Tuesday, November 10, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Weather continues to be strangely mild for November, and I have resisted bringing out any winter coats from my closet.  Instead, I've been combining various layers to keep warm while out and about.

Tomorrow is what we call Veteran's Day, and I honor that with a view of a poppy bought in London last year.


I've not net quite finished the knitted jacket that's in the background.  Time has been filled with all sorts of other matters needing attention.

About a month ago, I transferred from a downtown work location, reached by a subway commute, to a location that is within a short walk from my home.


My employer remains the same, but now I work in a luxe mall in this skyscraper.  It is the same and not the same.  I like having my routine shaken up a bit.  It's good to have the option of walking to and/or from work, but also good to have the option of a very quick subway ride when my legs are tired.

Just across Columbus Circle from the skyscraper is another tall building that bears the five letter name (begins with a T) of a current contender for the United States Presidency. 


I admit that these two buildings are not amongst my favorite city views, but each serves an economic purpose.  The following photograph from within the mall, shows the seasonal lights that have been installed already as part of the Holiday decorations.  Every few seconds, the fixtures' colors change.  Beyond those starry lights you can see the giant window that provides a view of the southwest corner of Central Park.


I've also been busy on my days off, both enjoying meeting up with friends, and also beginning some of my own Christmas projects.  Having seeing this book mentioned by Emma over at her silverpebble site, I realized that it was a volume I'd love to add to my crowded book shelves.


I was thrilled to find a very inexpensive, used copy of the book in quite good condition, and have been studying its beautiful pages, getting ideas to incorporate into this year's Christmas Tea Cup watercolor painted cards.

Last week, after filling several sketchbook pages with sketches, I settled on a design and the painting has commenced.

Other wintry pursuits are also underway.  I found these red mittens quick to knit, on double pointed needles, using a Lopi yarn, much thicker than yarn I usually select.  Now that I've got the hang of it, I might be making more mittens soon.


I've got some other Christmastime knitting projects underway, but will keep those a secret for now.

I've lived in the same West Side neighborhood for over 25 years.  Lincoln Center is a ten-minute walk away.  Yes, I have attended concerts there, indoors and outdoors.  I have been to plays.  I have been in the audience for many ballet performances, even seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev.  However, I have never been to an opera in the Met.

This deplorable record is about to change on Saturday, when I will be seeing Lulu.  The production was designed and directed by a favorite artist, William Kentridge.  


Long ago, I saw the black and white film, Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks, that covers the same tale.  It is not a happy tale, but surely a dramatic one.


I'm going to take a nap on Saturday afternoon, so that I will be able to give my full attention to the production on Saturday evening.

Also on the cultural front, I am about to begin Slade House by David Mitchell, which will have a bit of connection to his recent novel, The Bone Clocks.


On a much lighter note, I thought I'd share with you all this cover of a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine.  It's title is Rolling Out the Gold Carpet.


There are other matters that are consuming lots of my waking hours, but I'll leave any exploration of those to another time.

I'm happy that so many of you all visited my Halloween post and left comments.  It's grand to hear from you.

53 comments:

  1. It must be such a change for you to work now in a mall instead of your old location. To be able to walk to work though that is pretty nice. You will see beautiful Christmas decorations I am sure. I took my eldest daughter to New York just before Christmas once and we loved the city under all these pretty lights.

    I’ll be waiting for your observations on the opera you will see. I took my husband to an opera at the Met for his birthday a few years back – it was in February and quite cold. We saw La Boheme I think and the acoustic was wonderful. You will enjoy it there.

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    1. It is quite a change, Vagabonde. I also worked at the same location back when this building was first constructed, maybe about 10 years ago.

      Promise a full report on my night at the opera. xo

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  2. You blog finally popup on my reader so I am very happy.
    I think it is wonderful that you can walk to work. I think it is nice not to depend on the subway if there is such bad weather that it has to close or gets flooded again.
    But I live way out west and the bus is very hard for me to get to so I drive or have a cab pick me up.
    I too am finishing up my Christmas Card and some small gifts for family and friends.
    I can't wait to hear your review of the Opera.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Great to have you visiting again, parsnip. Yes, it's good to have several transportation options. There are also some buses I can take to and from work.

      Best wishes on your own Christmas preparations. xo

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  3. I love the fall cover of The New Yorker, thank you for sharing it Frances.

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    1. That cover did make me smile, too, Sue. I just had to share it! It captures a certain sector very well. xo

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  4. I hope that you enjoy working in the mall location, I wonder if the customers will be a different demographic? At least you will have a shorter commute through the winter and the option to walk if the weather is good.
    It is still extremely mild here in England, some plants coming back into flower and some trees still in green leaf! All my tender summer plants are still thriving outside - I hope a sudden drop in temperature doesn't harm them before I get around to cutting them back and putti in the greenhouse.

