” I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I love art, I like to go to museums, and I like to read books.”

The morning started poorly. First was a call at 8:15 which woke me up. I didn’t answer, and the party didn’t leave a message. No self-respecting person calls before nine. Ann Landers would have been horrified. Luckily, I fell back to sleep, woke up close to ten, leapt out of bed, washed face, brushed teeth, got dressed and left, before morning coffee, to a fasting blood test. I mumbled and groused the whole way. Afterwards, I got coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and treated myself to a lemon donut then came home and read the papers. That brings us to now.

What about the weather you ask? Well, let’s see. It’s damp and, of course, it’s cloudy. Outside my window is grim: dead leaves, brown and grey branches and the clouds, always the clouds. I am going to change into my cozies and stay home the rest of the day. I have no ambition and I don’t care.

I am a member of the Museum of Fine Arts. I seldom go, but I like supporting the museum. It is my parents I can thank for giving me and my sisters and brother a love for museums. I remember going to the Peabody Museum at Harvard and seeing the outrigger hanging from the ceiling. I also remember the ape heads in jars. They were my favorites. Kids like gross stuff. The Museum of Fine Arts had the sarcophagi, and I loved that room. The Mummy had always been a favorite movie, and I imagined Imhotep having been buried alive in one of the sarcophagus on display at that museum. How neat it would have been to see him dragging his wrappings as he moved through the museum’s rooms.

On my first weekend in Accra during training, I went to the National Museum and dragged a couple of friends with me. They balked a bit, but I convinced them that a museum is always the best first stop, the place to learn more about a country’s culture and its past, but at that museum I was amazed to see so much of the present displayed as artifacts of the past. The exhibits of regalia and traditional cloth were historical, but they were also contemporary. You could still see the same cloth being worn, especially the kente and adrinka, mostly by men all around Ghana, a country of traditions.

I  have a fun memory of a museum we, my sister, my parents and I, went to in Belgium, in Waterloo. We paid our money and went inside the worst museum any of us had ever seen. The roof leaked, and there were puddles of water along the floor and in front of the exhibits, but I use the term exhibits loosely. There were half-dressed mannequins, poorly done drawings of battles and imitation drums and swords. All we could do was laugh. We had been bilked. Luckily, though, we later found the real museum. I remember being horrified by the tools the surgeons used and I remember Wellington’s bed. I was surprised he was so short. I expected him to be much taller, maybe even a giant.

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26 Comments on “” I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I love art, I like to go to museums, and I like to read books.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    I also love museums and prefer science and prehistoric exhibitions. Nowadays internet shows nearly everything, but it can’t replace the real experience. My first museum highlight was the museum near the Space Needle in Seattle (Pacific Science Center?) when I was 12 and in Canada/USA for the first time.

    You probably know the mummy puppet video to Josh Ritter’s song “The Curse”, but just in case:
    It’s very moving and I had to cry when I first saw it.

    Ugly cold winter weather with snow.
    Hopefully your blood test turns out to be OK.

    • Birgit,
      I know the internet gives us a view of everything, but, like you, I prefer to be there to see it real. The Smithsonian was a marvel to me when I went the first time. To see the Spirit of St. Louis and the space capsules was pure amazement for me.

      Sorry about the winter intruding again!

      I have never seen that video. It is so sad.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I loved and still love going to museums. My favorite one when I grew up was the Natural history museum and I too loved the grotesque department. They had siamese twin children in a big glass jar and the two headed calf too 🙂 They also had this huge Blue whale that, during winter, had a cafe in it’s now empty stomach. I never went in to it though.

    I also loved the Maritime museum, perhaps mostly because they also hafd a public aquarium on the bottom floor. I never tired of looking at the sea horses or the snakes 🙂

    I loved Le Louvre in Paris but I have to say that I can’t understand why Mona Lisa is famous. The painting is rather small and boring too to be honest. There are so many other things more woth watching. They had a display of Monet’s (one of my favorite artists) paintings amongst other things.

    Sunny and warm here today but we’ll get up to 8 inches of snow tomorrow. Winter will stay for long up here I’m afraid.

    Have a great day!

    • Christer,
      I have never been to a grotesque museum but did also see a preserved two headed cow. That’s funny, the cafe in a whale.

      The Aquarium in Boston is one giant tank from the floor to the ceiling. You walk all around it to get to the top. I loved watching the divers feeding the fish. My favorite museum in Paris is Musee D’Orsay. I love impressionism.

      No snow here but my heat is blasting to keep away that damp, raw cold.

