Thursday, October 7, 2010

San Antonio Trip -- Oy, McNay!

First it was Broadway 50/50, a restaurant where you can get Elvis deviled eggs, burgers with such names as Mr. Wolf and Marsellus, and everything is greasy, fried, covered with cheese or chili, or all of the above.

It has a really nice diner style that seemed to have a serious staffing problem that day. There were only two waitresses covering the whole place, and neither seemed able to keep up easily. The restaurant also became more crowded, louder, and smokier the longer we were there, more so than Grace had ever seen it before. Apparently, the staffing problem coincided with football game Saturday afternoon, and one of the big Texas teams was playing. Made for lots of happy guys, ordering big burgers and Memphis style BBQ (in Texas?) and beer, and cheering for the team.

This was where I made my big mistake. I needed to eat, so I had salad and guacamole, but I knew that wouldn't be enough so I went ahead and ordered the veggie burger patties. Brown rice based, not soy, or I couldn't have, and I didn't eat the bread, mayo, or fries. It didn't matter. I am too unused to cooked food, having been raw for so long. I felt it that night, and will spare the details.

While sitting in the restaurant we had one of the few rain showers of the weekend, one that came and went so fast if you blinked you missed it. Reminds me of back home, those little pop up showers that only manage to make the air seem thicker.

After lunch, when we finally couldn't hear each other without yelling, we decided to decamp to the McNay Art Museum. Grace went in to see if they were open or if they had some kind of special showing. While she was in there, BonBons and Blossoming, our resident artists, tried to help CanDo make something of the abstract art sculpture outside.

CanDo quite honestly said she didn't know what to make of art, and they took her under their wing. She actually enjoyed viewing the pieces, because she had two people teaching her that art is how the artist sees the world, and it is all about our reaction to the artist's vision. With explanations and guiding questions, she now appreciates art, so the visit was worth it, even if I hadn't loved the place so much.

They had the prettiest Renoir I have ever seen! Very small, not one of the more famous pieces, but my new favorite. And as Monet is the artist I swoon over most, I was captivated for quite a while. There was also a portrait I don't remember the name of, I think of her as the Lady in Black. She is so beautiful, but she doesn't have to call attention to herself. The attention will come. She was very unlike the sculpture of a woman who had that "come hither" look, and the other that looked so sad from one angle, but manipulative from another. She wanted to look sad for the attention.

I also enjoyed the medieval and Renaissance art, some of it so anachronistic it was hilarious. Mary at her wedding, with the pope officiating. Yeah, right.

We only had time to glimpse the Theatre Arts collection, and it was almost closing time. The place was rented out, too, for a wedding -- can you imagine a wedding in such a lovely place! -- so the very kind docents were shooing us toward the entrance gently and yet firmly.

The docents! Amazing people, especially the one who took our money and gave us our stickers to show we paid, and the one who showed us the map. Sweet, motherly, slow moving, you got the feeling that grandma was almost ready to pat you on the head as you went in.

Our shopping fanatics spent quite a bit of time in the gift shop, and I even bought two things. A very small notebook with a Monet print on the front, and a really neat postcard for Blossoming. She loves water, and it was one of those that the picture changes as you shift it, apparently designed by a famous Japanese artist. It was ocean waves moving, and a really neat effect.

Next stop was the Japanese Tea Garden. Of course, we got lost on the way. We were in the right general area, and a quick call to Matt, Grace's husband, who was home by that time, set us straight.

The Tea Garden is run by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, and was a former rock quarry. Now it is a lush garden, and worth the visit. We saw koi, and so many beautiful plants that I couldn't identify if my life depended on it. Grace pointed out the beauty berries and the angel's trumpet, but for the rest of it I just saw loveliness, and if I ever get rich, I need a gardener. We also got a good bit of exercise, going up and down the walkways.

As the sun lowered, we knew it was time for home, and I needed to get to work -- gumbo, ahoy!

Today is:

Balloons Around The World Day

Bathtub Day -- be glad you have one!

Composer Day -- Brazil

Festival of the Deerk Toes -- Fairy Calendar

Lepanto Day -- Greece

Nagasaki Kunchi -- Nagasaki, Japan (harvest festival, first day)

National Frappe Day

Our Lady of the Rosary -- Catholic Christian

St. Justina of Padua's Day

Victoria, Lady of Victories Day a/k/a Pallas Athena Ancient Roman/Greek Calendar (goddess of triumph)

Birthdays Today:

Simon Cowell, 1959
Michael W. Smith, 1957
Yo-Yo Ma, 1955
Vladimir Putin, 1952
John Cougar Mellencamp, 1951
Bishop Desmond Tutu, 1931
R. D. Laing, 1927
June Allyson, 1917
Vaughn Monroe, 1911
Andy Devine, 1905
Niels Bohr, 1885
James Whitcomb Riley, 1849

Today in History:

The epoch of the modern Hebrew calendar (Proleptic Julian calendar), BC3761
The first public burning of books in Louvain, Netherlands, 1520
Ralph Wedgewood patents carbon paper in London, 1806
The first chartered railway in the US, the Granite Railway, begins operations, 1826
Spain abolishes slavery in Cuba, 1886
Henry Ford institutes the moving assembly line, 1913
Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland college in the infamous 222-0 football game, 1916
160 consecutive days of 100*F+ temperatures begin at Marble Bar, Australia, 1924
Beat poet Allen Ginsberg reads his poem "Howl" for the first time at a poetry reading in San Francisco, 1955
U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 transmits first ever photographs of the far side of the moon, 1959
Nigeria joins the United Nations, 1960
Oman joins the United Nations, 1971
Cats opens on Broadway and begins a run of nearly 18 years, 1982
The Great Flood of 1993 ends at St. Louis, Missouri, 103 days after it began, 1993
Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, is found tied to a fence after being savagely beaten, 1998
The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins, 2001


  1. Sounds like a pretty decent day, all in all. Seeing a Renior and a Monet would have topped it for me. I've had the pleasure of seeing many of each while spending much time in Massachusetts over the course of a few years, a while back. It never grows tired.

  2. Agreed. Even CanDo agrees with that, now.