DeFoe, Dillard, and roasted asparagus ravioli

I knew nothing about Jay DeFoe until 3 weeks ago.
Now, I am a bit obsessed.

Last weekend, I went to New York for work (I apologize if I did not contact you will I was there. I was busy most of the time). The city without children, even for a few brief hours, is a gift, and that is not to say I don't like being in the city with Z&O. They are wonderful travelers and delight in a big city, but as an ex-New Yorker I felt so free and connected to myself while at large in the city.

I got to see the Jay Defoe retrospective at the Whitney (which I had read about in the NYer and wrote about recently). I had a funny moment walking across 55th St. when I realized, "Hey, that show I read about and have been thinking about for two weeks, it is happening RIGHT NOW in THIS CITY. I can go see it!" So I did.

Defoe's "White Rose" painting is the center of the exhibit and it has a compelling story (took 8 years to complete and then only finished when she had to move out of her studio and a hole had to be cut in the wall to get the monumental thing out), but it was not my favorite piece. I preferred the large, highly textured paintings hanging near it, which had some of the same intensity and grandeur, but more motion and even humor than that huge life/death vortex (I call it that because of her own descriptions). I also liked some of the photography and interesting repetitive imagery from later in her career. Overall, it was a very spiritual show. Go see it if you're in town and you like chewy abstract art.

Reading: On recommendation of a friend, I recently began Annie Dillard's For the Time Being. It is odd and associational and I like it very much. On her own website, Dillard describes this book, thusly: "In For the Time Being (1999), as in Holy the Firm, the narrative fills in a grid. The true-story topics in each of seven chapters are "birth, sand, China, clouds, numbers, Israel, encounters, thinker, evil, and now." It tells many short journalistic stories, and a few long ones: Hasidism, Teilhard de Chardin and fossil Homo erectus, the formation of sand, the critical importance of the individual in a world of almost 7 billion individuals, and the absurdity of the doctrines of divine omniscience, divine mercy, and divine omnipotence. I quit the Catholic Church and Christianity; I stay near Christianity and Hasidism.
Knopf, 1999." Hoping to read more this weekend.

Writing: meh

Dinner: Inspired by two dishes I had in NYC last weekend - a beautiful mushroom ravioli topped with more mushrooms and a light cream sauce with slivers of some hard, mildly sweet cheese floating around at Maison, and a lovely, understated spaghetti with ramps and preserved lemons at Lupa, I made a dish of (frozen) cheese ravioli with roasted asparagus in a meyer lemon-butter sauce with slivers of gruyere. I am queen of the universe.

Soundtrack: I've been reacting positively to moody, atmospheric, down-tempo electronica lately.

Random thing: I realized today that the quality of light is changing not only because of the angle of the sun and all that, but because there are leaves, which cast shadows. In the winter, we lack shadows, along with everything else that is good about the growing season.

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