Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Art Institute of Chicago....

We flew into Chicago on Thursday, and had about three inches of snow fall, reminding me of my childhood in Iowa. It melted today, so I was able to get to the Art Institute easily. It's the first large art museum I ever visited, and made a profound impact. I had taken the train in to Chicago to view an extraordinary exhibit that had come from France, including Matisse's large painting of the Five Muses in a circle dance. It was also the first time I ever saw a large sculpture, in that case Rodin's "Adam." This is a wonderful, well-used museum that keeps expanding in a thoughtful way. The Jasper Johns exhibit called "Gray," put together by the Met, did not disappoint. While there, I had time to take a trip down memory lane through galleries of Impressionist paintings, and then sit with a cup of tea looking out at Lake Michigan. My cold is still with me, and a cough, so took a cab back to the hotel after walking my couple of miles inside the Institute.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beyond wet....

It could not have been any wetter (or colder) this morning at Green Lake. At 8:30, there were less than one hundred brave souls dripping their way around the water. I did a fast mile and quit. I've trained twice this week with Amy, and know that I'll be walking every morning now for the next week or so, since I'm on vacation. Now it's time to wrap some presents and then go hear Leroy and his Ravenna Brass Ensemble (featured in a photo in today's Seattle Times ) play this afternoon at the University Book Store.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"We shall not all sleep, but we shall be chang'd.."

That quote is from Corinthians, though I have always thought of it as more belonging to George Frideric Handel. The chaos of the past week receeded tonight at Benaroya Hall with a spectacular performance of "The Messiah" led by Christian Knapp, who conducted, sang and danced his way through the Barenreiter edition. He placed the trumpets up in the high left balcony in Part I, and we love trumpets! The soloists and chorale were spot on, clear as a bell in the acoustics of that hall.

Above, please find the first of two versions of our holiday photo for 2007. Having Weston take our picture on the bridge over the Ravenna Park ravine was possibly the calmest activity we have engaged in since Thanksgiving. The top photo is our favorite, and looks suspiciously like navel-gazing. The bottom photo adorns our holiday card and I think we look charming and altogether harmless. We have over the years been trained to smile and look straight at the camera, and not at eachother.

Leroy is done teaching for the quarter. He gave his last final yesterday, then made lunch for the students in his music and poetry course. He made roast lamb to feed about 25 people with mushrooms and a pear jelly last night. He is now focused on grading papers, with slight breaks for motorcycle rides and "The Messiah" this evening. James and Lauren are knee deep in mailing graduate school applications, but took time tonight to bake cookies while we were out.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pathways of Light

What better way to start the holiday season than to do it away from the shopping circus and in your own neighborhood? Last night, volunteers set out luminarias on either side of the 2.8 mile path around Green Lake. Our family joined hundreds of others to walk by the light of only the candles on a clear, crisp night. Many walkers wore lights, some even sported antlers. Singers and musicians along the way made the walk even more phantasmic. We were joined by friends who all miraculously arrived in the same location at the same time. None of us had made the walk before, all of us will remember to do it next year.

Lauren and I have started a wonderful Sunday morning mat pilates course. We are off now, as the snowflakes taper off.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Health Improvement

I met with my doctor last week for annual physical, and discussed strategies for losing weight. As a result of that session, I had a spirometry test this morning to check on any respiratory improvement since October of 2006, when I began to take Advair for asthma. The results are pretty spectacular, and it's clear how much I've built up the airwaves since I started Advair, and then since late March, when I started walking. I still get out of breath on genuine hills, and when taking steps too fast...but it can only get better still as I continue to train and lose weight, which will also make it easier on the feet and knees.

Lauren and I started a mat pilates class yesterday morning that is tough but possible. I already do some work in this area with Amy in the gym, and this should just enhance the core strength I am already building there.

The snow is gone, and the monsoon season has arrived in Seattle.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Day!

It's been cold all week, this morning in particular for walking. Of course, it has not rained in the morning since I bought my waterproof hooded jacket -- but early this afternoon we got another type of precipitation. Though it looks like the snow will melt off rather quickly, it dusts everything with a bit of magic. Leroy is preparing a splendid feast for my management team and their spouses this evening. And I got a wee bit of holiday decorating done in honor of the event.