Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


San Francisco Day Trip

Mr. E and I headed off to San Francisco yesterday to catch the next-to-last day of the Oscar de la Renta Retrospective exhibition at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. We had thought that the second day of the long weekend would be most optimal for a day trip (i.e. less traffic)... not! It took us 3 hours to get from Sac to SF, and that included taking the alternate route of highway 37 to highway 101 instead of staying on I-80 most of the time. Oy! I think some of the snarls were due to accidents, but otherwise, there were just lots o' folks on the road. Our return trip took less than 2 hours - phew!

By the time we made it to the De Young, we were a bit tardy for our 1pm entry time into the exhibition, but there was no line at all to enter, so we could just go right in. I'm glad we didn't have additional wait time here given all of the time we'd already wasted in the car! We spent about an hour admiring the creations of de la Renta and learning more about his work and influences and then grabbed lunch in the cafe to round out our visit.

Below are some of the photos I managed to take before my phone ran out of battery power...


Washington, D.C. Trip (Part 2)

Friday, May 13 - Conference Wrap-Up, National Portrait Gallery
I met up for lunch with my mentee R on Friday at Matchbox Chinatown and then spent about 30 minutes at the nearby National Portrait Gallery, based on her recommendation. So amazing that most of the museums in D.C. don't charge any admission fee! I enjoyed some of the portraits of contemporary figures, such as the four female Supreme Court Justices and author Toni Morrison:

I spent the most time in the exhibition of American Portraiture Today, which features submissions from artists across the country who work in a variety of media to create their portraits:

And I couldn't resist a few animal pictures and sculptures as well...

Saturday, May 14 - National Museum of Women in the Arts
The cloudy and rainy weather finally broke on Friday afternoon, and it was lovely to see the sun when I woke up on Saturday morning. So frustrating that I'm still not running again yet after my surgery, as it would have been so great to get out to enjoy the area! I made do with walking to the White House and along the National Mall on my way back to the hotel after my wonderful morning visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

I had very fond memories of this Museum from the trip that Mom and I took to D.C. in spring 2001, and I wasn't at all disappointed with my return visit. The current exhibition, She Who Tells a Story, features women photographers from the Arab world. Their images were striking, emotional, political, ironic, revealing, intriguing, and moving. Several of them were accompanied by comments from the photographers themselves that could be accessed via a free cell-phone audio guide to provide additional insight into the context, motivation, and messages behind the images.

A series of images features a "newlywed couple" in various settings that contrast scenes from their daily life with a war-like environment. Here, they're behind a sandbag bunker celebrating something with a cake.

I eventually realized that filling the frame with the artwork was more effective than trying to line up a perfect shot to feature the work hanging on the wall of the gallery. This close-up of the woman with a gun by her ear is overlaid by arabic text written across the image. I also rather like that the reflection vaguely shows another photograph on the opposite wall as well as a faint image of myself taking a picture of the picture.

Which item doesn't belong in this fruit bowl???

A series of images was printed as negative impressions, throwing everything into stark contrast with the reversal of what you'd expect to see printed as white versus black.

This image comes from a series that evoked potential album covers from female singers who are forbidden from performing in their country.

I know this panorama is difficult to see, but it shows a mother, daughter, and baby doll in a sequence from left to right as they all get more and more covered, losing their identities and their smiles, until the final image shows only the black cloth of the drapery that hid them.

This is another in the series featuring images with arabic text written on top.

The six women above are the singers who can't perform in their country. The exhibition included this display of six still photos of the performers along with a similar display on the opposite wall that showed videos of them singing with no sound, highlighting again the loss of their voices.

The designs and patterns overlaying the lounging woman in this tryptych are bullets and shell casings...

Washington, D.C. Trip (Part 1)

I attended the Enroll America "State of Enrollment" conference this year and spent May 10-14 in Washington, D.C. Although I was quite busy with conference activities during the day, I was able to enjoy a "Monuments by Moonlight" tour on Thursday evening, getting together with my mentee R for lunch and friends M & D for dinner on Friday, and visiting one of my favorite museums on Saturday morning before my return flight.

Tuesday May 10 & Wednesday May 11 - SMF > DC, Renaissance Hotel
I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown, which was a great location and very convenient to the metro, particularly for travel to Reagan Airport. The hotel rooms and meeting spaces showcased some really interesting art, most of which featured a theme tied to the history and culture of D.C. (politics!).

Thursday, May 12 - Monuments by Moonlight
The evening tour began a bit later than the scheduled 7:30pm start time, but we still had the opportunity to see all of the sites on the route, including the Capital Building, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Memorial, and Washington Memorial.