Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quote for the Week

Here's a new quote I found for the new school year:

"You educate a man, you educate a man.
You educate a woman, you educate a generation."
              Brigham Young

To all girls (and boys, too) have a great school year.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Seeing the World in Polka Dots

Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan's premier artists had an exhibit this summer at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.  Standing in a small room surrounded by mirrors, I saw the ever changing colors in an installation titled Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears. (See picture above).  Kusama-- artist, sculptress, novelist, poet, influencer of fasshion design (Louis Vuitton has used her designs on handbags), pop culture icon, feminist--first came to attention in Japan when she organized "happenings" in which the naked participants were painted in brightly colored polka dots.  She moved to the United States in 1957 and became associated with pop culture artists such as Andy Warhol.  Eventually she returned to her native Japan and now lives (by choice) in a psychiatric hospital and is still actively involved in the art scene.  She once said, "If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago."
A second room at the museum contained Aftermath of the Obliteration of Eternity.  A man holding a stop watch stood at the closed door to the installation, allowing only a few people in at a time.  I was alone.  He pointed out a narrow platform with a line behind which I was to stand., reminding me that the  platform was surrounded by water.  Then he shut the door.  I couldn't see the water because, except for the golden lights and mirrors all around, the room was dark. I didn't move.  It was a moment of intense feeling--awe, fear, realization that I was alone in an endless universe.  Then the room went dark--completely black.  Is this was death feels like?  Or transformation?  Slowly the lights flickered back on, the door opened and I stumbled out into the shock the real world.

At the gift shop I bought a plate by Kusama entitled Women Wait for Love but Men Walk Away.
Look up some of Kusama's work on Google.  Even seeing it online is an experience!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Quote for the Week

I've just returned from a visit to my family in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, so this seemed like the perfect quote for this week:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hooray for Houston!-

Hooray for Houston, my home town!

We are BIG!!  Houston is spread over 655 square miles, an area large enough to include the cities of Boston, Minneapolis, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. combined! 
Houston is crisscrossed by bayous.  It's often called the Bayou City.  See bayou map below:
We are one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.  145 different languages are spoken here.
Houstonians love to dine out.  In fact, we're number #1 (what else?) in dining out in the country.  We have 10,000 restaurants, enough to keep us dining out for a long time.  And, oh yes, we also have the largest number of food snobs in the country.
Houston is the home of the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, with 106,000 employees (My daughter is one of them.)  It covers 50 million square feet and is the 8th largest business district in the U.S. It's home to the country's number 1 cancer center and number 4 children's hospital.  If you need medical care, Houston is the best place to be.
We have more parks per 1000 people than Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and New York
We have 5 professional sports teams--Astros (baseball), Rockets (basketball), Texans (football), Dyanomo (men's soccer) Dash (women's soccer).  We are hosting the 2017 Super Bowl, but alas, neither the Texans nor their predecessors, the Oilers, have ever played in one.
The Houston Astrodome was the first domed stadium ever.  It was known as the 8th wonder of the world.  Now it stands empty, while over the years, people have tried to decide what to do with it.  No one has come up with a solution yet.
Houston hosts one of the largest livestock shows and rodeos every year.  The day before it opens there's a parade and it usually rains, but who cares.  Anyone interested in advertising in the livestock show catalog?  My daughter is selling space.
Houston has some of the most unusual landmarks in the country.  Here's the Beer Can House:
And here's the Orange Show, dedicated to the orange, of course:

Houston is hot and muggy in the summer, cool and muggy in the winter.  It has horrendous traffic.  The bayous flood after heavy rains.  It's ranked high for cities with the most obese people (All that dining out).  We are one of the few (maybe the only) large city without zoning, which makes for strange neighborhoods.

The people are friendly, we have a vibrant cultural scene, it almost never snows and if just a few flakes fall, the city grinds to a halt, and best of all, it's in Texas.  The University of Houston sponsored radio station has been asking if we should have a Hexit (secede from Texas) but most people say NEVER.  
I wouldn't live anywhere else!

What's your favorite city?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7 Inspirational Quotes for the Week

And for women everywhere...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

UT Austin, August 1, 1966

Munich, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, Virginia Tech, Columbine...Austin.

I didn't have space to list all the mass shootings on record, but the one I remember most happened  50 years ago next week, long before mass shootings crowded our headlines, before flags seemed to be permanently at half-staff.

It was an ordinary August day.  My two children, one in preschool, the other about to start first grade, were up early, ready to play.  I don't remember exactly what we did that morning, but I vividly remember that the afternoon began with a phone call from a friend I'd gone to college with at the University of Texas.  "Turn on your radio," she said.  "There's a guy shooting people from the Tower."

For a moment I was confused.  "What tower?" I asked.

"The UT Tower.  He's up at the top with a rifle, killing people."

Shocked, I turned on my radio.  This was long before the 24-hour news cycle.  Listening, I suddenly got a cold chill.  My sister was in Austin visiting our parents, and I remembered she and Mother and a friend were planning to go out to lunch.  Where?  I called home.  The housekeeper answered the phone.  "I think they went to the Night Hawk," she said, "the one on the Drag."

The Drag.  Guadalupe street, across from the UT campus.  In sight of the Tower.  "Tell them to call me as soon as they get home," I said.  (There were, of course, no cell phones in 1966.)  Then I went on listening to reports of students lying dead on the mall in front of the Tower, people hiding behind bushes,  running for cover screaming, and finally news that the sniper had been killed.

By the time I got the call from my sister that they hadn't gone to the Drag--they'd changed their luncheon plans--I'd learned that the shooter was a student named Charles Whitman, a former serviceman, a "nice guy" according to people who knew him.  Aren't they all "nice guys" until they go berserk and murder innocent people?  Yes, he was easily angered but otherwise pretty ordinary.  Except the night before his rampage on campus, he'd killed his wife and his mother.  An autopsy revealed he had a brain tumor.

All week I've heard radio clips, read articles about the 50-year-ago massacre, and last night I dreamed I was there, on the Texas campus, hiding in an office with a crowd of other people, keeping the door blockaded, watching from the window as people died before our eyes.  The dream, unlike most, didn't fade away.  It's been on my mind all day.

Charles Whitman's name has gone down in University of Texas history.  Now there are so many names, we hardly remember them. So many useless deaths.  When will the violence stop?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quote for the Week

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

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