Author Archives: deemallon

Isabella Stewart Gardner

Come on a journey with me to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, one of my favorite places in Boston — maybe, anywhere. But first let us pause at the Museum School to read sentiments scribed more than 20 years ago and more relevant than ever. I almost cried.

If you want to know more about Gardner, her extraordinary life, the museum, or the infamous theft of 1990, I’ll leave you and google to it. These are just pictures from a day.

The new wing houses gift shop, cafe and this lounge. Plus some exhibit spaces we didn’t get to this visit.

While others checked coats, I found welcome contrast to pewter skies in a narrow greenhouse.

The early Sargent of a Spanish dancer is one of my favorite paintings by one of my favorite painters. Seeing it and it alone is worth the price of admission (which was gratis for me today but still).

The exquisite atrium follows.

Gardner was wild for her day. It occurred to me on the way home that if she had been a man, there’d be thirteen biopics about her by now with a new one due out next year.

BTW, should you hear of a Rembrandt or Vermeer on the black market, there’s a $10MM reward for information leading to the recovery of the five stolen paintings.

Teeny preview and garbage pick up

Re: Etsy

I’m swearing that this time I’ll be organized. It used to be when something sold I’d panic because half the time I had no idea where the object got off to. Can you imagine?

In this house, with windows everywhere and decorated walls, taking professional-looking product shots is challenging. Not this time! I’m going to dedicate one of the boys’ rooms to photography. Whee! Lights and props out (and left out) is a prescription for ease.

I have a notebook ready for pen and paper notes. No more languishing listings! But more to the point of a well-groomed shop, everything’s gonna be done on my phone. That’s how I know it’s gonna be different. A whole new level of access and attention!

(As readers here might know, I have an inexplicable aversion to sitting at the desktop).

Hospital update: it looks like N might be staying through the weekend. Longer than I expected. While her new subsidized housing is great, with the move she lost the neighbors who used to check in on her cat. Damn!

The nurses and doctors are taking good care of my sister. That’s something to be grateful for.

Lastly, walking Finn an hour ago this happened: a big green monster of a garbage truck barreled past on its hungry quest for abandoned Christmas trees. Usually these trucks leave a malodorous trail. Imagine my delight to smell balsam instead — great heady wafts of it lasting the entire block.

AND, just as that pleasant sensation unfolded at street level, a red tailed hawk flew directly overhead, close — just above the power lines.

How about that?

Long day

A difficult day. When I got home I combined leftover spaghetti (two meatballs) with some leftover chicken soup, added a cup of cilantro and a handful of grated cheddar. It might sound awful but it was delicious and I don’t think solely because of the day I’d had.

My sister’s in the hospital again.

After the soup I really indulged. Butterscotch, raspberries and vanilla ice cream.

No wonder I didn’t have dinner!

For months my sister badgered me to sign up for Acorn TV. I resisted. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime — what did I need Acorn for? Well, this past week, K and I finally subscribed — mostly so we could watch new Vera’s (love Vera. She looks like my Nana Jacques. She doesn’t take shit from anyone). Saw those and moved on to Loch Ness — a creepy good six parter with lots of twists and turns.

I can’t wait to recommend it to my sister. She will love it, too.

Football Poetry – Patriots vs. Chargers

I was ironing. The game was on. Every now and then, I grabbed a piece of commentary.

Football Poem #1

The soft spot in the pocket
It just takes a while
All these streaks you talk about
They’re changing it up
A double team, it’s really hard
By flowers
A lot of zone right here
We’re not going sideways
From the get-go
A hand on it
Just blown up at the end of it
There he is
I did it! Oh

Sunday table 1/13/18

The football game is on. A fire snaps in the fireplace. Leftover stew was divine.

This Cloth doodle irked. The layers impeded handquilting, so I’m calling it done.

Planning to reopen my old Etsy store in near future. I would love love love to let go some of my work! And a teeny income stream would be novel, welcome.

Puzzles done. Vacuuming done. Finn is limping so another walk is not in order. Time to iron a few shirts and sort the sock basket!

(Studio tableaux)

At 3:00 am

When I rise in the early hours, I love to look out the window on my way downstairs. It’s quiet out there. Dark. Unlike a sunshine shadow, a streetlight shadow carries an air of mystery and force, as if it might unhitch itself from its creator (in this case a bent maple branch) and walk off — probably to work mischief somewhere.

Last night sleeplessness might’ve been caused by an unshakeable sense of unease about not going up to Salem this weekend (a feeling my sister graciously dispelled this morning). Or, it might’ve been the bombshell NYTimes reporting late yesterday about our president being under surveillance as a national security risk (which sounds like the same old same old but certainly isn’t).

But mostly, it’s this body I inhabit, this time of life. Sleep just doesn’t come sometimes.

After reading twitter and watching Maddow, I finished reading this debut novel in the wee hours. Tommy Orange graduated from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

One of the characters tells us early on that Gertrude Stein grew up in Oakland, the novel’s setting, and upon her return after being away for many years, said (in her inimitable style): “There is no there there.”

When those words are quoted by a white gentrifier in passing to one of the Native characters (who is both Indian and native to Oakland), it takes on the weight of history. “There is no there there” could be the catch phrase for genocide. The Oakland Native character is well read enough to know, too, that Stein used the phrase to describe change and not really to say something about the place itself and so the remark is both insulting and ignorant. That gives you a feel for the book’s themes and occupations.

The novel is haunting, sad (really sad), and at times funny. Family is central. There are parents who vanish and parents who are doing the best they can but falling far short of the mark. There are the lingering scars of a devastating history. In one review, Orange said, “We are the memories we don’t remember.”* The book’s main and final event, a first-time powwow in Oakland, provides a canvas to explore a range of relationships to Indian culture — from celebratory to ambivalent to predatory.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, so this novel would benefit from a second read. By the time of the denouement, I had trouble remembering who everyone was which makes me think this story would make a better movie than novel.

But it’s a good novel.

* NYTimes review by Colm Toibin.

Tuesday in 2019

A blissfully quiet day. The predicted storm turned out to be a dusting and no more. Finn is out with Handsome Dog Walker. Coffee is in the larder after an early morning grocery run. My sister will see a new PT today. Mike.

K is thankfully not scheduled to fly anywhere anytime soon. “WTF?” is all I’ll say to the shutdown and to the networks who seem to have unanimously decided to air the gasbag’s gaslighting this evening.

I am making revisions to the text, rereading journal entries from when C was a baby, and writing new scenes for the novel.

A pile of ironing awaits. Couldn’t stay awake for Maddow last night, so I’ll watch her as I press.

Chicken stock cooling on the stove. The whole downstairs smells of its savory goodness.