Category Archives: Travel 2018

Saturday in Chicago

I spent an active day in Chicago yesterday.

Breakfast was at the Corner Bakery by my hotel. Then I took off for the Newberry Library and their magnificent exhibition about the 1893 Columbian Exposition here in Chicago.

I bought a few greeting cards too, then headed to the Art Institute. Since I have never done the whole Chinese collection, I spent most of my time there on Saturday. What a glorious permanent collection this is!

I met up with my friend Ramelle and two of her friends for a quick dinner and drinks at the Purple Pig, then went to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for their subscription concert Saturday evening. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted, with the second half being the heart-churning Symphony No. 6 by Tchaikovsky.

A quick late call with Yufei brought me back the hotel for a drink and a blog entry. And some Amazon time looking up books I saw today….

I also stopped by a few shops today, and have now a few extra [smaller] bags of goodies to bring home.

A year later

One year ago this morning, I packed my car with two suits and other clothes for a ten-day stay . . . and drove west via I-70 to my hometown.

The hospice nurse had told me the day before that I probably needed to be home sooner rather than later.

I arrived in early afternoon to find my father awake and responsive enough to know me and say “Hi, Son.” Later that day he sipped a bit of Pepsi and remarked on how good it was.

Those couple of days in bed and awake were restless ones for him. By Saturday he was sleeping soundly, no longer speaking, difficult to rouse.

By Sunday night, he was gone.


One year later, I’m headed to Chicago for a holiday weekend of glorious music and even a visit to the ballet. Life is good. The last year has been full indeed.

But Pop is on my mind today.

National Portrait Gallery

Since the building was very close to a Metro stop, I made three visits to the National Portrait Gallery during my recent D.C. trip.

Part of this famous old building was the Civil War hospital where Clara Barton served.  She later founded the American Red Cross.  Walt Whitman walked these same floors.

And Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held in this room:

Amazing to think of the ghosts that inhabit this space!

From the third-floor Twentieth Century Americans exhibit, these performers caught my eye:

And of course I couldn’t miss the new portrait of Michelle Obama!

More pandas

Since my conference hotel in D.C. last week was an easy (uphill) walk to the National Zoo, I took some time to see the panda bears.

The male and female adults were in separate enclosures, and one of the three Washington-born panda cubs was on display in his indoor enclosure.

Mei Xiang, the momma.

Bei Bei the cub was adorable, and playful too!

Dumbarton

On my last day in Washington, D.C. last week, I visited two places that have long been on my list — Dumbarton House and Dumbarton Oaks.

These two estates, vastly different from each other, take their names from a grant of land made by Queen Anne in 1702.

Dumbarton House is a Georgian estate home sitting on the eastern edge of Georgetown. Visitors can gain a sense of what privilege was like in the early 1800s in the mid-Atlantic states. 

Tea-cup and saucer on table.
Entry hall.
Lockset on front door.
Vases on mantel.

Dumbarton Oaks is known variously for its collection of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and European art works; for its extensive and impressive garden; for being the site of some of the talks that led to the establishment of the United Nations; and for Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks concerto.  Of interest to me was the Steinway D grand piano, with signed photos of masters who played in that massive music room — Stravinsky, Isaac Stern, Nadia Boulanger.

Guggenheim

In all of my NYC trips, I have never gone to the Guggenheim.  My continued attempts to go, only to find them closed, have become a private joke.

But this trip, I found them open, and with a magnificent exhibit of works of Hilma af Klint. These are otherworldly paintings, begun and finished in a white heat.

Group X, Alterpieces

A few of the museum’s permanent collection works were on display as well:

Degas: Dancers in Green and Yellow
Toulouse-Lautrec: In the Salon