Wednesday, July 25, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Our respite from the challenges of urban summer heat and humidity is about to end.  The past few days have been glorious.

Here is a view from my front window.  Aren't those little clouds lovely, perhaps like little fluffy sheep and lambs gently drifting across the sky.

Today I got up early to take care of laundry and some other errands and then went downtown to the Museum of Modern Art to meet a friend who'd recently returned from France.  I wanted to hear more about the trip that she and her husband had, to see some photos, have a delicious lunch at the MoMA cafe, and to see an exhibit of the works of Alighiero Boetti.  He was a conceptual artist who made thoughtful art, often using very humble materials.  He loved hardware stores, traveling the world, recycling, being thoughtful and playful.  He embraced time and valued inefficiency.  As I make my own transition from a very active sense of responsibility towards a more relaxed state, I found Boetti quite interesting.

You could find out more about this man at the MoMA site.  Meanwhile I will show you a few photos I took, in the exhibition's room that allowed photography.

The map below was woven by Afghanistani women.  They used pink thread for the world's oceans because they had more yarn that was pink than any other color.  Perhaps you can see  how flags are part of the globe.

The next two photographs are also of textile works.  Boetti made use of the grid for many of his works.  You can see that several alphabets are employed, along with a very beautiful colorway.

This is a close up of another textile in the same series.

I intend to return to this exhibit and may even make use of the available audio guide.  I cannot remember when I last thought of using an audio guide.  Usually, I just want to make my own way through exhibits.  This time I am very curious to learn more.

After seeing a few other MoMA exhibits and enjoying lunch, my friend and I walked back uptown, through Central Park.  It is so maturely green now, at its fullest summer growth.  We have had sufficient rainfall to retard the notion of leaves or grasses turning brown just yet.

I thought you might enjoy seeing these elms.

Tomorrow will be another day off.  No museum on the agenda, no required errands.  I do look forward to getting together with another friend, and also finding time for some of my own creative projects.

It is difficult to comprehend that August is just about to knock on our door.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a truly glorious summer Sunday.

Our heatwave has been broken by some heavy thunderstorms.  Although the subway train platforms are still holding on to their summertime warmth, most other parts of the city are now much more pleasant than they were a week ago.

I have now passed through my tenth anniversary with my current employer, and am about to embark on a slight change in that employment.  It is delightful to report that I have given up my managerial duties, gaining much more of a work/life balance.

I've been celebrating this change with a variety of my creative interests and visits with friends.  I got out my watercolor paints, brushes and the obligatory jam jars for water and did a little painting.

It always amuses me that a picture can be created from a very messy arrangement of paint on a little plastic plate.  The cup and saucer painting was done very quickly and will become a thank you card.

The messy plastic plate will continue to supply colors for many more painting exercises.  

I've also been playing with colorful yarns.  The crocheting you see below has been done with various mercerized cotton yarns from the Cascade and Tahki brands.  I suspect that you can guess that these are pot holders, although the same circular motif could develop into hats.

The knitting in the following photo is an experiment with a lace stitch I found in a very old Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary.  The price of this gem of a Dictionary was $1.98.  For a long time I thought that I had lost the book, but was so happy to discover it on a bookshelf after all.  The stitch is called a Fishtail Stitch.  The yarn is a very soft Madelinetosh hand dyed merino yarn.  If we were still in the grip of last week's heat wave, it would be intolerable to be working on this scarf! 

I have tried over the years to only mention my workplace in a very general way.  I will say that as this new week begins, I am feeling very happy with my recent decision to relax a bit and to allow myself much more time for more personal pursuits.  It is rather wonderful to now yield many former responsibilities to other very capable hands.  I suspect that it will take me a bit of time to fully enter into this transition, but can definitely say that my spirit is willing! 

This site has served me as a sort of diary and it will continue to do so.  It seems likely that my posting frequency may increase and new topics may be included.

