Saturday, October 20, 2018

New Shirt

Last week when I brought my motorcycle in for service, I spotted a t-shirt celebrating the exact model of my motorcycle. I had to have one so I bought it. Of course, the shirt is made by BMW.

My bike (the sportbike, not the tourer) is a 2016 BMW S1000R. It's faster than a speeding bullet and more fun than a bag of monkeys.

Do you have any clothes with emblems that mean something to you?

Friday, October 19, 2018

New York City

It was beautiful in New York today. After riding my motorcycle into Manhattan for service, I walked around under a sunny sky. I went to Columbus Circle where I ate a delicious Cobb salad and then wandered into Central Park. Although I wasn't planning to take any pictures, I found it impossible not to. The city is so photogenic.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Return

I have this tendency, taught to me early in life, to bury myself in work. Which is okay for a while but then I need to re-surface and have fun again. I'm coming out of a two-month period where I've neglected blogging and everything else I enjoy. Need to fix that!

Which is a weak reason for a post but I feel I need to re-connect with you, my blogging friends. Connection is important and, even inadvertent, I never want to neglect anyone. I do my best to follow and comment on your blogs. I re-commit to that whenever my head pops out of work-mode.

A lot of "re-" words, huh? That's a sign I've spent too long underwater. I can't wait until the day I can afford to stop working and pursue my passions full-time. My "retirement" won't be leisure but, rather, active efforts to do the activities I love, like writing, reading, motorcycle-riding, fashion and blogging.

Do you ever bury yourself in work or home-maintenance or child-rearing? I wonder how common that is. BTW, one can never say this enough -- THANK YOU FOR VISITING! I cherish your interest and effort in coming here. Somehow I will reward you. Promise.

Random topic for discussion: I drink a lot of tea and look for ways to flavor it. One of my favorites is honey. I recently discovered there's one -- and only one -- honey that has scientifically-proven health benefits. It's called Manuka honey from New Zealand. In addition to the health benefits, Manuka tastes great -- earthy and rich. It has the depth of flavor I crave in every food.

Because of the health benefits, Manuka honey is very expensive. A problem arose due to the premium price -- counterfeiting. As much as 90% of stuff sold as Manuka is not really Manuka but just cheap ordinary honey, mislabeled to sell for more money. So, you have to verify authenticity by buying from sellers who are reputable and certify their product, like Steens.

Manuka honey makes a great gift for someone who's birthday is coming up... hint, hint!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Ninth Street Women"

Grace Hartigan was the greatest female artist of the 20th Century. A new book about her and four fellow artists was just published ("Ninth Street Women"). The story the book tells is also covered in an excellent article in The New Yorker.

I knew Grace. For several years in the early 1980's, she was teacher/mentor to Maura, a woman I lived with for twenty years. Grace was head of a graduate art school in Baltimore; Maura and her friend Joan were Grace's favorite students. Maura had a deep personal bond with Grace and we socialized many times, both there and at Manhattan art-shows.

Grace was the first artist of her generation to have a painting purchased by the Museum of Modern Art. Her fame in the 1950's was meteoric, particularly since, as a woman, she was categorically underestimated. Her work deserved acclaim which it received from critics and collectors from the Fifties until her death in 2008. For 30 years, Grace lived in Baltimore teaching graduate students, popping up to New York for occasional shows and events.

Grace had a colorful, complex life. She had wild times with notorious friends, like painter Jackson Pollock, poet Frank O'Hara and art-dealer John Bernard Myers. She was also acquaintances with the other notable female painters of the time (Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell). After rejecting comfortable family life in a New Jersey suburb, Grace devoted herself to art -- and lived dirt-poor during the early years. She and her friends struggled to make ends meet while creating great work. The book describes that New York scene in the Fifties and Sixties, with reference to many of the crazy characters in Grace's life. In her later years, she told us stories about that time in greater, more scandalous detail.

Grace told Maura that with students of her caliber, Grace's job was not to teach them art but, rather, how to live as an artist. She succeeded in that -- Maura has been a painter continuously since then. She lives and works in Wales now.

I recommend the book as an entertaining historical account of a wild group of artists whose work in the middle of the last century changed the face of art. They warrant deeper examination than our culture has given them so far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pants Are Not Just For Boys

When I get a chance to wear women's clothing, the last thing I think about is pants. Why would I want to wear pants? I wear pants every day as a man so my female eye turns to dresses and skirts. But that's foolish -- pants can be feminine, too.

My friend Sheila, who displays inventive outfits at Ephemera, is constantly showing me that pants are attractive. And feminine. Seeing her outfits causes me to re-think my bias against pants.

Last Saturday I was walking around my neighborhood and saw a sign for a garage sale. I headed down the suburban street to find a lawn full of boring bourgeois items. I kept searching and found a clothes-rack in the back -- and the clothes were nice. Squee!!

I've been looking for men's shirts with French cuffs because I have cufflinks I want to wear more often. But such shirts are hard to find and normally expensive (e.g., over $100). The garage sale rack had two beautiful new blue shirts with French cuffs. I snapped 'em up. I also found a pair of women's pants and a simple blue dress. Nothing had a price on it. I took the four pieces to the owner, curious what this was going to cost.

The owner was female, about 50. She opened with "you picked the best stuff!" She said the shirts belonged to her ex-fiance: she bought them for him and he didn't like 'em. The pants and dress were hers. She pointed out the pants are from Henri Bendel, a luxury brand that sadly just announced it's closing after 123 years.

The woman looked at the four items. She said $10 would be enough for all of them. She said the proceeds are being donated to a local animal-rescue charity. I gave her $20, told her to keep the change and felt I'd scored a huge bargain. The shirts alone are worth over $200.

Here are the pants with by an embroidered top from the 1980's which I bought today at my favorite store (Rosie's Vintage in Huntington).

Do you wear pants?