in the dirt, and that if you can't appreciate how fabulous this is, then you've surely never seen it. I didn't like Hemingway before I read that, but afterward I *loathed* him. So now I just can't stomach Crime and Punishment. People enjoying cruelty is just too difficult for me to swallow.
Anyway, at school I had a sudden revelation that I wanted to do more work on my homework assignment. I just suddenly knew a way to make it look more attractive. So I worked on that in my head while I waited for class to start.
Our class size has doubled since Thursday, so we now have 6 students. One of them (our only guy) actually seems to have some experience and knowledge re: the subject of design, so I no longer feel quite as much out of place as I did last week. I was sooooo sleepy during class, though! And the teacher was once again talking exclusively about stuff I already know. So after 2 hours, I left to go home to sleep (this was an hour before class officially ended).
After dinner, I spent another hour or two working on my homework assignment. I'm now pretty happy with the result. The teacher is waiting until this Thursday to discuss the homework, because it will allow our 3 new students time to complete the assignment as well. So we'll all be sharing our work at Thursday's class.
In the evening, we finished reading Louise Erdrich's The Beet Queen, and I loved it as much the second time as the first ... perhaps even more. It's a wonderful, wonderful book.