Sunday, June 19, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York as we approach the longest day of the year.

It has been quite a while since my last post and so I will offer a bit of a smorgasbord sampling of what has been going on around here.

At the beginning of June, I had a relaxing week off, which gave me the chance to do some catching up with old friends. I took the above photo at lunch at a Scandinavian cafe with some friends I have known for over 30 years. During my week off I got together with many friends, and still knew that there were many others with whom I couldn't quite make the coordination. We resolved to continue to try see each other soon.

During this time off, I also attended to overdue tasks, like making enquiries about our national Social Security and Medicare benefits. I was delighted to discover how helpful the Social Security office folks were.

Other accomplishments included some more clearing out of Stuff from my apartment. This required me to really give a cold, measured look at some things I'd been holding on to...revising my own autobiographical archival approach, if you get my meaning. I filled up a few bin bags and disposed of them, and also took lots to a thrift shop.

I'll admit that there is still quite a bit more around here that could perhaps leave the premises. I am just not ready to say all my farewells yet.

Spurring some of this re-assessment was a series of sad news. During the past few weeks I have learned of the deaths of folks who are around my age, folks that I will so miss.

Let me do a bit of a skip outside my apartment now, to show you view of Broadway as it appears in my neighborhood. Pictured below is the Beacon Theater, a former cinema palace, that went through some transitions to become a concert venue for many bands. I was lucky to the Kinks perform there several times, and did not mind the dangerous conditions of the errant springs in the theater's seats.

The Beacon eventually had a grand renovation, and a week ago was the location for our NYC Broadway theatre awards, known as the Tony's. From my photo, you can see that even on the night of the awards, a demonstration was underway under the front marquee.

Folks were protesting the lack of a certain musical being included in the nominations.

The following photo shows how the red carpet interviewing area for the stars attending the ceremony needed to be set up at the back door area. So much for glamour.

I am delighted to report that Mark Rylance did win the Best Actor award for his performance in Jerusalem.

Moving along, I also spent some of my time off relaxing with good books and various crafting projects.

These are the socks that I made for a birthday gift for my brother. The little AERO needle package of double point needles once belonged to my beautiful great auntie who taught me how to knit many many years ago. I love the idea of using her needles.

I am so pleased to report that the socks were a hit with my brother.

There are always lots of needlecraft projects underway around here, and the following photos show a fair isle style scarf I am playing around with. It's fun to mess about with a harmony of colors, and relaxing to do it without much thinking involved.

Part of the apartment clear out involved trying to bring some order to my various bits of yarns and other crafts and art materials. What I want to do is to jettison my aged, rickety easel, and replace it with a drawing table and a table easel.

If any of you have any advice for me about drawing tables or table easels, I would welcome your comments. I am not totally sure that this apartment, even post clear-out, will accommodate these proposed additions, so will move slowly towards my decision.

I am going to let the next photo, of a linen scarf, serve as a segue into other topics.

It is such a pleasure to read many blogs from all over the world. I have remarked on this before, but the thrill of being connected continues.

Let me give an example. I recently read a post by Jane Brocket
in which she mentioned a book Four Hedges, written and illustrated with magnificent wood engravings by Clare Leighton. What a delight to discover that my fabulous library had a 1935 first edition of this book that I was actually able to check out and take home.

I am going to show you two of the beautiful illustrations.

Aren't these exquisite?

My work days continue to be demanding, so I am never quite sure when I might be able to get around to my next post.

So, I would like to end this mid June post with a tribute to a wonderful musician, Clarence Clemons.

He brought so much happiness and touched many folks with his beautiful saxophone artistry. I am so sorry to think that we won't see him play again.

Let's remember our favorite Clarence Clemons solos, and smile at at their soulfulness.

Here's a little bit of Sunday afternoon sunshine filtering into my living room window.

Best wishes to you all.