I would be interested to hear from readers who may also have been making changes in their lifestyles.  Many thanks to you all for your visits and comments.

Let's hope the mild weather lasts for a few more weeks!

Friday, July 6, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from a very hot and humid New York.

I am very lucky to have today, and Saturday and Sunday as days off.  Unlucky, perhaps to be relying on my little apartment's open window'd cross-ventilation and Vornado fan, but still...I don't mind relinquishing the extreme chill of the shop's air conditioning for this free time.

This morning I watched Roger Federer gain access to the Wimbledon finals, glad that I will also be able to watch that final match.  Then, before the other men's semi-final match got very far along, I ventured downtown to the sublime Friday Farmers' Green Market at Union Square.  The growing season is beginning to show results.

Swiss chard is very, very beautiful, with its striking contrast of color.  Alas, I don't like eating it as much as looking at it, so I just took a photo, and didn't buy any to take home.

Radishes in so many varieties.  The milder French breakfast radishes are my favorites, so I had to have some of those.

All sorts of peas were on offer.  I took a handful of beautiful sweet sugar snap peas.  I might draw/paint them tomorrow before adding them to the next supper menu.

On to squash.  Summer squash and some other more exotic varieties.  I took a few little zucchini, and did add one of them to tonight's tortelloni recipe.

Well, it was midday, and even with my layer of protective sunblock, I was feeling the heat, so  I next decided to take a little break from the Square's market action to venture into the nearby Barnes & Noble shop to browse the international magazine stalls.

On the way way there, I clicked a few more pictures to show summer in the city.  These bicycles were lassoed to their metal stands just next to a map showing various bike lanes around the city.

There were several of these mobile food stands parked along the same block.  I wondered just how hot it might have been inside this cart, and felt sympathy for the folks who were working there.  Business was pretty good for them.

Just to the right of the food cart I saw this gleaming bike, with the Heineken truck behind it.  Both offered potential cooling effects.  I remembered days of yore when I actually did ride on a bike, seated behind my boyfriend.  Glad to have done that and to still be alive.

The third floor of the Union Square Barnes & Noble store is a rich source for international magazines.  I was so happy to finally find the July issue of Country Living Magazine, and to be able to read the featured article about fellow blogger Emma Mitchell  whom I was so lucky to meet last spring at the Selvedge magazine fair.  She is a very talented lady, and this article might inspire others to follow their own dreams.

I also bought an early fall issue of Vogue Knitting magazine.  I have lots of my own textile-related dreams that I am hoping to make into reality.  More about all that in the following months.

Having cooled off considerable, courtesy of B&N air conditioning, I ventured back out into the midday sun, and took a few photos of pretty posies for sale at one of the marker stands.

I didn't think that any of these lovely flowers would have survived the additional heat of my required subway train ride back uptown and so I was content just to take these photos.

Still, I was so tempted.

What I did take home with me, along with the vegetables, were some little pots of rosemary and basil.  They have already contributed to tonight's pasta.  I don't expect my apartment's windowsill's light and heat conditions will allow very long life for these herbs, but how I will enjoy them while they do last.

I also plan to use them as subjects for some drawings.  Nature is the perfect model.

It's been interesting to read other blogs from around the world during the past weeks, and to really see how this 2012 weather is extreme in differing ways in various places.  How I do hope that New York will cool off a bit.

Otherwise, I might have to go to another movie before my return to work next Monday.  Earlier this week, I cooled off in a neighborhood cinema watching Woody Allen's newest, To Rome With Love.  It is interesting to see another example of Woody taking his familiar plot and dialogue bits on the road to new locales.  I really enjoyed the popcorn, the theatre's air conditioning, some of the actors' performances, and a chance to see Rome a long time after my 1982 visit.

I am reading The Wind in the Willows, for the very first time, thoroughly enjoying its wit and observations of animal (even human animal) behaviors.

Many thanks to you all who've visited here.  Thank you for your comments, too.