Wednesday, February 29, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on the 29th of February.

This is that extra day that is added to our calendar every four years during a leap year.  Leap years have dates that can be evenly divided by four, and here in the States, we have an November presidential election each leap year.

There is also a folkloric tradition that grants unmarried women (like me) to propose marriage to a man on February 29.  

Today dawned very grey with the weather forecasters promising that rain would develop by ten a.m.  This was not very promising to a would-be proposer.  I did some necessary house cleaning, and played around a bit with my new acrylic inks.  My little sketches will eventually be used as gift tags.

They really are just playing around with a new medium, and are based on embroidery stitching.

I think that eventually I will get more comfortable with these inks and will show you the evidence when I see it before me.

Before the rain drops began to seriously take over, I took a brand new bus, with a brand new bus smell, across Central Park to the east side of town.

The buses that travel this 79th Street crosstown route are bendy buses.  I never, never want to ever sit or stand in the part of the bus that has the bendy bit.  You can see this accordion pleated feature in the photo above.

The earlier predecessor bendy bus models' interiors were all on one level.  These new ones require the  passengers to climb up and down while inside the bus.  This can be tricky while the bus is in motion.  I also think that the older buses held more passengers.  (I think the new buses use hybrid fuels and that is why we now have them.)

The elevated four-across seating above reminds me of seating in a shoe shine place.

In the above photo, a brave lady did hoist herself up and on to one of those elevated seats.  She is sitting right next to the bus's rear door, which is recommended by regular announcements as The Correct Door to use for one's exit.  This door way features multiple warning signs about what to touch, what not to touch, where to stand, where to signal a request for a stop.  And...there is danger if a departing passenger thinks that the doors are going to open outwards (as they did on the old buses.)  Mind those blue Danger signs!

Better wait until you are off the bus before putting up your umbrella on a rainy day, too.  I am glad that I did have my camera with me, just to record this evidence of how new is not necessarily better, when it comes to public transport.

I am sure that we New Yorkers will get used to these bendies.

My east side destination was The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where an interesting exhibit opened last week.

The Steins Collect features a superb gathering of many of the works that were purchased by Gertrude, Leo and Michael Stein.  This exhibit does a fine job of showing what a different time it was when the Steins lived in Paris and enjoyed entering into a new world of art.

Matisse and Picasso became Stein family friends, and are featured prominently in this show.  However, there are many other artists included, and even works by Leo Stein and Michael Stein's wife Sarah appear.

I would definitely recommend this exhibit to folks who might be in New York between now and June 3.  It is a large show, but not so large as to be overpowering.  I came to the Met today thinking that I already knew quite a bit about this particular art history sequence, and discovered that there was more to learn.

By the time I left the Met and caught another of the nouveau bendies, the rain was steady and an insistent wind had joined the mix.  My already weakened umbrella may have now had its final outing.

It was wonderful to get home, have a late lunch, talk with some friends on the phone, have some tea, work on some crafts, get caught up with emails.

Nary a proposal was offered by me today.  Although a few hours remain before midnight, I think that New York batchelors might now feel it safe to come out of hiding.

Monday, February 13, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York, and a very Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

I am so enjoying my extra day off each week, and expect that eventually I will discover how to take better photos and even how to use the scanner feature of the printer I bought last week.

Meanwhile, let the spirit of this watercolor send my Valentine to you all.

Let's see, what else might I tell you, now that the numbness from this afternoon's dentist visit has worn off.  I would recommend my dentist to anyone.  She repaired two vintage fillings this afternoon, finishing the entire bit before I thought she'd finished with the first.  I must have drifted off to dreamland in that chair.

Before heading into midtown New York City for that repair work, I followed the excellent advice of Gina, and bought a beautiful mini orchid at my neighborhood Trader Joe's store.  If this graceful flower survives my apartment's challenging atmosphere, I might just add another orchid or two this window sill.  On my next day off, I will be drawing this beauty and perhaps even doing a watercolor study.  This little orchid plant also has another graceful stem full of promising buds.

As Stevie Wonder might put it, isn't she lovely?

I've also been using an easy to follow chevron knitting pattern from Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Knitting.  If any of you have not yet visited Jane's blog, I definitely recommend clicking on over there.

I am using some odds and ends of four ply yarns, the background yarn is from Malabrigo and the stripes are mostly from Koigu.

The pattern is so easy to remember that the rows just fly by.

I still feel as if I am in the very early stages of adapting myself to my new work schedule.  I hope to show you all many more photos in the weeks to come.  I have no idea what those photos might feature.

What fun it is to look forward to solving that mystery!

Lots of love to you Valentines.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

Later on today a championship football game will be played in the City of Indianapolis.  One of the teams is officially a New York team called the Giants.  I am not much of a football fan and most likely will skip the televised spectacle.

Let me instead show you some evidence that our strangely mild weather has continued into February.  Yesterday was an overcast Saturday, and I took a walk across Central Park to see what flowers might have courageously bloomed.

I saw these clusters of daffodils in a sheltered area that gets lots of midday and early afternoon sunshine.  The trees around them are fruit trees that so far seem to be observing a proper winter rest.

My curiosity then took me towards the Shakespeare Garden, and I saw quite a few hellebores that seemed to have no fear of frost.

It was just after 12 noon when I passed by the sundial.  I thought that the clouds overhead were keeping the dial's timekeeping very discrete.

There were very few signs of blossoming in the Garden, just a few isolated snowdrops and a smattering of blossoming quince buds.  I thought that these branches were very beautiful, but can now see that my camera work did not capture their subtle colors, that were sort of iridescent rosy and purple.

Along the Shakespeare Garden's pathways are numerous little plaques quoting plant-related lines from the Bard.  Currently, the park's gardeners have arranged greenery and pine cones around these plaques to help draw the attention of passersby.

I wandered away from the Garden, and soon was walking along the western side of the Lake.   There were some icy patches, but not enough thicker ice to safely encourage skaters.  However, some mallard ducks were definitely enjoying the swimming and fishing potential of the lake.

New York views like this seem so peacefully tranquil.

Not long after taking this picture, I was quickly doing some grocery shopping, gathering ingredients that I will use later on today to make a hearty split pea soup.  The weather cannot possible stay so mild much longer, and it will be great to have homemade soup available.

Since it won't be long before the Academy Awards are given out, I thought that I might do well to actually see some of the films that have gained nominations in varying categories.  I very much enjoyed the remake of Tinker Tailor and plan to see The Artist before long.  Hugo also interests me, but I am not sure I could endure the 3 D effects.

My reduced work week continues to give me fresh opportunities.  I am looking forward to sharing some more of my wing-spreading happiness.