I spent a good part of the day with my friend Liselotte today, whom I officially adopted as my surrogate grandmother, since she literally could be at 93 years of age. We were supposed to go to the museum of fine arts to see the latest exhibit and attend some conferences about Lyonel Feininger, who was a very famous artist in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. I’m a little bit shocked that I’d never heard of him before, considering he was a famous cartoonist, then was part of Der Blaue Reiter and taught at Bauhaus among other things, but then, I keep learning something new-to-me every day.
Liselotte called me just before we were due to meet up and suggested we cancel our outing and meet at her place instead. The ice situation is very bad here these days as the city had just cleared the sidewalks from all the snow we’d gotten recently and made nice smooth walkways, which was then immediately followed by massive rainfalls the other, which were in turn followed by arctic temperatures, so that all the sidewalks are covered with a thick, slick layer of treacherous ice. Of course she was worried about slipping and falling, which is perfectly understandable, because I’ve had to walk Coco in this mess and have been shuffling around, afraid to lift up my feet as I walk and be caught off guard. So I went to her place and we chatted about life and books. I had brought her Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky as a loan, a book which came highly recommended and which I thought she would probably appreciate. I came away with two suggestions from her: Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan and The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal, both of which sound fascinating.
Her *kids* (all quite grown up at around age 60 now) gave her an iPad as a Christmas gift, and as she’s not too computer savvy, she didn’t know how to do basic things, like get the Kindle app or shop for Kindle books on Amazon (since she wanted to download Paris 1919, which wasn’t available at the iBook store), so I showed her how to do that, and walked her through many of the functions available when reading an eBook. I don’t really know how come I knew how to do those things since I’ve only read one or two eBooks in my life so far; mostly because I just play around till I find what I need really. But maybe because I’ve been working on computers and using Apple products and the internet for so long, it’s all become second nature. It’s quite amazing how we take all that tech knowledge for granted. Liselotte was very impressed that I knew my way around like that and insisted I should volunteer at the Westmount library to teach an iPad course! I don’t know about that, but it felt good to be able to help someone I like so much with something that is so simple for me.
The above painting by Lyonel Feininger is called Yellow Street II (1918) and was used as the cover image for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ magazine, which is sent out to friends of the museum (me being one of them). I haven’t yet seen the exhibit myself of course, since today was the first day it was open for a preview for VIP’s (i.e. friends of the museum and bigwigs, I guess). I thought it would brighten up my page a little!