Monday, January 10, 2011

Celebrating a Birthday

So, this week we celebrated Janice's birthday. As opposed to some years where we've gone out in a group or gotten together with friends, this time we had a low-keyed, but still v. enjoyable, weekend. Among the highlights were a trip out to Black Diamond to the Black Diamond Bakery for freshly made cinnamon rolls bigger than our heads.* We followed this up w. a nice poke in Baker Street Books next door -- nice place; wish it were closer -- and then headed on home, where I spent the next few hours making home-made rolls,** by request, from my Grandmother's recipe; once they were done, I made up some skillet potatoes (potatoes, mushroom, bacon, onion, and cheddar).*** A quiet, pleasant day.

Sunday was much the same, except that our expedition today involved art, not food. We hardly ever go down to Tacoma, for some reason, even though from here it's just as close as downtown Seattle, which we find our way to probably about once a month or so. A few years back we'd gone with the extended Baur family down to the Museum of Glass, where I saw for the first time the work of famed local artist Dale Chihuly, whom I'd never even heard of before. We also on that visit walked over to the nearby History Museum and saw a v. bad exhibit on Japanese popular culture (good topic, bad exhibit. it happens). This time, as part of our do-something-new-&-different pledge, we went to the third museum in the district: the Tacoma Art Museum. They were having what turned out to be a deeply interesting display of Japanese woodcut art. I'd known about Hokusai's famous 'Twenty-Four Views of Mt. Fuji", but had not realized that sets of art around a theme were an accepted genre, just as you might buy a themed book of art today. The faces and portraiture element of the art didn't do much for me, but the designs on the robes were spectacular -- often different patterns on the inside and outside of the same robe, plus another for the underrobe worn beneath it. The backgrounds were also nice, esp. the landscapes and scenery. One striking piece shows Mejii Japan: a scene in a railway station, where all the men had adopted American/European style clothes, while some women had also gone the Victorian bustle dress route but most of the women still wore traditional Japanese clothes. I guess it's always the way of things that women are expected to keep up the old ways of dressing longer than the men do, as is still evident in immigrant communities around us today.

After that, we breezed through their Impressionists exhibit (I love Impressionism, but this wasn't really an eye-catching display and spent the rest of our time in their Chihuly room. Glass art is not really my thing, but you have to be impressed by brilliance even in an art form that doesn't speak to you personally. They had an interesting documentary about Chihuly playing in one corner so you cd see his team at work (ironically enough, because of injuries Chihuly himself can't actually blow or spin glass himself anymore, so all the pieces are made under his direction by his team).

After that, we stopped for one more non-Atkins dinner out, then came on home and wound down for the evening. A good week-end. Tomorrow, it's long walks and eggs for breakfast as we get back to the diet.


*well, not really, but they kinda felt like it, especially during those last few bites. Did I mention that this was a non-Atkins/Feast day?
**see above re. feast day
***ibid, feast day

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