Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back to work

Yesterday was a rude awakening. Having just come back from a four-day weekend (I was lucky to get Friday, 2/15 off), and a three-day weekend before that, coming back to work felt like a drag. I know there are many projects that are coming my way that will keep me busy for the next month or so, but thankfully none of them were presented to me on my first day back. Today might be my “lucky” day.

I spent President’s Day in Pasadena, dining at my favorite restaurant in that area, Roscoe’s Chicken n’ Waffles. I cannot say enough how much I love dining there (see past post here), and Monday’s meal was no exception. I ordered my usual fare of fried chicken (drumstick and thighs) and two waffles. The chicken was fresh out of the fryer, hot and delicious as always. The waffles had just the right consistency, and coupled with a little bit of maple syrup was the greatest compliment to the chicken. For some reason the combo works, and I am a devotee. I always try to visit this place whenever I get a chance.

Rene and I have been interested in art lately and went to visit the Norton Simon museum after lunch. I’ve seen the fa├žade many times while watching the Rose Parade on New Years’ Day and have always wanted to go. Also, my college Business Law professor was mildly obsessed with Norton Simon and always used him as an example in our discussions, mostly about stolen property and rewards. I have no idea how either apply to Norton Simon’s life.

The first thing we noticed upon entering is the amount of people that work for the museum. There seemed to be a person in a jacket and tie everywhere you looked, even at the parking lot directing traffic. It seemed like they were watching every move you made, so it made us leery of doing anything that might cause them to speak to us, like standing too close to a painting or talking too loud. In retrospect, they were probably bored and perhaps eager to tell us about the exhibits, which may account for why they were watching us so closely: they were probably looking for an opportunity to start a conversation. I might ask them a question the next time I visit.

The museum is not very big, and can easily be explored in under two hours. The wings are organized according to time period (13th – 16th century, 17th to 18th century, and 19th to 20th century) with the Southeast Asian Collection taking up the entire lower level. It’s amazing to me that an individual could own so much pricey art – the Picassos, Van Goughs, Rembrandts, and Degases alone are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. There were also works by other artists that weren’t as famous but I bet those pieces in total cost just as much. Rene enjoyed the modern and impressionist art, as well as still-life portraits of fruit, flowers, and vegetables. I enjoyed the impressionists and modern art also but wasn’t crazy about the still life paintings. I preferred the older works from the 17th and 18th century but didn’t see everything because a portion was closed off due to maintenance. We also liked the Southeast Asian art, in particular a colorful wood carving of the Hindu god Vishnu near the staircase (see picture above).

We also explored the museum garden that had heavy bronze and marble pieces from contemporary artists. This little garden is perfect for sunny LA days but it was overcast and cold yesterday, so we vowed to come back in the spring to visit again. It will be gorgeous then.

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