Saturday, April 25, 2009

Art and Gardens

I am having an absolutely lovely Saturday, which was preceded by an absolutely lovely Friday. Loveliness abounds!

Yesterday I had a lunch thing in Westwood on Mulholland Drive, which lasted until nearly 4. Rather than sit in Friday rush-hour traffic for three hours, I decided to go to LACMA and take in some renaissance art. I never thought I was much of an art person. I'm not particularly visually stimulated, I don't learn much through watching movies and such, and the only D I ever got in college was art history, which was mostly slide-identification, and since it was Renaissance art, it was all Madonna and Child and I couldn't see any difference in them.

Then when I lived in London I worked really close to the National Gallery, and over lunch one day I thought "Self, you really should get your butt up there and look at some original Da Vinci's" and since it was free, I went. Man. It rocked my world. Looking at pictures in a textbook, and original canvasses is not at all the same experience. I could stare at Da Vinci's sketches for hours, looking at the scratches the pencil made, thinking how his hand was right there, wondering what he was thinking about when he was doing it. Wandering around the rest of the gallery I was amazed to see how people played with light and dimensions, and to see the amazing colors in the altarpieces. It was all a total trip and got me back into art (that snotty professor who said I was lazy and just didn't care can kiss my butt, too).

So yesterday I went to the European art building, skipped right through the Greeks and Egyptians, and parked myself in front of an altarpiece depicting the story of St. George. Fortunately I'm a medieval geek, and the rest of the crowd wasn't as impressed with the portraits of virgins as I was, so I had the spot pretty much to myself. It gave my soul a nice artistic fill-up, which it was needing. When I walked back out to the main plaza, there was a big jazz concert, and I bought a fruit salad, took it to a bench in the park by the tar pits (in prehistoric times LA was covered in tar, and the La Brea Tar Pits are the coolest thing ever - they've found all kinds of dinosaur remains in them) and enjoyed the sun and the music.

Then I drove to the freeway via Wilshire, and passed by the neighborhood I lived in the first time I was in LA, before London, in 1998. It's always fun to go back there. I loved my little studio apartment with the fold-in-the-wall bed, and I always say hello to the neighborhood whenever possible.

This morning I slept in and then got to work clearing a square of land in the backyard in which I am planning a vegetable garden. It had a lot of overgrowth and rocks that needed digging up, as well as a few odd small tree stumps, but I got through about half of it, and hopefully I won't be too sore to finish it tomorrow. Then next week I shall begin planting the carrots, green beans, lettuce and cucumbers. Won't I feel smug later this summer when I make dinner and nonchalantly say "oh, this salad? Yes, the lettuce is from the garden outside..." I make myself want to puke just thinking about it.

We had homemade pizza night, which is the Saturday Thing To Do, and then I took a long soak with Christopher Buckley. Well, his book. Not him. I also went to the library and returned a bunch of Alison Weir books I'd taken out - I'm trying out her historical fiction...I don't blame her for writing historical fiction when she sees what the Phillappa Gregory's of the world are doing, but man, I think she should stick to nonfiction. Though her history of Katherine Swynford was dry as dust, but I don't think that was her fault - there aren't a lot of records to go off of for the 12th and 13th centuries, except payments made from someone to someone else, so nearly every page says something like "Later that year, Leicester made a payment of 2 pounds to Katherine" and thus we can assume something. I slogged through it. Hopefully the murder of Lord Darnley will be more compelling.

Off to bed, and setting the alarm EARLY for the Bahrain Formula One race tomorrow - we're tivoing it, but want to try to wake up early to watch it live, and thus, send good energy to Lewis Hamilton.

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