Good evening from New York.
My week long holiday, spent in my home town, ended yesterday.
I still am feeling all of the pleasures that week brought me. I woke when it suited me. I spoke to whom I wished. I walked to destinations that appealed. I took a bus, or a subway when that destination was further than I wanted to walk.
Best of all, the opportunity existed to re-connect with many of my old pals. Some of these folks also keep worker's hours, some are more free lance, or even not dependent on work for livelihood. Many of these friends have schedules that conflict with my usual timings.
So...what a delight to have so many lunches, all over New York last week in the company of people whom I have known for as many as forty years. That is a shockingly high number of years, but also quite a tribute our wishes to stay in contact. We have gone through our early adulthood, with lots of hopes and energy, through not-s0-early adulthood and the reality that it brought us, to a later stage of adulthood that we now wallow in, wondering how that many years have passed.
These friends and I know each other well. We know all our family stories, our successes, disappointments, and above all, our resilience. Friends indeed.
What else happened on my vacation. I had the nerve to begin an oil painting. When I went back to work, in my lovely employer's retail world five years ago, I stopped painting on canvas. I did not have the time, or the calm to even contemplate doing a "real" painting, and would settle for nothing less. As the years passed, doubts entered my confidence that I could still manage to paint anything worth the effort. My handwriting has declined, and I wondered if that signalled some sort of diminished hand/eye coordination. How we doubt ourselves!
So...I had some canvasses stacked about in a corner of my apartment. I had some paint that I was sure had not totally dried up. I had some brushes that seemed okay, but others seemed quite raggedy. I also was not sure of the clarity of the old bottle of turpentine.
On day two of my vacation I made a very swift round trip, via surprisingly on time subway trains, to a downtown discount art supply shop, and got new turp, and four new brushes in the shapes and sizes that I always wear down first. Back home quickly before I lost the confidence to begin. I began a new painting, on a very beautifully sunny morning.
I have the northern light outside my window in the room where I paint. Natural light is very important to me. So...all was good. I began a new still life, featuring a beautiful, if humble, blue and white transfer ware cup and saucer that I bought on my last visit to London.
The cup and saucer were bought from an antiques dealer I had visited for many years, who had a little shop within "Alfie's Antiques Market," on Church Street, off the Edgware Road. (That area has featured in some dramatic news coverage in the past few years, but I think of it in terms of pretty china, or silver or antique textile treasures brought back to the States. When I bought this blue and white, the old lady with the stand/shop said that she would soon be closing up because business was so bad, it cost more for her to come up to London than she made in a day's trading. So, I will not see her again. Painting the cup and saucer fills me with many memories of what I have seen along those blocks of Church Street.
The painting is going well. I got enough of it established during last week that I will be able to go back to it, when I have a spare few hours or more, and polish it. Hand and eye still are coordinated. What a relief.
I did lots of hours of reading as well, finally beginning an absorbing, and perhaps inspiring book by the Dalai Lama, given to me by a Tibetan man who is part of our store staff. Tonight he is in Nepal, visiting his family. I hope that his trip will be safe.
It was possible to see lots of bad art in galleries, some good art in Museums, and hear very good music for free under the stars during the annual Lincoln Center out-of-doors festival. I live less that ten minutes' walk from Lincoln Center.
My week off also gave me time to do much thinking, sleeping, eating properly prepared meals (prepared both by me, and also, as I ate all those lunches with old friends, by skilled chefs.)
Back to work. Already have faced a few challenging, if somewhat banal, emergencies. My staff were very glad to see me. Today I got to the shop before 8, to host the company's visual/creative wizzards' conversion of the shop from the August to the September collection. The sales floor looks very beautiful. The front window display is very creative and beckoning.
Our business should be fantastic as fall arrive. We are lucky that New York is now in a cool spell, perhaps as a result of weather fronts being rearranged by the hurricane in the Caribbean.
I heard many compliments from company big wigs. Their words are nice to the ear, but I know that the weather of compliments can also change quickly. Nice to hear now, but be able to take shelter!
Tomorrow I have a day off. Time for errands. Counting my blessings.
It has been fun to read lots of your blogs during the past week. I did not always leave comments, but always liked the opportunity to travel to many other parts of the world without leaving my keyboard.
Pleasant dreams to all.