January 23, 2017

Red Bank, NJ. Autumn, 1950

Today is my husband's birthday. He is [# removed] years old. But even as a child, as you can see here, he had an eye for fashion and a distinguished look. As well as a somewhat wary glance. Were the suspenders red? The hair was. Happy birthday, Dr. B.

January 22, 2017

Gloucester, MA. January, 2005

When we were little kids growing up in New Jersey, my brother and I would watch the same Christmas programs on TV year after year. Television itself was only a little older than we were, and the programs I remember were in black and white and lacking any special effects...but they were no less special to us. One that I remember was about how Franz Gruber had composed “Silent Night” one snowy evening in Austria. I took this snowy picture on the Saturday night my brother called me from New Jersey to say that our father had died. A blizzard had begun earlier in the day, and it would continue all night and all the following day, making travel impossible. After the storm had finally passed, and we were able to dig out, I headed south. Brien and I got through the formalities and the sadness by listening to the soundtrack album from Robert Altman’s Nashville on his truck’s CD player in the funeral parlor parking lot. When I see this photo, I think of that “Silent Night” TV program, of my late father, of “heavenly peace.”

January 21, 2017

Boston. December, 2016

Here's some advice for those older folks (rhetorical, of course) who find themselves in a position to be photographed: 1. Always opt for backlighting; never submit to fluorescent overhead lighting. 2. Don't wear voluminous clothing that makes you appear somewhat larger than you actually are. 3. Avoid being photographed next to someone younger, thinner or cuter than you are; and NEVER all three. 4. Practice posing until you have achieved an insouciant look that will be flattering in any photos taken. As you can see here, my friend Rob (left) has mastered items 2, 3 and 4. And the elderly gentleman on the right has not.

January 20, 2017

Watertown, MA. January, 2017

So noted. Can you think of any public figure today who wouldn't be allowed in the library?

January 19, 2017

Nantucket. July, 2009

When I lived in New Jersey, figuring I could go to the Statue of Liberty any old time, I never went. Now I live in Massachusetts, and I figure I can go to Nantucket any old time. You know the rest. So when I was working not that long ago on some copy to describe the benefits of new noise-reduction headsets engineered for pilots, my client suggested I might want to fly with the product and experience it firsthand. Good idea. Even better idea: When we took off in the small, luxurious plane from Mansfield Airport, our pilot floated the possibility of flying to Nantucket for lunch. All in favor? Everyone. And even though we ate at the airport restaurant, it was the best reuben I’ve ever had, owing mostly to the company, the view and the spectacular approach, seen here. When we all returned to the mainland and I, sadly, to my office, colleagues asked me where I had been most of the day. “Oh,” I said, “doing some product research with a client.”

January 18, 2017

New York, NY. December, 2016

Manet is one of my very favorite painters. Yet I keep forgetting that the Metropolitan Museum of Art houses this beautiful painting of his, The Dead Christ with Angels. Here's what I learned from The Met's website: "Manet identified the source for this painting, the first of several religious scenes, in the inscription on the rock: the Gospel according to Saint John. However, in the passage cited, Christ’s tomb is empty except for two angels. After Manet sent the canvas to the 1864 Salon, he realized that he had made an even greater departure from the text, depicting Christ’s wound on the wrong side. Despite Charles Baudelaire’s warning that he would 'give the malicious something to laugh at,' the artist did not correct his mistake. Critics indeed denounced the picture, particularly the realism of Christ’s cadaverous body." Spoilsports.

January 17, 2017

Trastevere, Rome. October, 1986

There are lots of reasons to visit Trastevere, the section of Rome “across the Tiber” from the centro. My first trip was to a Sardinian restaurant where I’d sampled the flaky, ultra-thin flatbread carta di musica (sheet music.) Another time was with Paolo, a sometime Fellini actor and Italian teacher-turned-boyfriend of an American friend, who was going to show me the best pizzzeria in Rome, the St. Ivo. The place was packed with sports fans, the pizza memorable, and I recall moving several barricades so that we could park within an off-hours construction site, no other space being available. (I call this kind of shenanigan “When in Rome” behavior.) But if I had to pick my favorite site in Trastevere, it would be this: the Bernini statue of Blessed Ludovica Albertoni in the church of San Francesco a Ripa. Bernini is well known for his Roman masterpieces: fountains in the Piazzas Navona and Barberini, the baldechino and colonnaded piazza of St. Peter’s Basilica, his magnificent sculpture of Saint Teresa in Ecstasy in the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria (an almost daily Roman stop for me.) This quiet and subtle memorial rests in a small niche to the left of San Francesco’s altar, lit naturally from a small window hidden above. Yet another wonderful example of how Bernini could make marble ripple with a soft, liquid expressiveness, evidenced as much in the suffering facial expression as in the billowing expanses of fabric. Ludovica is considered a “blessed person” in Roman Catholicism, known for her religious ecstasies and her alleged gift of levitation. Beatified in 1671, her canonization and sainthood are still pending.