Sunday, July 29, 2007

Thoughts on Edward Hopper and Marriage



I had the rare (for me) opportunity to go to the MFA last Friday, and saw the Edward Hopper exhibit there. Beautiful work, but very sad.

This picture (above) is a good example of his work (Room in Brooklyn, 1932). While it is beautiful, there is a sadness, an aloneness to the woman that you see in many of his paintings. Even when there are two people, they seem solitary, as if they cannot reach out to each other.

As I browsed the gift shop after finishing the show, I came upon a book called "Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keefe" by Vivien Green Fryd. While the exhibit commentary mentioned that Hopper's wife Jo was also an artist, and that she posed for him, I was somewhat shocked to learn that Hopper's marriage was actually very rocky, even abusive. That perhaps explains why so many of his paintings depict people who seem very alone.

Even more interesting, however, was Fryd's description of the time period right after World War I. She states: "Indeed, in the period between the two world wars, many white middle-class Americans considered marriage and the family instiutions in crisis." So interesting! And even MORE interesting is that the reasons for this crisis were: women in the work force, birth control, divorce... Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It amazes me to learn that marriage was considered "in crisis" 80 or 90 years ago! Today, we have such glowing (and obviously, false) "memories" of how marriage and family life "used to be" before the 1960s and all the "radical" change of that time. Now it turns out... it wasn't so great before, either!

Somehow I find this very comforting. The idea that the struggles that I confront today as a woman -- meaningful work, raising a child, partnering with a husband -- are issues that have been around for a while. For a long while. So perhaps it isn't so strange that we haven't found the answers yet....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Romney Idiocy

From today's Boston Globe:

"By the way, did you hear -- you probably did -- Barack Obama suggest that we ought to have sex education in kindergarten?" Romney asked an audience in Nashua on Sunday. "Isn't that something? He said, of course, it should be age-appropriate sex education. And, my view is that the amount of sex education which is appropriate in kindergarten is absolutely zero."

The room erupted in applause.

I am so annoyed with him I don't even know what to say....

Friday, July 20, 2007

We Have Raspberries



It's hard not to use words like "succulent" and "moist" when describing the amazing crop of raspberries that is growing this year in our backyard...

They taste really good, too.

There are some blue jays who think so, too, and they have been trying to partake of the raspberries as well. I ended up buying some "anti-bird" netting that effectively keeps the birds from hanging out below the raspberry bushes and plucking the berries off with their beaks... They are still trying, though, and today I saw one do a fly-by and manage to grab a berry from above...

But we are eating most of them. Yum.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I missed the Seventies

I just heard on the radio that the Summer of 1967 – which was 40 years ago this summer – was the famous “Summer of Love.” I was six years old, and I missed it completely. This makes me very sad.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ album Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Missed it.

Woodstock took place 2 years later, in 1969. Again… missed it….

What else did I miss?

  • President Kennedy’s election 1960
  • President Kennedy’s assassination 1963
  • MLK’s assassination in 1968
  • Robert Kennedy’s assassination also in 1968 (I think I remember some of this. I was 7 so it’s possible.)
  • The Vietnam War
  • the Civil Rights Movement
  • the Women’s Movement

I do remember the astronauts walking on the moon: 1969 (I was 8)

I remember the hearings and when Nixon was impeached (I guess technically he resigned): 1974 (I was 13)

How sad to miss such an important era in history. I was alive, I just wasn't aware of what was going on. Argh! And now 40 years have passed! I wish I could go back and just see a little bit of what I missed....

A different summer than expected

On Monday June 18th -- a week before my birthday, two days before school ended, three days before the official start of summer -- my husband was laid off from work. It wasn't entirely unexpected, as layoffs had been rumored, but in my husband's 16+ year career at this company, there have been many layoffs. Only this time, he didn't make it.

So the summer has been different than we all expected. On the plus side, Arnie is having an unexpected and forced vacation, and he is doing all kinds of projects around the house that he probably would never have completed without this amount of time. He is able to help with drop off and pick up from camp, something that never would have happened before. He can take care of some of the daily things, like going to the dump on a regular basis, and picking up groceries. I can stay late at work if I need to.

On the other hand, it definitely has it's downsides. Arnie is one of those people who really lives to work, and he loves working on a software problem and solving it. He really misses work. So this is not easy for him, although some days are better than others. Some days, he gets stuff done around the house, has some positive job-hunting experiences, and seems pretty good at the end of the day. Other days, he's just pretty sad.

So it's been a different kind of summer. The best possible scenario is that he finds a job, and then he can take a week or 2 or 3 until he starts the job, and then he can really enjoy the time. We'll see what happens. In the meantime... things are different.