Archive for June, 2010

Trying to make a purse out of a sow’s ear

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

It’s a gorgeous day here in Minneapolis and as I have been trotting around with colleagues going to meetings, droves of people in Twins baseball shirts have been headed over for the noon game to watch the Twins play the Detroit Tigers (I think) in their brand new stadium. At one point, I stopped walking and felt the sunshine on my face – it did help with my summertime cold blues.

When work was done I decided to take a walk and get some more of that sweet sunshine stuff and so I headed to the Walker Art Center, in particular to look at the Herzog de Meuron addition. I learned that the museum is considered 5th in the nation in terms of its collection but the reasons weren’t immediately apparent.

For one thing, I might be biased because I feel crummy.

So I went into this interactive room where you can lie on these cocoon like banana hammocks and listen to Jimi Hendrix and watch images of him flashing on the ceiling and walls. Then I went over to the next interactive room where an animated dolphin was on a screen awaiting you to type in questions on a keyboard – the dolphin has artificial intelligence, which intrigued me after reading about how advanced AI has become at IBM in recent years due to guess what? you got it – blogs, which are just adding to the brain database of AI. So I sat down and started typing:

Question: Will the BP oil spill ruin the Gulf?

Dolphin: Good chance.

Question: Is there anything we can do about it?

Dolphin: There is.

Question: What should I do?

Dolphin: What do you look like?

That stumped me. So then I thought these were some stock answers and so I tested the Dolphin:

Question: Is there a god?

Dolphin: I believe.

Then I moved on to the next exhibit, which consisted of a lot of the historic paintings from Walker’s mansion, the endower of the museum. Interesting. World class – not particularly not like the Art Institute in Chicago or the Henry Moore sculpture garden in Paris.

Next many rooms of Argentinian Guillermo Kuitca – again large scale interesting, nothing super compelling for me.

Then I had to get out of there – my nose was running and I started feeling like I needed solar rays to get me better, so I headed out to the sculpture garden on the side, which contained some interesting pieces from the usual suspects – Calder, Serra, Moore – but as I sat on a bench, then laid on the bench, praying for sun recharging, I thought about our own sculpture garden at home and realized ours was more world class and prettier.

Then I wanted to be home. As nice as the weather is here, as accommodating as everyone is here, it ain’t home. So I walked a long way back to the hotel and went straight to the bar and asked for a shot of vinegar.

I’m going to kill this virus – one way or another.

Summer chills without the thrills

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

I crawled into bed last night at the hotel in Minneapolis, shaking all over with chills. I was so cold I got up and put on a big plush bathrobe to sleep in. It’s amazing I spend most of my sleeping time trying to be cool because my body is an inferno – I sleep nude, I put the a/c on 75 degrees, and I never seem to be cool enough and here I am shivering like a leaf on a tree.

This morning I woke and felt like I needed sustenance so I went down the restaurant and ordered eggs with brocolini and a glass of vinegar. I’m determined to kill this virus at least before I get home so I don’t reinfect the household again with this unpleasant bug.

In the meantime, T said it just quit raining in New Orleans and here it is a mere 67 degrees and dry. T is off to bring her mom to the airport for her long journey home and I’m waiting for my own journey home tomorrow.

You don’t know heat, dude

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I was in Boston all day and it was so pleasant, I just wanted to drop down on a park bench and soak up the sun. But wait – everyone there was talking about how hot and humid it was – what? It felt like I was in my house with the a/c on only it was less humid than the LaLa. Very strange.

We arrived in Minneapolis to 71 degrees and super dry even though everywhere I looked as we approached our landing I saw green and lakes. Who knew Minneapolis was so fecund.

Number 8

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I was in Boston yesterday in Room 701 and arrived in Minneapolis to Room 701 – something in the air I gather. But 701 adds up to 8 – the number of infinity and the sum of two fours, my favorite number. Now if I were prone to mysticism (which I can be), I’d say this is a lucky trip for me.

But since I spent the almost three hours of this flight coughing and wheezing and meanwhile missing Tin say “bayou” for the first time, it’s hard to come to that conclusion.

Strife in the Congo

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I was reading about the atrocities in the Congo where rape is the Weapon of Mass Destruction and is the weapon used to destroy the women there, their families and whole communities. We all know by now that countries where women are second class citizens are countries that are rootless – children get trained in war not civic studies or history. Meanwhile the war against women in the Congo continues unabated.

I met a man today from the Congo who had moved to Boston three years ago. I asked him how things were in his village at home and he said, “You see me here in Boston.”

I wished his country good luck because they need that or someone needs to go in there and arm these women with machine guns.

No defense for my food

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I finished reading In Defense of Food and ordered The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan talks a lot about things that are core to my belief but he also points his finger directly at some habits that have been hard to kick. Americans, he says, are driven to consume food on the go and in the recent decades solely on the basis of nutrition nonsense rather than the pleasure of eating. I would say when I see people ordering nonfat anything I’m usually rolling my eyes at them but I know when I order my whole milk they are rolling their eyes at me.

But I remember a time when I said I wish there was just a pill to take instead of eat as I have no time for it. Breakfast in the morning is slurped down – usually real food – steel cut oats, cut up fruit and yoghurt – but slurped none the less as I rush to my desk. Then for lunch it is the ubiquitous burrito (made in Texas, sold at Whole Foods, always hard to find) because I can nuke it for a minute, carry it in one hand, while I scarf if down. I try to throw in an apple or carrots when I can. But getting pleasure out of food is hard because food to me is always fraught with issues.

