Thursday, February 16, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It has been a while since my last post.

Over nine inches of snow fell upon New York City.

I was very glad to have retired last March and to no longer be responsible for any snow shoveling.

City Sanitation Department trucks with snow plow attachments made a quick job of clearing the streets, as apartment building employees cleared the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, while keeping warm indoors, I began a new knitting project.

Knitting continues to be a relaxing, even calming, activity as I continue to follow the actions taken by the new President and his staff.

This afternoon, I watched a 75 minute long press conference held by the President.  It was very alarming to watch the President's behavior.

Back in the 1970s, during the evenings when I watched televised coverage of the Watergate Hearings that occurred prior to the impeachment of Richard Nixon, I began crocheting a complexly patterned bedspread.  I almost finished that bedspread, and eventually donated it to a charity thrift shop.

These last two photographs are of parts of a knitted patchwork blanket I made for fun, not as a distraction from worrisome governmental developments in our country.

It's possible that I might now be taking a pause from blog land, because my concentration is now on other matters.  I am still posting over at my Instagram page.

I imagine that before long I will be back here with some more city views.  Thank you all for your visits and comments.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

The sky is a brilliant blue today and the sun is shining.  Alas, that sunshine has some fierce competition from strong breezes, and the temperature is definitely below freezing.  It's a good day to spend some hours indoors in blog land.

Current events here and around the world have continued with twists and turns since my last post.  Thank you all for your visits and comments.  Although I have not been to any additional marches, I have been keeping close attention on the news, and have watched many Senate confirmation hearings regarding Presidential Cabinet appointees.  I have been calling and writing to my Senators and Congressional Representative.  Many of my friends have been doing likewise.

Perhaps it is not too late to wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year!

A friend sent me this tiny Almanac whose pages are filled with daily advice about what is Good and what is Bad.  I am greatly enjoying turning to it for guidance.

To thank my friend for the gift, I painted her a card with a Fire Rooster image for 2017.  My birth year designates me an Earth Rooster.

While indoors watching the Senate committee hearings, I have also been making progress on my striped socks.  The sock on the right with the red, white and blue needles is all done except for the tricky Kitchener stitch bit that with close up the sock's toe.  I need to concentrate a lot to manage that maneuver.  It will require a quiet, well lit place.

I'm including the following photo of a pretty green doorway that I saw in the Chelsea neighborhood, so that all the pictures in the post won't have been taken indoors.  The doorway qualifies as a city view.

My current tower of books borrowed from The New York Society Library are a rather eclectic bunch.  The following book is a 50th anniversary edition of a beautiful nursery rhyme book.  I had never known of this book during my childhood, and was introduced to it via the Instagram site of a fine artist named Debbie George.  I recommend both the book and Debbie's site to you all.

I've just finished reading the following detective novel.  It's quite a long book, and the plot has many layers.  Not all of the police are innocents.

This is the third time that I have borrowed the Springsteen autobiography.  I don't want to read its pages too quickly.  Bruce is just a bit younger than I am, but close enough in age that it is easy to identify with much of what he writes about.

I will be starting to read this new Margaret Drabble novel later today, with hopes of finishing it by Monday, so as to be able to return it to the Library.  Once again, the author and I are very close in age, and that has added to my appreciation of her previous books.

Just for fun on a chilly February afternoon, I thought I would show you all this pool picture.  I wish that I could see the upcoming Hockney show at the Tate.  

It's about 3 p.m. now, and I think I might venture outdoors for a very short walk.  I wish you all an excellent weekend.  It's my hope to be posting here again soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

I woke up on this foggy Sunday with a few achy muscles, perhaps as a result of a long walk I took yesterday afternoon.  I will share a few pictures showing some of the folks who were walking along with me.

You all may already have seen news regarding this walk, described as a women's march.  My photographs are those of an amateur, but will give you an idea of what I experienced along the route that sprawled  westward along East 42nd Street and then turned uptown on Fifth Avenue.

In the above photograph, you may be able to see some children waving to us from the window of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  If you click on this link, you'll be able to learn how that hotel intersected with the early career of our new President.

The following photo features a poster that amused many folks in the crowd.

 The crowd was much larger than expected, and has been estimated to have included 400,000 people.  We really moved along at a very, very slow pace.

It took hours to reach Fifth Avenue.  

Police barricades had been set up along Fifth Avenue, to prevent the marchers from spreading onto the sidewalks, as had been possible on 42nd Street where there had been no barricades.  The above photo is a view looking down Fifth Avenue.  It was taken at about 43rd and Fifth.

I'd not seen any police presence along 42nd Street, and the slow-moving crowd had been very friendly and orderly.  Along Fifth Avenue, there were police officers who were helping at intersections with crosstown streets to let pedestrians cross east or west.  No crosstown vehicles were allowed.  Not much Fifth Avenue shopping going on.

As we drew closer to our destination, the pace of the march slowed.  I  elected to leave the group just after we passed by St. Patrick's Cathedral, and continued uptown behind the barricades on the westside sidewalk of Fifth Avenue.  This allowed my tired legs hopes of being able to be able to walk all the way home.  I imagined that the subway stations were going to be packed.

