Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Trip to California

I just came back from 10 day trip. First half was visiting my folks and going with mom to her chemo session, the second half was a trip to L.A. with little sis.

It was a relief to see mom more relaxed and optimistic than the first time she went through chemo 4 years ago. She'd switched doctor and facility to the Kaiser at Santa Clara. The drug she is dosing has a lot less side effect. The upbeat energy at the oncology department was also refreshing with the friendly nurses and staff.  In contrast to the more gloomy and somber feel of her previous hospital, this place felt a lot more comfortable and bright. The nurses took time to chat with patients while doing the prepping. It definitely felt more personable.  Mom was in such relaxed and even cheerful mood. One nurse who was also from Taiwan stopped by to chat with mom in Mandarin and told us all the fun things she did during her recent visit to Taiwan. The chatting and visit brought comfort to mom. Judging by the amount of food she ate at the restaurant and the frozen yogurt at the yogurt shop afterwards, she was definitely feeling much better this time around.

During my few days in SF I also visited de Young museum and even forked out $10 extra in addition to the $10 general admission for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit.  Spoiled by free admission to great museums  in Washington, DC, I found the high admission prices in SF ridiculous (SF Museum of Modern Art is $18 general admission for adult! needless to say it has been ages since I last visited it.)  I'd worked at museums and ever since I began teaching I always try to get students to visit local museums, so I'm a firm believer that museums should be made affordable to the public as educational institutions, and not just one day a month.  It says a great deal about a city by the way museums are run.

Alright, I'll get off my soapbox now.

After reading so many praises of the Gaultier show, I must confess, I was disappointed. Maybe it was because I'm no fashionista, nor a big fan of his particular aesthetics. While everyone thought the show thrilling and exciting, I found the projected faces on the mannequin and the rotating runway of mannequins dated and Disneyland-like. The curating direction was really not impressive to me, overcrowding of displays. But I guess a show about fashion is vastly different than an art show. So the conical bra bustier that Madonna so iconically made famous did not interest me, I did find one garment amazing, and of course it was a knitted/crocheted piece.

(photos slurped from web and I cannot remember the site, sorry)

While I didn't find the Gaultier show inspiring (and I think I may be the only person who'd visited the show feeling that way,) I absolutely loved the Anatolian Kilim exhibit going on quietly at the second floor of the museum.  I was also completely taken by its Oceanic Art Collection.  The colors in combination with the designs of the kilims on display were so beautiful. The curating of the kilims was sublime. It allowed each piece room to breath and to talk to each other.  A really, really enchanting experience.  

I must say I'd never looked at Oceanic Art as closely before.  My jaw kept dropping after seeing every piece.  The delicate lines with the bold geometric designs, and the unity of simple form of each object was a total treat to me.  I vowed to study more on Oceanic Art.  


Judy and I headed to LA bright early on a Sunday morning.  With zero traffic, it took us 5 hours to get from Bay Area to LA.  Judy did all the driving, and I had no idea how fast she was going.

While she was at her workshop/class on Monday.  I walked from our hotel to the LA County Arboretum.  It was only a little over 2 miles but my shoulder got seriously burned by the sun 'cause I'd completely forgotten to bring a hat and wear sleeved shirt like I always do while hiking.  

It was my first time visiting that arboretum and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I spent the afternoon there walking around before heading back to the hotel.

We did a lot of eating during this trip.  Tons of good Taiwanese food (street style food specifically) in L.A.  Judy used to lived in the area so she knew all the places to go. We each packed on about 3-5 lbs this trip, that was how much we ate.  I don't even get any decent Chinese food here in Tahoe, let along Taiwanese food. According to Judy and everyone else in my family, the Taiwanese food places in L.A. are way better than ones in SF.  

We drove out to Huntington beach the next day. What a great feeling to just chill out at the beach. 

When the two of us are together, it's guaranteed to be very silly, goofy, and somewhat crazy time and tons of chatting, and of course eating.  

Here are some pictures I took at the Arboretum

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