I love good food, and we eat real food 99% of the time, but I have trouble eating my own good cooking. After I have spent so much time with the food, I love to watch others eat it but don’t care to eat it myself. I’m always worried about my weight and having low blood sugar issues when I’m trying to cut back and I can’t tolerate alcohol without food. So I get caught up in nutrition, weight gain, naturalness, and need. Instead of sitting down to enjoy a home cooked meal.

After finishing the book I decided a goal would be to start having dinner with Tin so that he could learn table manners and I could learn how to enjoy food again. And I also said I wouldn’t eat on the run but this morning when I suddenly had a report to edit, instead of being able to go out and enjoy the beautiful Boston weather and sit and have a nice breakfast in the park or at a cafe, I found myself ordering $30 room service, half ass eating while typing and then psycho crazily showering to get ready for a meeting.

I have no defense – not for food or myself. I know that as an American, I’m an overachiever, but tell me how can we be anything else in this society? How can I slow down and eat when I can’t slow down? I need a complete life make over and right now the olive grove in Dalmatia sounds like the best life plan. It would certainly help my Croatian.

Fade to grey

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

I arrived in Boston last night on the heels of a bad storm; we almost didn’t get in at all. But weather in NY was terrific and weather albeit overcast when we landed in Boston the weather was terrific albeit grey skies so somewhere in between a storm was raging. I rushed to the hotel to put down my things and head out to meet friends for dinner and the hotel decided on their own volition to upgrade me to this fabulous one bedroom suite/apartment. All I could think is great place and limited time to enjoy it – seems to be a common theme.

I went to Sam’s above Louis of Boston now in its new location on the water at Four Point Channel – a chew and view that is also delicious, a rarity for these types of venues! I had crepes with greens and one friend had the skate that had two generous beautiful sides of couscous (the fat roly poly kind) and veges – yum, while the other had a big salad filled with fresh greens and mussels with frites. We quickly caught up on everything we possibly could cover in a limited time frame and then they came back to my fabulous digs here at Nine Zero and we finished off in my living room listening to 70s rock tunes on the radio. My friend said she can’t believe I’ve not had one single complaint about motherhood – and I said not one, it’s fabulous.

Not a bad diversion for my business junket.

But this morning, I woke with Tin’s virus that he still isn’t over – watery eyes, scratchy throat, fever and a general feeling like I wanted to cry all day. Instead, I visited with clients and tried to wipe the tears from my eyes which might have been interpreted as a reaction to the market crashing today. Meanwhile my mind was fading to grey like the skies I rode in on.

Next stop Minneapolis and a drug store somewhere in between.

Waking up elsewhere (again)

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I woke this morning at The Bowery hotel in New York, not in a panic, but more dazed and confused 5.5 hours sleep and miles to go and the initial flush of where am I and why? Senator Byrd, who was in critical condition when I went to bed late, is dead. It seems that every time I check into this hotel, someone is dead the next day. This is where I was staying when mom died November 30th last year.

I drew the curtains and stared groggily out a the landscape; the typical New York buildings crowding each square inch, but this view is different, it is into the backyards of all the buildings – there is a large rectangular yard of grass barely used it appears, a broad canopied tree squished into the interstitial of two buildings, sun sneaking in the cracks of structure. New York might be more foreboding in its soft spots rather than the roar of the street.

Last night, late, I arrived to the restaurant crowded, the bar and lounge area peopled, and I snuck upstairs and tucked myself away up in my solitary room, away from the madding crowd.

What Treme really gets wrong

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I really dislike the John Goodman character on Treme – he is so Hollywood and so un New Orleans, if there is such a qualifier. He is obnoxious in the ways that Tulane professors just aren’t. But I especially hated the episode where he rants on YouTube and says Fuck You to Houston and Atlanta.

I’m sorry but if you really did go through Katrina that is fucked up. When we came back people drove around with bumper stickers that said, THANK YOU HOUSTON, and everyone in New Orleans owes it to the people of Texas and Georgia who opened their arms and doors to us refugees.

What I’d like to know is why John Goodman – who thought that was a good idea? A midwestern Hollywood actor playing a Tulane professor after the levees failed.

The real sex in this city

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Landed at JFK this evening and stood in a godforsaken line about two miles long waiting for a taxi. You might imagine the far ranging sorts that stood there with me but directly behind me were four women, returning from New Orleans, and discussing their escapades as if no one could hear them. The blonde slept with a 24 year old (she looked to be late 30s) and said that she didn’t catch his age until later and by then she was already smitten. Why is it that cougaring always involves a 24 year old, not 25 or 23, but 24 year old. The other one was checking her meals, which she apparently has delivered – breakfast lunch and dinner – tomorrow would be three blueberry pancakes, a tablespoon of syrup, vegetable sausage (whatever that is) and so on. She is trying to lose weight and the trip to New Orleans didn’t count, so she said (I know better). The other one described the umpteen mosquito bites she got especially in her inner thighs while lying on a lounge chair near the pool – she was smoking a cigarette as she spoke. Number 4 had a secret but she wasn’t telling.

Seems the real sex in this city was happening in the Big Sleazy all along.