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    1. Celia, the comaderie in this location is splendid. I actually sort of ignore the rest of the mall....

      The demographic is very international, as it was downtown, with a few celebrities in the mix.

      I think that the lingering warm weather must be confusing to plants, birds, insects...maybe even humans!

      Thank you also for mentioning how you acquired your British Flora book. That really tipped me over into making the purchase. It's a gem! xo

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  5. Love seeing NY through your eyes. Please show us more Christmas decorations, (I will lap them up, even though I try & stop my kids from mentioning Chrsitmas until December). I have that plant book too, need to look at it through fresh eyes. Enjoy the opera.

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    1. Katharine, I want to take some additional photographs of those starry lights in the mall's atrium, to give an idea of how many color variations they go through.

      In the next week, I'm sure to start seeing more decorations around the city. Everything gets dressed up for all the folks who start visiting around Thanksgiving. xo

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  6. I hope you enjoy The Concise British Flora Frances. The week it was published coincided with a week when I wond a book token from The Times Crossword, and I bought that book with it. I use it for identification purposes all the time and the paintings in it are so well done.
    Like the mitts. Any chance of details of the pattern - they look as though I could manage those.

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    1. Weaver, the Flora book is a wonderful resource. It just gives me such pleasure to think of the gentleman painting each detail so beautifully. I also love each page that gives the technical names and info.

      I've knitted many fingerless mitts, and even gloves, but this was my first pair of mittens. They had to be red! I found the pattern in a fabulous book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd. What's great about the book's basic patterns is that they are given for a wide range of sizes and yarn gauges. I'd learned how to knit socks from another Ann Budd book about socks...but dicovered that socks are also in this book.

      xo

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  7. It's still very mild here too though quite windy and a little wet. Like Celia I still have plants flowering and putting on lots of growth.
    Lovely to see the area around Columbus Circle and know that I have actually seen that with my own eyes. My daughter and I visited a market there in 2013 and it was lovely. Can't wait to do it again next year as we are visiting around the same time. Enjoy the opera.
    Hugs from The UK-x-

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    1. Sheila, thanks so much for your comment. Yes, the little Christmas market should be opening up just around the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park very soon! I'll try to remember to take some photographs for a future post. xo

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  8. The Keble Martin has been a sort of Bible amongst wild flower lovers, and I still have my battered old copy.
    How nice that you are near home now, and have a less tiring journey at the end of the day.
    Opera has always been a passion of my husband, and we have been fortunate to have seen many operas around the world, including in the Sydney opera house.

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    1. Elizabeth, I can see why the Keble Martin has so many fans. It's a wonderful resource.

      Yes, having the shorter commute is welcome, although the mall hours mean a later end to the day. Pretty soon, we will be closing at 10 p.m.

      I am very much looking forward to the Opera! xo

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  9. Love the mittens!
    Yes, a most splendid book.
    Looking forward to seeing you very soon.

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    1. Elizabeth, I wonder if your little folks would like you to knit them some mittens? The pattern is very easy to follow. I'll show you the book if you like.

      See you...Friday. Let's hope for more warm and sunny weather...none of that grey, rainy stuff we got yesterday. xo

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  10. New York is amazing.My son and his family had a wonderful visit in October.They found the 9/11 museum quite harrowing.Have you been.We were in NY shortly after 9/11 and your city was so pleased we still had the confidence to visit.Everyone was so welcoming and kind.

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    1. Thank you for those kind words. I once worked about a block from the Twin Towers. Had I accepted a different job offer, I would have been working for a law firm that had offices in one of the Towers.
      Truly, I cannot bear to go near that neighborhood, even after quite a few years have passed by.
      Yes, in the days immediately following the attack, the city was very much in shock, and folks did remember their inner kindness.

      xo

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    2. I can well understand how terrifying it would be to venture anywhere near the site of the Twin Towers no matter how long ago that awful attack took place. I'm so glad you didn't accept the other job offer. Shocking to think you could have been caught up in all that. *shudder*

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    3. Thank you, Rambler. I think that just about all of us who were here on that day have a story or two to tell. I don't think that anything has quite been the same since, not just in New York City. Sept 11 was also a primary election day...and Sept 12 is my birthday.

      xo

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  11. i so love your blog, i love all the pics you take of ny

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    1. Thank you, Lulu. It's a pleasure to share some of the city with folks who live elsewhere. Please visit again.

