Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow day

Well, it snowed. 

A lot.

We had over ten inches of snow here in Kansas City last Thursday. This is a city that usually gets 18 inches of snow over the entire winter season, generally in 2-4 inch bursts. It was a pretty big deal.

The snow hit a bit later than originally predicted- the bulk came in around 9 a.m. We tried to go out and get to work, but with not much success. People were spun out all over the roads, especially on the hills, and the plows (of which there are not many) couldn't keep up with the 2-3 inches an hour that fell. We experienced thundersnow (!). All in all, it was a lot of fun. The universities cancelled classes on Thursday and Friday, and Joe was able to telecommute (not that he could have actually made it to work...). With some free time, the munchkin and I built a snow fort, a snow man, and some slide hills in the yard. The snow wasn't great for packing, but we made it work. We drank too much hot chocolate. We watched movies after playing outside for hours. It was fantastic.


We also took advantage of the weather to sled Suicide Hill at Brookside Park. This is the greatest sledding hill- it's a classic neighborhood with a grade that goes from easy (where we were) to super steep (other side). In the photo you can see our crazy day-glow orange sled, the Brookside neighborhood, and even the Plaza and downtown off in the distance. Needless to say, it is a popular destination!

Racing down the hill....

Boots drying at the end of many fun snow days.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hot chocolate

It's a super snowy day here in Kansas City. Everything is closed- university campuses, schools, shops, roads. We had thundersnow earlier, and it's been coming down fast for about four hours. I think we have four or five inches out there! We tried to go out, but the roads aren't plowed and people here aren't really very good at driving in the snow. In any case, it's a beautiful excuse to work from home with a big mug of hot chocolate, watching the snow come down, and scheming about sledding later today. Stay warm!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Longmen Grottoes

Today in my Buddhist Art course we discussed the Longmen Grottoes.  This group of carved Buddhist figures dates from between the fourth and tenth centuries; we focused on the Binyang cave of the early 6th century (522-23) and the Vairocana of the 670s (below from my visit in 2006). The best part of teaching this type of art history at KCAI is the proximity to the Nelson-Atkins. After talking about the Binyang Cave, we took a quick walk across the street to the museum to see part of the carvings that are on display at the museum. Seeing the large stone reliefs of the Empress procession (which is a small section of one of the walls of carvings) is such a great experience for the students- it gives a sense of scale that is impossible to convey through photographs, and allows us to really examine the style and technique of the work. It also led to some interesting conversations about how the reliefs were removed from the cave, and about the ethics of cultural objects being removed from their original context.