How fortunate I felt to see this gorgeous masterpiece with my son at the Minneapolis Institute of Art!! On loan from the city of Amsterdam, it is a painting by Johannes Vermeer,
painted 1662-1663. Titled:"Woman Reading A Letter".
He only completed between 35-50 paintings in his lifetime, which certainly makes this one more of a treasure. The light coming in from the left, brightens the wall, the woman's face, hands, letter, and illuminates her vibrant blue gown. Highlights jump off the canvas in the chair tacks and decorative rod of the wall map. The effect is both subtle and filled with life. I was transported for a few moments from my world to hers.
It has been tremendously bone-chilling and frigid here all week in Minnesota. So today, I truly needed to get out of the house for a change of scenery and fresh air. I piled on layers of warm clothing, you know that point of where one can barely move, and went for a long hike. There's a trail I take past this tree, which I've nick-named the "Scream". (Like the famous Norwegian painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch.) There is a comparison here! Plus, the screaming tree represents how I've been feeling about the weather lately!
As I trudged, wind picked up, (-13 wind chill), and snowflakes fell from the sky. Flakes accumulated on my lashes and my mind started to wander on words from an excellent book I recently finished by Anthony Doerr. He talks about living in Rome and wanting to be in the Pantheon with the first snowflakes falling through an open hole in the domed roof (the oculus). When I toured the Pantheon years ago I saw blue sky through the oculus and watched sunlight illuminate the floor around me and can only imagine how gorgeous and magical snowflakes would be!!!
I highly recommend Doerr's wonderfully written book: "Four Seasons In Rome". It will warm you and take you somewhere lovely. It is a story with a SOUL.
Christmas arrived and departed in the blink of an eye...leaving faded images of fun had by all....
Yummy food to share
Raclette dinner, so delicious, it will be a new holiday family tradition. Everything is cooked on a Swiss Raclette griddle while the Raclette cheese is melting in little individual drawers under the griddle top (sorry, no photo). Each person picks what they want for their plate and pours molten cheese over the top...(what's not to like about that?)...and goes back for more!! Cheesy Deliciousness!!
Recently I was introduced to : " the daily Skimm". ( http://www.theskimm.com/ ) A free daily on-line newspaper created for professional women who don't have time to read or listen to daily news in other traditional formats.
Alright, this does fill a niche. I can imagine checking in on my cell while brushing my teeth in the morning...clicking on the little links while using the toilet.....more clicking on the little links while at my desk to get in depth information. This information is selective and usually a day old....and does not include any local news. Written in a "witty" way, advertised as in "talking with your best girlfriend". Almost as in a late night talk show format, but without a monologue, guests, or band.
Plus, you get recommended conversation topics for certain social situations!...yeah...because you know how we all talk about politics, stock market, and world war while we're celebrating dinner out with friends, having coffee with a significant other, or chatting with a MAN. And heavens, we may run out of SMART conversation fodder!
Normally, I get this info while watching local news while making my morning coffee...tuning into Public Radio during the morning drive...turning on my laptop...filling my gas at the pump (with the news program on its TV screen)...sitting at the doctor's office...working out at the club, staring at their screens, while on the treadmill. I feel it's ever present and all around me.
Yet, the biggest part of "the daily Skimm" that is most difficult to accept is the logo: the Skimm logo
A woman in heels, skirt, pearl necklace, hair in bun, no waist, holding a purse,
(while reading her ipad).
Stereotypical, old-fashioned, sexist, are just SOME of the adjectives that come to mind.
I have no time in my life for this self proclaimed daily woman's "time-saver".