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Painted wooden lazy susan – acrylic

A recent trip with my sister to visit my nephew on Parent’s Day at Philadelphia University brought us fun, cheesesteaks and a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  (I told everyone “Jack has two mommies”).

Parent’s Day started off with the two of us visiting Jack, a freshman, in his dorm at PhilaU.  (I guess that’s better than P.U. which is what I was calling it.)

And what does a freshman want most?  Food, and lots of it.  My sister Alice did not disappoint, bringing frozen homemade meals, Ramen noodles, cookies, and a boat load of other snacks and toiletries including the “soft toilet paper” he specifically requested.  I guess Freshmen tushes are very sensitive these days.

Old Lady in Window, Rovingo /Rovinij Istria, Croatia – Watercolor on 1/2 sheet of Arches 140# cold press

Turns out, we never even made it to any of the Parent’s Day activities.  Jack wanted to go to Pat’s and Geno’s, the rival Philly cheesesteak establishments which are across the street from each other.   We sampled both and I paid the price later on. PLEASE pass the Rolaids!  Jack gave the thumbs up to Geno’s, while Alice gave it to Pat’s.  I just had a stomach ache after tasting both and swore I wouldn’t eat cheesesteak again.  After lunch Jack got a haircut ( #1 buzz ) and then we paid a visit to the Philadelphia Museum.  The big exhibit was Rembrandt and “face of Jesus”  and was interesting.  To balance the viewing we then went over to the contemporary gallery.  We saw plaster casts of people’s navels, saws with “saws” on them, a mobile of wax heads cut off at the necks and numerous other pieces that I didn’t get.    But one of my favorite parts of the day was when we exited through the gift shop after the Rembrandt show. The gift shop had giant fake wheels of cheese, wooden shoes, tulips and some Dutch chocolate along with the usual books and other Rembrandt paraphernalia.

When we exited the Museum, there where two bridal parties taking pictures. We saw a couple get engaged on the steps as their friends & family looked on from the steps above and cheered.  A group of school girls ran up the steps Rocky style. and we took pictures by the Rocky statue.   Alas, we had to leave but a visit back is already int the works.

Above you will find a large lazy susan I painted for my sister-in-law Jeanne.  I think she liked it, but I should have used gloss rather than matte varnish.  The old lady in the window in Istria has finally been completed.  I think she’s turning away because she just ate a Philly cheesesteak and now has agita.

Old Lady in Window, Rovingo /Rovinij Istria, Croatia – Watercolor  (work in progress) on 1/2 sheet of Arches 140# cold press

No joke.  We’ve had a roller-coaster of a week.  But first let me say thank you to all of my friends and family who wrote, called, emailed and texted asking how we were. We, luckily, are fine.

Our week started out with an earthquake.  Although not officially evacuated, when the building shook everyone ran outside. The last time the building shook like that it was on 9/11.  Interestingly, the people from California were the only ones who did NOT run outside.  They recognized it as an earthquake and stayed indoors.

I did NOT feel the earthquake as I had just run across the street to get some chocolate.  (NY Post Headline:  Woman finally saved by chocolate!)

The week continued with all the Hurricane Irene warnings.  The City took the unprecedented step of shutting down the entire subway system.  Never in my life has the subway system been completely shut down.  Clearly the end of the world was nigh.  There was also a mandatory evacuation of all “zone 1” areas. The hysteria was on.

A cynical  friend posted this.  I got the vodka and I’m a pro at complaining.  I’m still speculating about work on Monday.  Our illustrious mayor also just announced that City offices will be open tomorrow. When asked how workers will get to work he suggested we can take a cab. Don’t get me started.

We’ll see tomorrow morning when I go to the subway if I see the pink plastic that the City uses to let riders know that the station is closed.  (Thanks for the photo Judy!)

The water-color above is a work in progress.  I have so many amazing images from the beautiful country of Croatia which should keep me busy as long as the local natural disasters are kept at bay.  The image above is from Rovingo/Rovinij which is also called the “Venice of Istria” because of its beautiful port.  Many of the towns in Istria have two names.  An Italian name and its Croatian name.   Like Pola/Pula where we stayed with family during the beginning of our trip.  Croatia is an amazing and beautiful place and I can’t wait to return someday soon.

