San Diego

Last week stayed with my friends of 45 years, L and P. Unfortunately, first had a memorial service for my cousin Carol Casper.

mom & carolCarol was the last living relative on my mother’s side of the family. (Mom was the youngest in the family, so everyone else predeceased her.)

Was looking for later photos of Carol, which I know I have, but all I found were lots of pictures of her as a kid before Mom was even married.  This is a photo of her with my mother.

When I was young, every four years we would drive from Detroit to LA to visit my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin.

Because Carol was a lot older than I was, she was an adult with a red convertible Sunbeam, and I was so delighted to sit behind the front seats, in a section about eight inches wide, when we drove up to Big Bear Lake.  That was probably in ’54, when I was eight.  (Who was in the front with Carol?  Probably my mother.  That year we took the train to LA and flew home ’cause Dad thought that we ought to experience a train before they became extinct, so we had no car of our own to drive.)

Carol was a teacher and I remember when she and one of her two best friends, P, taught on an air force base in Germany one year so they could travel around Europe on weekends and vacations.  I was envious.

Carol was probably the nicest person I’ve ever known, always helping others.  When her housekeeper was pregnant, with little money and no health insurance, Carol paid for the hospital.  When she was visiting a friend dying of cancer who was worried what would happen to her dog when she passed, my cousin adopted the dog (which her friend M now has).

Helped M (the other friend, P, passed away five days after my cousin), with one room of my cousin’s house, folding up all of Carol’s clothes (and she had a lot) for the garage sale next weekend.  But M still has the entire rest of the house to do, then getting it reading to be put on the market.

Los Angeles

ethel-davies-walt-disney-concert-hall-part-of-los-angeles-music-center-frank-gehry-architect-los-angelesThen my friend L wanted to go up to LA for two days to see the Norton Simon Museum and Huntington Gardens.

Realized I’d only been to LA two times since my brother moved to San Francisco after his marriage, which was probably 35 years ago.

One gettytime I flew to LA to hear Frank Gehry speak at the Disney Music Hall, a Michigan State fundraiser for alumni on the west coast.  The other time I drove over from Tucson for a weekend to see the Getty Center, designed by Richard Meier, when it had just opened. (Photos from the internet.)

Had never been to the Norton Simon Museum before.

lyn & lynneFriend L and me with Rodin’s The Burgers of Calais, completed in 1889.

It serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, an important French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year.

England’s Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crécy, laid siege to Calais, while Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege, and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender.

Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre, volunteered first, and five other burghers joined with him. Saint Pierre led this envoy of volunteers to the city gates. It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life.

Although the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England’s queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband to exercise mercy by claiming that their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child.

First we toured the In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas exhibit and the Asian Art collection.

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Then the Modern and Contemporary Art and Edgar Degas collections. Was totally blown away by the number of classic art pieces that they had.   There were many portraits.  Imagine is you’d asked Picasso to do a portrait of you and it looked like one of these by him:

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Degas’ most famous sculpture, The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, finished in 1881.

Degas dressed the wax figure in a silk bodice, gauze tutu, and fabric slippers, with a satin ribbon in her real hair wig. The wig, slippers, and bodice were covered with a layer of wax to help unite them with the rest of the work, while preserving their special texture.

A Giacometti.  One of Marino Marini’s Horsemen.  (Compare to the one with the detachable penis in front of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice1.)

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A Rousseau.  (Unfortunately, they’d put glass over the oil, and it reflected.)

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LA 043We’d been there almost from opening to closing but only saw about ⅓ of the museum.   We hadn’t even gotten to the European Art: 14th-16th C., European Art: 17th-18th C., European Art: 19th C., the 3-D Wall, and the Rembrandt van Rijn collections.  I took a few more photos as they herded us out.

Do these look familiar?  Portrait of Joerg Fugger by Giovanni Bellini, 1474, and Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1530.

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I took tons more photos and also got photos of the gardens, which looked pretty nice until we went to the Huntington Gardens the next day.  It blew me away.

LA 071It was Free Thursday at the Huntington Gardens.  (You need reservations.)  We spent the first two hours in the Desert Garden.

The Huntington Desert Garden is one of the largest and oldest assemblages of cacti and other succulents in the world. Nearly 100 years old, it has grown from a small area on the Raymond fault scarp when in 1907-1908 William Hertrich brought in plants from local nurseries, private residences, public parks, and from collection trips to the Southwest and Mexican deserts. Today the two dozen families of succulents and other arid adapted plants have developed into a 10-acre garden display, the Huntington’s most important conservation collection, a most important mission and challenge.
The desert garden features more than 5,000 species of succulents and desert plants in sixty landscaped beds.

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Managed to catch the Lily Ponds ( photos here of lotus and koi) and Herb Garden on our way to a quick lunch.  (We decided not to spend the $29/person for the Tea Room buffet.)

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LA 084Then two and a half hours in the Japanese Garden with its large collection of bonsai (this one hundreds of years old, dug up from the coast) and the Chinese Garden with many buildings and lily and lotus ponds.

 

 

 

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But had to leave by 3pm to miss most of the LA traffic.  (See comment by friend L: Return trip 4 hours and 15 minutes.)  Missed the Australian Garden, Camellia Garden, Children’s Garden, Conservatory, Jungle Garden, Palm Garden, Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and the Subtropical Garden. Nor did we get to the Huntington Art Gallery or Library. Must go again.

Home, Sunday August 10, 2014

Drove home Friday.  Only a 6-hour drive, but wipes me out.  Still few critters to be seen at my house, just a black widow on the outside of the office window, spinning her sticky web as I type, a huge Colorado River toad on my patio after dark, and coyote scat on my spa deck.

Hanging laundry out to dry yesterday it felt pretty humid, so I checked.  35%!!  And looks like we’ll have rain the whole time I’m home!  I do love the monsoons, if not the humidity – but only in the 30%’s, not like South Carolina where it’s in the 80%’s – so what am I complaining about?

tucson weather

Note: today’s rain amounted to about 14 drops here, and no thunder and lightening.

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/venice-saturday-15-2013-continued/

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2 Responses to “San Diego”

  1. Jim Says:

    Your wild friends must go looking for food from place to place, or die of starvation staying at your place. Unfortunately, not all human critters are as trustworthy as yourself, and they risk their lives being around them.

  2. Lyn Says:

    Trip north to LA was 2 hours. Return trip 4 hours and 15 minutes. Love that rush hour traffic at 3:00 p.m.

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