Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Sister Ricki did it again with an international Fourth of July theme. She set the table with a Pierre Deux Provencal cloth, Umbrian place settings from Deruta and American flags. That woman has flair!
The guests pose in front of the mirror festooned in red, white and blue
Monday, June 22, 2015
|photo by Jill Miller c. 1973|
Who's that bad boy--- A work in progress.
|photo by John Anthony, still dear friend|
Young Dean with Rags in Alaska in the late '70s
Sister Ricki & Brother Dean celebrate their 42nd & 43rd birthdays at Acquerello
Picnicking with Ricki, Leah, Taya and Mimi in Marin
The famous soft ball pants. Dean wows his Looney Tunes fans with his amazing athleticism and his flashy pants!
Happy times at Lake Tahoe on that first magical trip (for a softball tournament)
Working on the beloved gray Astro van on another trip to Tahoe. Say what you want about those shorts!
Cheers! Dean smiles sheepishly after our waiter brought an unexpectedly LARGE beer at a cafe in Florence in the early '90s
The Pollycove string quartet featuring Dean on cello, Ricki on viola, Leah on violin and Taya on flute
The cosmopolitan couple shows up again in Firenze for Dean's 50th birthday! The temperature peaked around 100
Side by side head stands at a yoga retreat in Maya Tulum
Ros poses with Dean on one of our many trips to Washington D. C. How styles have changed!
Myron, Dean and Taya at Cousin Mike's in Anacortes
Ros, Myron, Taya and Dean in Assisi when Dean turned 50
Biking the flume trail high above Lake Tahoe
Hard at Work
The grill master preparing his favorite chicken drumsticks, before he built the deck
Fun times with elderly Rags
More fun times cuddling Allie. I'm so grateful he likes cats as well as dogs.
Dean's a hoot on Halloween
In the vineyards in Sonoma County at the annual Winter Wineland event. Hey, when did all that gray hair appear?
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
You can see from the poster above that the Ai Weiwei exhibit was held on Alcatraz island from Sept. 27th to April 26th. Having seen the publicity and having heard fans like artist Anna Conti enthuse about it, I knew it opened in September. I planned to go sooner rather than later. So....when did I finally make arrangements to attend the show? Thursday April 23rd, three days before it closed.
It wasn't easy to attend. Since the show was displayed on Alcatraz, art lovers had to reserve space on the Alcatraz Cruise line with all the other tourists planning to visit the prison, and it was necessary to book in advance since the ferries fill up, especially on weekends. I started to check the cruise schedule early in the exhibit's last week and found tickets were unavailable on the weekend and were scarce during the week. Watching Friday's reservations disappear, I quickly booked for Thursday morning.
We launched from San Francisco's Pier 33 with a full boatload of tourists and a few last-minute art lovers.
|Alcatraz Ferry Terminal at Pier 33 with Telegraph Hill in the background|
|The only way to get there|
I got goosebumps approaching The Rock---my first visit to Alcatraz
A grim world awaited us as we walked up the flower-lined path and entered the first building. Ai Weiwei had designed ceramic flowers to fill the toilets and sinks in some ancient hospital-ward cells. There were touches like this throughout the prison buildings.
I originally thought that works for @large Ai Weiwei would be exhibited in one isolated "museum" building which one could view and then look around Alcatraz or return home. In reality, Ai's works were installed throughout all the prison buildings, forcing the viewer to experience the artist's vision in an actual prison setting, so his message and protest could resonate clearly in insightful and beautiful ways...
|"Every one of us is a potential convict"|
|Cheryl Haines, exhibition curator, consults with the artist in his Beijing studio ( Photo from Fore-Site Foundation)|
The entire floor of the New Industries Building (designed as a laundry and work-space where prisoners could work for money) was covered with portraits of men and women from all over the world who made sacrifices in the struggle for individual freedoms. Viewers could wander around the portraits created with colorful Leggos, assembled to depict faces with remarkable likenesses to the subjects. We only recognized a few...
