Don Dandified; Era loses her mother's wedding ring and more

Dear friends and family,

First of all, thanks to all of you who have written a response. What incredible friends and family. You are loved (if not by us, by someone). Joking, you're loved by us.

Got this wonderful photo by Ms. O, who we usually bring along with us on our trips, as, apart from her other manifold charms, she has a knack for capturing pictures that no one else seems to get: Don swimming in the Venice canal, Don up to his knees in Romanian potholes, Don and Era in a gypsy cart. This time Ms. O managed to get a photo of Obama in the White House! with Don doing his impression of George W, the 1st.  Obama found it very amusing. 

The next morning we met Joann Moser, one of the curators at the Smithsonian, at the National Portrait Gallery for a tour of the Nam June Paik show and to see the Chuck Close Obama tapestries installed there. The tapestries, which usually look so huge, looked a normal size on the museum walls. The Nam June Paik exhibition was very well installed; we spoke about how it could so easily have been overwhelming. Also a great little piece by a San Francisco artist, whose name I can't remember, naturally, his impression of a miniature Smithsonian. I have a feeling Inez and Andrew gave me a catalog of his work at one time. Joann took us to a wonderful Burmese restaurant for lunch for a delicious ginger salad. We had had a quick dinner with Chuck, Sienna, Thais (correct spelling) and Joann at the train station the evening before, right after the White House, where Chuck and crew ate efficiently and hurried off to catch a train back to NY. Manny was driving the precious signed prints back. 

Obama tapestries hanging at the Smithsonian for President's Day, with Joann and Don.

On Joann's recommendation, we took a cab out to the Katzen to see our friend Andrea Way's retrospective at the American University. We greeted Jack Rasmussen in the hallway as he was rushing to make a dental appointment. After seeing Joann's quite beautiful show of incredibly detailed work, we caught the train to NY, where we were able to plug in and start receiving all your emails. I have to admit I did receive some during our lunch with Joann. How rude. 

One of the pen and ink and mixed media pieces from Andrea Way's retrospective.

10 minutes before we were to arrive in Penn Station, the strangest thing happened. I was standing in the train aisle with my suitcase when my rings, my 2 wedding rings, fell off my finger. It felt as if they were literally sucked off my ring finger. I dropped to the floor and very quickly found what I think of as my Squeak ring, as it was inspired by Squeak and Gary's wedding rings, a wide gold band with white and black jade dots embedded in it, only mine has additional green dots in it. But my mother's even wider and chunkier gold band, which my father had made for my mother, could not be found. We had about half the people in the train cabin, all the people on our side of the train looking, many with their iPhone flashlights on and it was just nowhere to be found. It's probably one of the physical objects I most valued. Both Don and I felt like someone (my parents ?) was trying to send me a message - maybe Don't get too pleased with yourself. As my ex-boyfriend (when I was 19 years old) Chris wrote: "The Dalai Lama, Brad Pitt and now Obama. There will be no living with you." Well, I'm still here on Planet Earth, in the physical universe and living this incredibly wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful life.

Don gave up looking before I did (he was afraid the train would pull away), and I followed him off the train and up the escalator. As we reached the top of the escalator, I realized I didn't have my cell phone. We searched our possessions and Don looked at his app which shows the cell phone's location. "It's still on the train." I ran down one escalator, but then had to run down an Up escalator, as I couldn't find the way down to the train. Found a couple of the same people in our compartment. Now I was back looking for my cell phone. I must have seemed like a crazy person. One level-headed woman offered to call my cell phone, and when I couldn't remember my number, we called Don's cell. "He's got your cell phone." "You've got my cell phone?" "Yes, get off the train. It's leaving in 30 seconds." At least I didn't break a leg running down that Up escalator.

When we checked into our hotel the man at the front desk asked, "So how was your day?" "Real highs and real lows. Got a hug from Obama yesterday and just lost my mother's wedding ring today." "Oh."

In NY for a few days, working with Kiki Smith and Chuck Close. How does it get any better?

Kiki, Beka and Don contemplating imagery and possible material for another tapestry.

Kiki working away amidst her sculptures.

Chuck's studio with Manny, large scale prints and tapestries. A row of Obama portraits on the floor. Chuck gave the President a couple of portraits in that "smaller" size. 

Some of Chuck's African art and a pillow made for him in Chuck's favorite colors by a friend who was undergoing many hours of dialysis.

It's not all work, though. Some good food was had.

Finishing up breakfast at Peels. 

The staff at Peels.

Era, looking pretty pleased at the idea of eating her merluz with cockles and small white beans at Il Buco. Delish.

Chuck looking almost reverent before digging into his octopus.

Japanese at Sobaya. Also very much enjoyed cocktails at Amor y Amargo, a bitters tasting room; and Empellon Cocina, Mexican fusion - sweetbread tacos. Yummy.

Cheers! Love you!

Era and Don