Another amusing poster.

The crowd was made up of family groups, school groups, friendly groups and individuals like myself.  My decision to participate was formed after watching the new President's inaugural address.

In the above photo, the tall building with the zigzag rooftop and the golden glow is Trump Tower, the march's 56th Street destination.  Security measures prevented most of us from reaching that location.  That didn't matter.

By the time we reached 54th Street many folks, like myself, had decided it was time to go home.  Folks were milling around, trying to locate friends, or rejoin the groups with whom they'd traveled together earlier in the day.  The warmth of the sun that had been a welcome factor was rapidly chilling.

Time to walk home.  I walked over to Sixth Avenue and continued uptown to Central Park South and westward to my apartment.  Along the way I noted that the Trump Parc space that was available on Election Day is still available.

Opportunity knocks.

I may be posting a brief video over at my Instagram page.

Once again, I thank you all for your visits and comments.  I will now return to knitting those striped socks.  I did not knit a hat for the march.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Halfway through January, we seem to have been embraced by a collection of grey rainy days.  It's good to find strategies to uplift our spirits.

I actually prefer a light snowfall to a lingering span of rainy days.

Coping strategies can involve homemade soups, sampling various teas from an elegant tea chest Christmas gift, reading, and knitting.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first Vogue Knitting Magazine Live event.  My own pre-retirement work schedules had prevented my attending these events in prior years.  The magazine sponsors such events in various parts of this country, so they are not just for New York area knitters.  

It was quite interesting to have a look at the various stands and see lots of beautiful yarns, and lots of very enthusiastic knitters.  The Shetland Wool Week stand was my absolute favorite.  Do click on the link in the prior sentence to find out more about that Week.  How I would love to visit Shetland this fall!  

Another treat was being able to tour the Vogue Knitting Magazine event along with a lovely lady visiting from California.  Many of you all might be familiar with lori times five's Instagram page?  If not, click on that link to acquaint yourself with a special person.

Because I reminded myself of just how much yarn I already had at home, I was able to resist making any purchases, but will share a couple of photographs I took.

Yesterday, my friend Elizabeth and I took a walk through rainy Central Park, over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a few exhibits and have lunch.  It was interesting to discover some unusual decorations around the Museum's Great Hall and grand staircase.

Although we were not permitted to walk upon it. a very large, floral patterned carpet had been laid upon those stairs.  Around the Great Hall could be glimpsed large hedges of faux boxwood.  The information desk was being transformed into a pergola.

When I asked a security guard if a party was taking place later, I was told that the special decorations were for filming that would be taking place.  He was not able to divulge the identity of the film.  I'll see if more information becomes available as time goes on.

It was pleasant to see the spring flowers blooming on the carpet, but we eventually retrieved our coats and umbrellas, left the Met and walked a little ways down Fifth Avenue, until Elizabeth boarded a downtown bus, and I walked back home across the Park.

Even on a sort of gloomy day, there was still much to attract my eyes.

Bare branches are like delicate ink drawings.  The well worn sidewalk patterns could inspire lots of knitting.

There were some touches of green to be seen, and I also saw some rather spindly-looking snowdrops over in the Strawberry Fields area.

Elizabeth and I saw none of the usual crowds either in the Park or in the Met.

Back home, warmer and drier, I took a few more photographs of the scarf I've recently completed.  I thought of it as a sort of sampler of various fair isle motifs scattered over a neutral background.  The motifs were knit from wool; the background yarn is a blend of wool, linen and alpaca.

Another view.

And another.

And, just for fun, here's that scarf again, along with the socks I'm now working on, spread across my knitted patchwork blanket, made many years ago, but oh so welcome during the winter months.

Somehow I like the look of the mish mosh of colors and patterns.

There is a lot going on this week, besides what I've reported here.  I elected to keep this a low key mid-January city view.  Thanks to you all for your visits and comments on my New Year's post.  Whether or not those black-eyed peas are giving me extra good luck, I feel very fortunate to be part of a warm blogging community.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on New Year's Day, 2017.

Yesterday I posted this photograph on my Instagram page.

It was a light hearted illustration of my jar of what remained of the dried black eyed peas that I bought a year ago.  While growing up in Virginia, I was made aware of the strong tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day in order to bring luck for the rest of the year.

In the last week of 2016, I experienced several appliance finales.  My old hair dryer stopped working.  My five-year old printer decided that five years were enough.  I felt as if the black eyed peas I'd prepared and consumed on the first day of 2016 might be losing their power.

I've bought new appliances that seem to be working just fine.

This afternoon, as I was beginning to cook some of the dried peas from the pictured jar, I also began putting away the baubles I'd chosen to decorate my apartment for the week of Christmas, including that chain of golden stars draped around the pea jar.

I was listening, via my laptop, to three hours of BBC Radio 4 vintage Sherlock Holmes broadcasts.  All was going well.

I finished carefully putting the Christmas ornaments away in their anointed place on a top shelf in one of my two closets.  The 2017 black eyed pea concoction, seasoned in Near Eastern style, was just about ready to eat.  The Sherlock Holmes tribute was over.