|Martin Luther King|
We wandered around the various buildings discovering new installations and soaking up the atmosphere of the old, deserted prison. The scope of the exhibit was vast, and the logistics of putting it together must have been monumental. The employees were well-informed and happy to answer our questions.
|View of the Leggo exhibit from an upper corridor|
|An old prison electrical junction box|
|View from the Gun Gallery of a massive Ai Weiwei construction entitled "Refraction"|
|A prison path with a view of the Bay Bridge in the hazy distance|
When we'd had enough of prison life, we wandered down to the dock, took the ferry to San Francisco and, at Dean's suggestion, hailed a pedicab back to Bart. We did it! We can cross Alcatraz off our bucket list. We're home FREE!
Monday, May 11, 2015
|Hello to Palm Springs---capital of mid-century modern architecture|
Last week we took a four day mini-vacation to Palm Springs. After a three hour delay at SFO due to fog and an hour and thirty five minute flight, we landed in the desert, greeted by temperatures in the mid-nineties. After securing a list of must-do activities from the friendly car rental staff, we drove toward town in search of Sparrows Lodge.
|Unmarked sign for Sparrows Lodge|
|Dean having breakfast in the "barn"|
PS: No one under 21 is allowed at Sparrows, but dogs are welcome!
The rooms are rustic-chic with exposed wood-and-stone interiors and exotic Bali bathrooms with open showers. There are no TVs on the property, so the atmosphere is quiet and relaxing. And fortunately for Dean the pro basketball playoffs didn't start until the following week. With the San Jacinto mountains as a backdrop, we spent lazy afternoons reading on our lounge chairs. When temperatures soared into the hundreds, the staff turned on misters installed around the pool to cool the outside air, and handed out icy fruit popsicles. Swimming in the crystal-clear pool was delightful.
|Bali bath with open shower|
Between swimming and lounging, we saw a few of the recommended mid-century desert marvels which make Palm Springs so interesting, and differentiate it from the endless sprawl of condos from Palm Desert to Rancho Mirage.
We passed the classic Palm Springs Visitors center, originally Frey's Tramway Gas Station, here on our way to Palm Springs aerial tramway. When it was built in 1965 it was the first landmark for tourists driving in from Los Angeles on Highway 111.
|A view through the vines of the restaurant at the Parker Meridian Hotel|
We snuck a peek at the Parker Meridien. The hotel was originally established in 1959 as a Holiday Inn. In fact, it was California’s first. In 1961, the non-descript concrete and cinderblock property was purchased by singing cowboy Gene Autry for the main purpose of lodging his newly acquired baseball team, the California Angels, during Spring Training. He changed the name of the site to Melody Ranch (it was also often called The Autry Hotel) and added a few luxury touches, like a second pool, tennis courts, a bar, and a couple of restaurants. We loved the mid-century, eye-popping decor.
|100+ degrees and still smiling!|
And on our last day we took the aerial tram straight up the mountain to view Palm Springs from about 8,000 feet. At that altitude it was cold and windy.
Late Friday afternoon as plane-loads of tourists were arriving, we flew out of scenic Palm Springs airport with the majestic San Jacinto mountains in the background
|Palm Springs Airport with San Jacinto mountains in the background|
Oh, and I almost forgot, the culinary highlight of the trip was a DATE SHAKE! We drove to Indio to find a roadside stand selling the date shakes I remembered from a long-ago trip to the Coachella Valley, but Indio was quite desolate and there were no date stands or shakes to be found. Finally I checked online and we struck gold at a chocolate shop called Palm Springs Chocolate and Fudge, on Palm Canyon Drive. The shake was made from date paste, milk and ice cream and it was delicious. We were told that some shakes are made from date crystals in place of real dates—they're inferior. And the best date variety is medjool. Since they sell dates at the Berkeley Farmers' markets, I'm going to experiment with making my own shakes soon.