We woke to a spring snow storm this morning, but it’s been a good morning nonetheless. I woke up on my own around 6:15 a.m. (the result of going to bed at 10:15 p.m.). I ran 2 quick miles on the treadmill, then made some coffee. We managed to have family breakfast (snowman pancakes for the kids) and I snapped some photos of the snow falling on our daffodils. It’s going to be cold for the next week, and we may even get another snow storm on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the flowers provide a cheerful reminder that we’re almost through. Crazy enough, we are scheduled to open the pool in 7 weeks!
I have spent much time this week reading novels about distinct periods in NYC history. I read The Age of Innocence Monday evening through Thursday morning. I love the character of Newland Archer. I had read this Edith Wharton book many years ago, but I feel like I picked up more this time. Like My Antonia, I’d put this in the category of novels by women that do men really well. It was fun reading this shortly after reading A Clearing in the Distance, about Frederick Law Olmsted, and The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough. Olmsted designed Central Park shortly before the era of Newland Archer, and Edith Wharton was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers, and there were some interesting juxtapositions. I know from McCullough’s book that Wharton saw the first airplane over Paris and wrote about (if I remember correctly). She also has young architects dashing off from Chicago to see the grand buildings and parks of Europe, which is something Olmsted and his later proteges would do. After finishing The Age of Innocence, and wallowing in the tragic case of Newland Archer, who is not really tragic necessarily, who had a good life, and realized there were many good things about it, and who could not have done anything differently and still been the person he wanted to be, even without his one great love, I picked up The Great Gatsby. I have also read this before, but it has been 15+ years. It is a quick read, and I am already half-way through, but the thing that is striking me most humorously right now is all the Yale jokes that F. Scott Fitzgerald (a Princeton boy) keeps making.
This has been a pretty kid intensive week. We made it to two parent-teacher conferences, these with our boys participating. I chaperoned a preschool field trip to an art museum. This art museum had an exhibit on human sexuality going on, which the 5-year-olds were not shown, but the teacher leading the trip came and found each of the chaperones to tell us we could go sneak off and see it if we wanted it. With that subterfuge, I was expecting something really racy…and it wasn’t! A lot of it was pretty abstract, and since most of the 5-year-olds wouldn’t be able to read the captions, they wouldn’t have known that a picture of three gentlemen was highlighting the unorthodox nature of the group’s relationship. The art museum also had an exhibit on the art of children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney. This I quite enjoyed: seeing how his sketches became watercolor paintings, which became pages in the book. Children’s book illustrators are incredibly prolific artists, if you think about it. Each book is 32 pages, so that can be 16-32 illustrations, which in many cases are gallery quality pieces of art on their own.
Speaking of prolific artists, remember Laureen Marchand, our artist who decided to “make art when you can, relax when you can’t?” She had a show of her gorgeous botanical paintings at a gallery in Canada this last week.
We are entertaining cousins this weekend, and doing some playdates and birthday parties. And then I need to start on my taxes. I really dread doing this. I need to figure out a very good bribe.