I poured a glad of Merlot, served up my lucky supper, and returned to John le Carre's The Pigeon Tunnel, my current book of choice.  

Dinner tasted very good.  My reading was transporting me to Moscow.  And then, I heard several popping sounds from the next room.  Going to investigate, I saw that two boxes of my carefully stowed beloved Christmas baubles had escaped their perch on that top shelf.  Some had burst into glittering glass fragments on impact, but others seemed to be unharmed.

My lucky black eyed pea supper was interrupted so that I could clear up the mess around the folding door to the closet and see how many baubles had survived.

Like spreading spilt milk, the initial view of the broken glass was more alarming that what closer investigation showed.  I tried to be like Sherlock in my calm investigations, while mourning the loss of some irreplaceable ornaments.  I got out my broom and swept the affected floor space.

I repacked the baubles and returned them to a more secure perch on their shelf.  Back to the lucky peas and the le Carre memoir.  

In just over an hour, I'll be able to view the the new television Sherlock Thatcher episode that those of you all across the Atlantic have already seen.  Tomorrow will be another day, with or without additional luck.

Thank you all for your visits and comments here throughout 2016.  It's now so difficult to know where the wind will be blowing in the coming year.  I look forward to trading comments with you all, and enjoying stretching my horizons via blog land.

Friday, December 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York, just a few days before Christmas.

Even though I had planned on another post about my London visit, the recent days have been filled with New York City centered fun, and so I will just jump ahead and share some local city views.

Let's start with photographs from some neighborhood shops.  The above picture is from a gift/antique shop that always features lots of tree decorations.

The following two pictures are of scenes in a dry cleaner's shop window.  The proprietors of this shop seem to have a large collection of retro toys and doll house accessories that can be combined to create rather amusing retro settings.

These window displays are at child eye level.

A bit further down Amsterdam Avenue is Posies, a lovely flower shop that is always worth a visit during various holiday seasons.

It's a tiny narrow hallway of a shop, filled with beautiful botanical treats.  The talented staff are experts in making up lovely bouquets for special occasions.

These are just a few samples of what I saw in the shop.

What I bought to bring home to add some seasonal color to my little apartment were these red-berried branches.  Peeking out from behind the berries is a large bowl filled with old glass ornaments.  In some past years, I have bought some branches of greenery upon which to hang these baubles.  This year I will stick with the berries.

The past few weeks have sped past, as I kept quite busy baking cookies, knitting gifts, buying other gifts, wrapping and mailing those gifts, going to parties, and painting this year's Christmas tea cup cards.

And so, it was not until a day ago that I found time to walk over to 57th Street to take photographs of some extravagant shop windows.  Following the horror at Berlin's Christmas market, I spotted a massive police presence around a similar Christmas market set up at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park.  I did not take any photographs of the massive uniformed police officers holding machine guns.  I was not tempted to visit any of the market stalls, but kept walking towards 57th Street.

Even along that street Police Department barricades appeared alongside festive decorations.  What a sad comment.

The above photograph shows the Fifth Avenue and 57th Street intersection where Tiffany's faces Bulgari.  An obliging yellow taxi obliged me by passing by.  I composed this picture to minimize any view of the home of the President Elect.

Now, I will show you a selection of pictures of the Bergdorf Goodman shop's windows.  Even though it was nearing sunset, I am sorry that reflections add a certain distraction from what I truly wanted you all to see.

The theme of this year's window designs is Extraordinary Destinations.  Each tableau features at least one major designer's fashions plus a collection of fanciful props.

I think that if you click on the photographs to enlarge them, you may be able to discover more of the window's details.

The above little box of a window merely settled for showing off some amazing jewels.

Please forgive me for those reflections.

Some of the fun of seeing these windows is noticing how scale is handled in a playful way.  Some usually small items are greatly enlarged, or perhaps encrusted with sparkles, or given a new color scheme.

I remember that the following window was called The Hitchhiker and featured a very glamorous cowgirl.

Lots of desert plants showed off a galaxy of greens.

Another view.

I think this window was called A Bird's Eye View.  Lots of birds surrounded the mannequin.

Lots of huge insects in this window...not sure how appealing that would be to every viewer.

The next picture shows a window that had an undersea layer.

 Lots to look at.

This very green tableau featured a tropical rain forest.

It took some patience on my part to wait for the other folks viewing the displays to allow me a closer view of my own.

Bergdorf's windows are without question the best in NYC throughout the year, but in December the shop's OTT displays really stop pedestrian traffic.

Another view of A Bird's Eye View.

Each window has an intricate frame.

Back to that rain forest.

I hope that the above photographs give you all a bit of an idea of what one might see this week in New York.  I thank you all for your visits to my blogs throughout the year, and looks forward to reading your comments in the New Year that will soon be arriving.

And now, let me share wish you the image that I painted for this year's Christmas tea cup cards.

As you can see from the above photograph, each one of the cards is painted individually, and so no two cards are quite identical.

It is my pleasure to wish you all a very Happy Christmas!  This wish is sent with lots of love.