Just back from a fantastic trip to Croatia (or Hrvatska as the Croatians call it).  It was the Husband’s big birthday trip. Our first stop was Istria, a peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic.  That is where my father’s family comes from.   We got to see the town my grandmother came from which was fun.  The town is called Šušnjevica and I spoke about it and painted it here and here.   There will be many more paintings to come, but in the meantime here is a similar plate as the plates I made to give to my cousin’s cousins (got that?) who live in Pula and have, among other things, a vineyard.

Some observations from the trip:

Croatians are a tall people.

Germans are also a tall people and apparently like to take all their clothes off in the sun.

Europeans in general cannot stand in line if their life depended on it.  There may be a semblance of a line say, to get on a catamaran to take one to Hvar, but as soon as that catamaran docks, it’s a free-for-all.  This made the Husband nuts!  (Members of the UK are excluded from this observation. They excel at queuing!)

It amazes me that so many people from other countries can speak multiple languages.  I am always jealous of this.  One time in particular, there was a Croatian who spoke to my cousin’s cousin, who then turned and translated to my cousin in Italian who then turned and translated it into English for us.  Sigh.  I wish I was multi-lingual.  I also wish I was taller, younger, richer and weighed less.

The first native word the Husband learns is the word for beer.  (In Croatian it’s Pivo.)

“Trst” is the Croatian word for the Italian town of Trieste.  Krk is a Croatian island in the Adriatic.  Many of the Croatian words have impossibly long consonant combinations that make it difficult for non-speakers to even try to pronounce.  There are also many accented letters.  The Husband asked a native why they have little or few vowels in many of their words.  She thought about this for a moment, shrugged and said nonchalantly replied “we don’t need them”.    So there you go.

An amazing amount of Europeans still smoke.  I am astounded by that.

The myth of the skinny European has been debunked.  Many are as fat as Americans.

The Adriatic Sea is crystal clear and many beautiful shades of blue.

Croatians love their Crocs (which they call crocsies).

More on Croatia (Istria and the Dalmation Coast) with (hopefully) some paintings in later posts.

istrian-street-12-28-08

Today is my birthday.

I am not 60.

In class today the teacher brought out a cake for me with 6 candles.  Another person in the class joked that the 6 candles were for 60 years.   A twenty-something  girl  in the class looked at me quite earnestly and said “YOU LOOK GREAT FOR 60!”   I laughed and laughed.  So there you go.  I look great for 60!  At least that’s something.

December 28th is not the best day to have a birthday.  It’s 3 days after Christmas and 3 days before New Year’s and quite frankly no one gives a rat’s ass about it.   They are zonked from Christmas and looking forward to New Year’s Eve.    So, to all my friends and relatives who remembered, thanks!

I know three other people who have a birthday today.  My nephew Kevin.  Bob who lives around the corner and we never see each other.  And my husband’s partner Sean.

None of them are 60 today either.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being 60.  I hope to be lucky enough to be 60 someday.  However today is not that day.

The painting above is another image from Istria.  One of these days I will make it there to visit.

istrai-2-16-08.jpg

Here’s a watercolor done from a photo my sister took when she was in Istria where my grandparents came from. I started it in class last week and lost all hope. This week I looked at it and said, well, this will be one of those experiments that get ripped up at the end of the class, but surprisingly, after I worked on it some more I started to like it. I’m not quite sure if it’s done and will decide when I go back to class next week and it’s completely dry. In the meantime, I can tell you a little bit about Istria. I’ll give you the short version. When my grandmother was born, Istria was part of Austria. Then, after WWI it became part of Italy. Then, after WWII it became part of Yugoslavia. Now it belongs to Croatia. It’s symbol is a goat (I don’t know why.) (I am a Capricorn and that symbol is a goat I don’t know why.) It has an amazing coliseum that rivals the one in Rome. And I hope to visit there someday. In the meantime, I’ll just paint it.

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