Monday, January 6, 2014


Monet's "Snow Scene at Argenteuil"

On Friday I woke up grumpy. I could see the snow stacked up on the windowsills, I could hear the whistle of the cutting wind, and I could feel the cold chilling the apartment. The alert on my phone said: -10 degree wind chills. I could hear it! I could hear the cold.

I grumbled as I put on layer upon layer of clothes getting ready for work. My mood went into certain distress when I could not find the winter fleece socks for my weatherproof boots. After twenty minutes, I went with my weatherproof sneakers instead.

Then I stood on the subway platform for an hour and a half, saw one packed train come and leave the station without a single person getting on or off, felt my feet go numb, and decided to call it a day on that endeavor. At street level I scurried into the neighborhood grocery store and made sure to grab enough food for Jesse and I if we were to be esconced for the entire weekend because of the blizzard.

Working from home in a comfortable outfit, under the blankets on the couch, was dream-like. How perfect! I could get everything done right there, and the wind sounds faded into something more like music as I knew I wouldn't have to face them that day again. Serenity.


I was not to stay indoors all weekend, thankfully.

On Saturday, an event I was looking forward to at the Frick: the Dutch Masters exhibition. I was in awe of the Vermeers and the Rembrandts; there were many paintings I had never seen in person that I had long ago learned about in art history. But perhaps I’m most enamored of paintings with fictional histories - I do love fiction and I read The Girl With a Pearl Earring over a decade ago, and just finished The Goldfinch. But these fictional accounts also were words upon words of appreciation for these paintings, so when I stood in front of them, it seemed like only then did I understand fully and completely their power and those words. There are swaths of pages near the end in The Goldfinch that are in tribute to the titular painting, and to the enduring legacy of art, to the communication inherent in a centuries-old painting. I was a bit breathless in the throng as I stared at the little bird; maybe my eyes welled up a bit.

I think my love for Donna Tartt's novel The Goldfinch is swelling in retrospect. I gave it 4.5 stars but now I can't imagine what I docked it for. I think now it's a 5-star book... maybe it's one of my favorite books? It's certainly one that stays on the mind, and after seeing the painting, with the atmosphere Tartt so wondrously puts to page in mind, I'm already looking forward to rereading it one day.


Afterwards, my museum companion Erica and I went to dinner, both carrying prints of Carel Fabritius' "The Goldfinch" and discussing our other favorite piece in the permanent collection, Jean-Antoine Houdon's sculpture "The Dead Thrush." I don't like birds much in real life, but am apparently attracted to them in art. I retreated home to an empty apartment (except for the cats, of course) and in my fervor of needing more ART decided to watch two long-time must-see Criterion edition films, The Double Life of Veronique and Paris, Texas. Definitely good, definitely ART -- my need to devour such satisfied.


On Sunday I met Amy for brunch in Williamsburg and we lamented how we'd each only been to Paris once but loved it so much and as we looked around the cafe (it has a French name) we tried imagining we were actually in Paris. But -- not even close. One day, again!

I returned home for football playoff games with Jesse. It's always fun to watch games with him, even with the Patriots aren't playing. At one point we were talking about the best films of the year and I was having trouble picking my favorite (I've been mulling it for far too long) and then he said that he still hadn't seen one of my finalists and maybe we should watch it. I never say no when Jesse wants to watch a movie! (I, obviously, am always ready to watch a movie.) So we popped it in and it solidified: this was definitely my favorite movie of 2013. More on that when I divulge my list this week...

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