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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Splendor, Myth & Vision: Nudes from the Prado at the Clark Art Institute

This summer's exhibit is Splendor, Myth and Vision: Nudes from the Prado.  This selection of nudes, painted in the 1500s and 1600s, came under intense scrutiny from the Catholic Church.  The human form was considered to be an unfit art theme.  Works that officials wanted restricted, and even destroyed, were treasured and collected by Spain's kings.

Fortunately, the paintings were left in tact and visitors to The Clark are able to see these "lewd, immoral" masterpieces from a bygone era.

Sight & Smell (1618 - 1623) by Flemish artists Jan Brueghel the Elder, Frans Francken II
Hendrik van Balen, Jan Brueghel the Younger & others is an introduction 
to the artwork Eric & I are about to explore.

We will be viewing paintings with mythological, religious and historic themes.  Some works are set in beautiful landscapes, making nature a major theme.  Some paintings are focused soley on the individual(s) in the work.  My favorites:

Cleopatra, with the fatal asp
at her breast, was painted by
Guido Reni in 1640.

Flemish artists Denis van Alsloot & Hendrick de Clerck made nature a major
theme in Landscape with Diana and Actaeon, painted in 1608.

The Christian martyr,
subject of this Guido
Reni painting
(1617 - 1619).

"Contemporary" & classic mythology co-exist in Venus with an Organist & Cupid
painted by Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) from 1550 to 1555. 

The revelry of a Bacchic Scene
is captured by Nicolas Poussin
(1626 - 1628).

The grandeur of nature leaps off the canvas in Paul Bril's Landscape of Psyche & Jupiter
with later additions by Peter Paul Rubens (1610 & after 1625).

Rubens' Fortuna is a
 celebration of the
 female form
 (1636 - 1638).

The faces in Jacob Jordaens' The Marriage of Peleus & Thetis (1636 - 38) shows
 that every celebration is fraught with tension & undercurrents.

Death of Nessus by Luca Giordano
(1696 - 1697) is one of the
mythical themes the Catholic
Church disapproved of.
The Clark Art Institute hosts unique exhibits every year and the Nudes from the Prado are magnifico!

The Drive East to Williamstown, Masssachussets

Most of today's drive will

A few leaves have started to turn color...  Fall is on its way.


Troy, Uncle Sam's hometown,
stretches out before us.

Most of Rensselaer County
is rural.

A covered bridge spans
a creek.

Tis the season for
political signs.

We drive past Grafton

Eric enjoys driving this
windy road east.

We reminisce about driving this road, on a dark and stormy night with our 25 foot camping trailer. Eric wanted to drive as fast as possible and still drive safely.  I'm glad he kept his thoughts to himself.

We enter Massachusetts...

... and start our drive downhill
on a 7% grade.

A custom road sign alerts
drivers of the upcoming

The densely packed gravel ramp
 ends in a substantial pile
 at the end of the ramp.

This is an important safety feature that no one wants to use.

The A-Frame Bakery tempts
visitors to western

After a hearty breakfast at Star's Cafe, Eric and I are not in the mood for pastries. Eric turns onto South Street and we arrive at our destination...

Much has changed since our last visit, about nine years ago.

This building, with an Orientation Theater, is "new" to us.

I admire the artfully painted bus that sits waiting for passengers.  Let's see what else is "new."

Breakfast at Star's Cafe in Amsterdam, New York

 Eric and I start our day driving west....

... to Star's Cafe, is located
in the Valley View Motel 
complex in Amsterdam.

Eric and I ate here regularly before we retired in 2012.  It's been way too long between visits.

This small cafe's griddle is
just behind the dining

Daily specials are listed
on the chalkboard that
dominates the wall.

The owner decorated with
home made crocheted

Eric and I lingered over our breakfasts:

My Two Eggs Over Hard
with Bacon, Home Fries
& Rye Toast

Eric's Three Eggs Over Easy,
 Bacon, Home Fries
 & Rye Toast

Eric paid $20.00 for this meal, and that included a generous tip.  We are now ready for our drive east....

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Surprising Eric on Our Wedding Anniversary

It's hard to surprise Eric.  We are together 24/7, and our credit cards are joint accounts.  What to do? Use cash and be be sneaky...

Eric gets a delivery from
Edible Arrangements.

"All of my love" is in
this heart shaped box.

Eric unties the ribbon.

Love comes in the shape

Surprised & happy...

That's the way I
like him...

Happy 38th Wedding Anniversary, Eric!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Birthday Dinner at Yono's Restaurant in Albany, New York

Jerry took this picture of
Eric & me before we
left for dinner.

Eric chose Yono's Restaurant
for my sixtieth birthday

Yono's Restaurant is owned by Chef Yono Purnomo.  He and the staff provide the Capital Region with world class American cuisine with Indonesian influences.  Master Sommelier, Dominick Purnomo, built an exceptional wine inventory at Yono's and creates pairings that delight diners.  

Eric & I have personalized

Eric selected a flower
arrangement for our

We were given complimentary glasses of sparkling wine to celebrate my special day.  

Eric & I are seated at a
corner table in a quiet
room for our intimate

Eric & his glass of
Sparkling Wine.

Eric and I are enjoying The Chef's Grand Tasting Menu tonight.  We are enjoying eight courses, with selected beverages.  Here are just four courses....

Frisee & Hearts of 
Palm Salad 

This course is paired with Dr. Konstantin Frank's 2015 Gruner Veltliner.

This course is paired with  2007 Chateau Vignot Grand Cru from the Saint-Emilion in the Bordeaux Region of France

The Adirondack Co.
Old Fashioned 
Cheddar Plate with
Homemade Pretzel
Chips, Nuts &
Spicy Mustard.

This course is paired with SingleCut Beersmith's Half-Staff IPA Beer.

Me with my Lemon
paired with the 2008 

Eric and I agreed that this evening's meal is exquisitely prepared and presented.  This is fine dining at it's best and an amazing way to celebrate my Big 6 - 0.

*****Update: Yono's has been included in Open Table's National Top 100 Places to Dine!  Here's the link for Yono's and the other 12 New York restaurants on the list.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Day at the Altamont Fair with Diane & Sean

Eric & I took our
 daughter, Diane, &
grandson, Sean, to

Sean & Grandpa play
in the "Corn Box" in
the 4-H Exhibit Hall.

They visit the Ducklings
at the Poultry Barn.

Diane, Grandpa & Sean
watch the Chicks on the

They visit the

Waiting for the
Racing Pigs....

We watch Pot Belly
 Pigs "run the track."

Sean enjoys his
ice cream cone.

Grandpa & Sean ride the Kiddie
Ferris Wheel together.

Mommy & Sean watch
the Goldfish swim.

Enjoying some quiet

I'm glad Diane and Sean could join Eric and me for a day at the fair.