It's been a good weekend, but I haven't done as much work as I wanted. I have decent reasons (I wouldn't say good as inertia did crop in). First, the residue of jetlag and the resurgence of whatever virus I picked up in the UK hampered my productivity. Second, I was pleasurably distracted as I got the chance to see friends, both from NYC and from out of town.
Friday night, Evan and I went to the Met and had dinner with one of his friends and her friend, both of whom I really liked. I also went to visit two paintings in the European hall, both not so well known mid-late 19th century works (neither are impressionist and neither fit into any well known school in any easy to describe ways).
One is of Salome (the one at the top). This is my friend Alyssa's favorite picture in the Met's collection (or her picture...), the other is a monumentally large painting of Joan of Arc, pre-warrior phase, where she stands in front of her village house just before a storm comes through (the lighting on the painting is fabulous--to restate, it isn't impressionist and was shown in the Salon) with two visions--a warrior figure and an angel--visible in the greenery on the left of the frame. This has become known as my picture as it is my personal favorite in the Met. They used to sit next to each other but Alyssa's Salome has been moved a few paintings down and we have joked about writing to the Met to return them to their original positions. I've put them next to each other here, where they belong. I also visited the photo gallery as I love 19th and early 20th century photography.
This made three museums in one week--the V and A and the Natural History Museum were the other two. Whenever I'm in London, I wander through the V and A, usually with no map, just to see what I can and to be surprised. The Met is smaller and I know it so well that it is an entirely different experience.
Saturday I met up with Cindy, Julie and Monica. After a mini shop in Nolita and Soho, we ate dinner and had some drinks (water for me) but the fun part is really being with each other. As for clothing, it was so cold that I just wrapped myself in seemingly endless layers. Style didn't come into it for me.
My friend Jenny is in town from DC for a conference and has limited free time so I met her for brunch on Sunday, along with Alyssa. We went to a Belgian place in the Flatiron District and after Jenny left, Alyssa and I bought reduced pajama pants from J. Crew. Brunch was a lot of fun--it's always great to see Jenny and I realize I have to make a trip to DC to see more of her this year.
So I still have films to order and syllabi to finish (my brain isn't fully in gear yet). But I did write letters of recommendation for grad students all evening and dealt with a couple of related issues so I'm slowly but surely climbing back into work mode. Next week, I have to finish the book--and I have to finish the syllabi tomorrow. At this point, all the goodies I was hoping to buy myself to celebrate the end of the book are sold out so that has to be a cautionary lesson.
I also have another friend coming into town tomorrow (Aniko, another friend from grad school, is bringing up some of her University of Virginia students tomorrow for their annual tour of NYC media). So I have to be disciplined with time as well as my diet. This is really where the New Year and its resolutions come into force!
The Alexanders Upstairs
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