      Have a great evening!!

  3. Hedley Says:

    and so the Conclave begins and we wonder about Scola and what the Communication and Liberation lay movement really means. Do we get Scherer, or Turkson or Ouellet ?

    Over at Paddy Power, you can get odds of 1000/1 that the Cardinals will pick Father Dougal Maguire of Craggy Island or the self absorbed Bono.

    Wellington was a tall man, some 6′ 2″ towering over the midget (sorry politically incorrect, the vertically challenged person) that was Napoleon. Nelson was not so tall coming in around 5′ 6″ but was equally significant in history and role in the Napoleonic wars. To this day I love to visit the HMS Victory at the Portsmouth naval dry dock.

    Goodness knows how many museums I have dragged through. Generally I am best suited for a quick visit to a specific exhibit and out. When we are in London in May we have the following obvious choices

    * Bowie at the V & A
    * Man Ray at the National Portrait
    * Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern
    * Becoming Picasso Paris 1901 at the Courtauld

    Answers on a postcard please to …..

    • My Dear Hedley,
      They will choose a conservation who will ignore the need for reform or will give token acknowledgement to a bit of reform. They should never choose a cardinal from the Curia or Italy or one who is tottering. I know 80 was the cut-off for going, but that leaves so many in their 70’s. The church is most vibrant in Africa, but there will never be a Pope from Africa or the United States.

      He surely slept in a small bed! His feet must have hung over or he cuddle up in a ball.

      My father loved The Imperial War Museum. We did Churchill’s underground headquarters just after it opened. That was really interesting. Love the Tate.

      I also like houses which have been preserved like Dickens’ and Emerson’s and the Old Manse in Concord.

      • Hedley Says:

        The IWM is closed until July and will not fully reopen until next year. The Churchill War Rooms have been expanded to include the. very interactive Churchill Museum which includes an incredible long video table based on his life. you can enter any date and learn what Churchill did on that day. Certain days like 11/11/1918 cause an action such as filling up the video table with poppies.
        Tate Britain or Tate Modern?

        Strangely Wellington was a really big fellow.

        I wait patiently and worry more about philosophy than country of source.

      • My Dear hedley,
        I would like that new aspect: choosing a day in Churchill’s life. The phone was between washington and London and each leader would wait for the other to speak first. Also, Mrs. Churchill told his aide to make sure he went to bed. Churchill would get on the bed, lie down then get right back up. He’d tell his aide to let his wife know he had gone to bed.

        I am more of a traditionalist.

        I wish the cardinals felt the same way. Some of the best choices will be excluded because of their philosophy. Rodman is going to Rome to politic for Cardinal Turkson. I guess he hasn’t figured out the cardinals are sequestered.

      • Hedley Says:

        I thought Rodman went to see that Fat F*** Kim Jong Un.

    • Birgit Says:

      Hedley, here is the postcard:
      “Man Ray” is written on the card back.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I remember going to the MFA and spending all my time in the Egyptian room. There is so much in that museum that you have to do it in several trips. The National Museum of History is like that too. I think I only managed to see one wing of it. My favorite was the Museum of Natural History in DC. The day I went it was not very crowded. No one was in front of the Hope Diamond so I got to press my nose right up against the glass and drool over it. 🙂 It’s pretty but there’s a smaller and much prettier one in the Winston Collection which is also there. And of course there are all the dinosaurs. I touched the T. Rex on the nose. Don’t tell anyone. 🙂

    Lemon donut. Yum. Haven’t had one of those in a long while. Must go to Dunkies and remedy that.
    Cold and damp up here, too. Very dreary. I’ve been spending the day napping or eating junk food. Not good. Tomorrow better be the sunny day they say it’s going to be.
    Enjoy the evening.

    • Hi Caryn,
      That was also my favorite room. It is still one of my first stops when I visit.

      I remember seeing the Hope Diamond too, and I wondered how my hand could handle it on my new ring!! I won’t tell about the T-Rex. It’s kind of neat!

      I hadn’t had one for ages, and I decided that’s exactly what I needed to go with the two cups of coffee I bought. Having gotten up and gone right put, I deserved a prize!

      Right now is even uglier than the morning was!

  5. Hi Kat,

    Have you read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘Tales of Unease’? One in particular which you might enjoy is “Lot 249.” (It may have been the inspiration for the original Mummy movies which we enjoy so much.) Apparently, Rudyard Kipling said that it had given him a nightmare for the first time in years. I didn’t experience that myself, as I happen to enjoy scary (but not too gory) stories.

    My copy was published by Wordsworth Editions in 2008.


    • Hi Marie,
      I haven’t read it; I read all his Sherlock stories but none of the others. I’ve copied it down and will drop by Amazon.

      The book which gave me nightmares was one by H.P. Lovecraft. I actually forget which one, probably to save myself.


  6. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,
    When I arrived here in Toronto the weather was mild with sunny skies. Since Monday it has been cool with drizzle and some rain. Last night winter returned with temperature around 0 C degrees, wind and snow flurries, Eh.

    The art museum capital of Texas is Ft. Worth. Wealthy oil men in the 1950s bought art to give their mansions some class. They then opened art museums to display some of the works when their collections became very large.

    I will be happy to go home on Saturday where the temperature is in the 60s 🙂

    • Hi Bob,
      Looks as if you ran into a bit of our weather. Not much fun when you’re used to 60˚. It is easy to realize how lucky you at at this time of year with such delightful weather at home. I envy it now but won’t later in the summer.

      I haven’t ever been to Ft. Worth so I haven’t seen the museum. If I ever do go, I’ll make it a point to visit.

      I bet you’d have been happy to return home even of the temperature were freezing. It’s just nice getting home!.

      Today was chilly but it was sunny. I did some outside work, mostly collecting branches which fell this winter. It was nice being outside for a change.

  7. Birgit Says:

    If you are interested, OSIBISA live in London 1972 (BBC radio) is available for download:
    Warm African / Ghanaian music for cold winter days.

  8. Hi Kat,

    I hope you finally have your sunny day. I say that because usually the weather you describe is exactly what we’re experiencing up here in Toronto – and today is cold, but very cheering.

    I don’t want to be a pest with this, but I’m still stubbornly trying to get a WordPress blog up and running. Is this what you do? (I can’t find your previous instructions):

    Insert the following code at the end of the post:

    [audio https://www.box.com/s/pmk626f7rbyzn45z53mh ]

    Am I leaving out a step?

    Thanks, Kat.


    • Marie,
      You do it a bit differently than I.

      WordPress has a music slide, and I use it with the song so people can listen. It is just a new post with media, quite easy to upload. If people want the song, the Box link is in the comments, and they can go and download. You skip the slide and send people to Box where they listen and then download if they want. I have always used a slide of some sort so when I switched to WordPress it took me a while to find out there was one I could use. I was paying for one before I found the free WordPress one.

      What you are doing is fine, but if you want the slide on the actual post, I’ll lead you through it-quite easy to do.

  9. Marie,
    I’ll do my best in explaining, but it is easy. I swear. Before you do anything make sure whatever song you want to post is on your desktop. That makes it far easier to find.

    1. Go to to your WordPress dashboard to posts and click Add New Post.
    2. Click Add Media which is just below the title spot and just above the tools.
    3. On the top of the next screen you’ll see Insert Media. Right below that in blue you’ll find Upload Files. Click on that.
    4. On the next screen is Select Files. Click that then choose desktop. Your file will appear in the box on the left. Click the song.
    5. It will start to load. You can see the progress in the top box on the left. While it is loading you do the next step.
    6. This step is the most important. On the right hand side you’ll see ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS
    Below that are choices. Click the arrow and choose None.
    7. When your song has loaded, the box will be outlined in blue, have the song’s name and a check in the corner to tell you it has finished uploading. Then you click Insert into Post on the bottom right.
    8. The post will open automatically and what you see should look something like this:
    [audio https://keepthecoffeecoming.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/simon-and-garfunkel-bookends-12-at-the-zoo2.mp3%5D

    that is the slide. You put in the name and singer in the Title Box.
    9. All you then need to do is click publish.
    10. I load the songs on Box and then put the link in comments in case people want to download.

    I suggest you print this as it will make it easier than having to refer to it on line. I’m telling you it is easy!!

    Let me know.


  10. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for all of your help. Your instructions are very clear, but I think the problem is that I’d have to upgrade in order to be able to upload media files from my desktop.

    WordPress states that IE9 supports the HTML5 code required to load their players, but I’ve changed my browser and it’s still not working. So, I guess I’m going to stay with Blogger until they decide to be even more annoying by inserting ads directly onto our blogs.

    Thanks for being so patient with my questions.


    • Marie,
      Try another browser. I use Safari as my laptop is a Mac, but you can give Firefox a try: it’s my back-up browser.

      I’ll be happy to answer any!


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