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  12. Lovely to catch up with your news and hope you enjoy your new job location. And opera at the Met... How fabulous! I look forward to hearing all about it. Have a wonderful time dear Frances

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    1. Gina, I am so looking forward to the opera. Do you know William Kentridge's work? I've been a fan for ages, since a NYC friend first took me to one of his exhibits.
      Promise an opera review of sorts. xo

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  13. We are being confused by the same mild weather. No heating on in late November. Unheard of! You are well ahead with your Christmas preparations. Your last card is right here on the table with me as I type. Luckily thanks to you I have enough Advent calendars to last for a few years so at least I am ahead with those. I have an idea that trips to New York might be in my future as my younger son considers his options for another degree.

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    1. Yes, Lucille, this November is truly a bizarre one. How lovely to know you've got my 2014 card nearby. How I wish I could get over to London before the end of this year, but there are too many other bits claiming my time and attention just now. One of my terrific work colleagues is in London now, and I have given her a little list of place she might seek out.
      Exciting to learn that New York might become a destination for you!
      (Thank you for reminding me about getting an Advent Calendar...must put it on the list for my next day off.) xo

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  14. I have a Keble Martin from the early 1970s when I dated my then boyfriend who worked for the Nature Conservancy and he introduced me to plant identification. I featured my relationship with him on my blog not long ago!

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    1. Rachel, I think it's rather encouraging to learn how many folks have a Keble Martin connection. I am going to have to look for your blog post. You've got my curiosity awakened. xo

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    2. It was a short post in October called First Love,

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  15. My Frances, you are a busy bee. Love the mittens. I haven't knitted in so long I've forgotten how. Need to get together with someone to get me started again. Winter is a perfect time for me to knit. Keep us posted on all the fun.

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    1. Donna, it is indeed a busy time. For me, it's important to try to fit in some quiet time along with all the busy-ness. Promise to keep the blog posts popping up regularly. xo

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  16. To be able to walk to work is certainly a plus. Your life is so full of wonderful things -- thank you for sharing them with us, (I love the mittens!)

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    1. Yes, there's something about red mittens. Vicki, once upon a time, I wrote and illustrated, with pen and ink drawings, a children's story book about lost mittens. I sent it out to quite a few publishers, but never found one who wanted to actually publish the book. Ahh well. xo

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  17. I always like your posts about NYC life. It must be great to live in a big city..There is always something interesting going on! Love the red mittens!

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting...of course, you all know how much I love visiting your site and seeing your wonderful creativity. xo

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  18. A lovely post, and interesting views of the city. It must be good to be able to choose walking to work now if you want to. I love the British Flora book....I used it for reference from the art college library when I was a student, and bought it when I began my first job as a part time college tutor. I still refer to it now....
    Happy November, dear Frances.
    Helen xox

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    1. Helen, I'm really enjoying learning how many other folks have a copy of British Flora. I'm glad to be in such good company now.

      Over my many decades of employment, I would guess that I've been able to walk to work during at least half of those years. When I was working at an office desk, I welcomed the opportunity for additional daily exercise. Nowadays, having to be on my feet for over seven hours each working day, that additional exercise is not always what I yearn for! Still, it's grand to be outdoors and to see more city views. xo

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  19. Oh but you are very brave to begin your in-person Met Opera journey with "Lulu!"
    I remember seeing "Aida" as a little girl in the old Met (39th St.?) with my mother and just being stunned by the spectacle. Enjoy! Among the celebrities spotted, do you ever spy a certain unnamed billionaire hotel tycoon who you referenced above? Thank you for a very enjoyable blog, Frances. I first found your posts and link on Mise's blog, I think.
    Cheers from Denver,
    Diane

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    1. Diane, thank you for your visit and comment. I might take a little nap this afternoon, so I will be fully awake to take in the full Lulu this evening.

      I'm glad to report that so far I've never seen that billionaire...seeing his grandiose buildings is enough for me.

      Please do visit again.

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  20. I love popping into NY to catch up with you Frances. I live 20 miles from London and it is still shorts and t-shirt weather when active in the garden. This week I even saw a Red Admiral butterfly on my still-blooming cosmos. Like you I'm more of a ballet and theatre lover but whenever I've been invited to the opera at the ROH, London it has always been the most wonderful experience. Your painting and knitting pursuits as you prepare for Christmas sound delightful and how lovely to fallen leaves being treated as an asset rather than a nuisance!

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    1. Sarah, I'm so glad you enjoy visiting here...it's such a pleasure for me to share a bit of New York.

      I'm hearing some strong winds blowing this morning, so perhaps we are finally going to have chilly weather arrive before Thanksgiving.

      Best wishes!

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  21. Dear Frances, I'm so sorry to be late to this lovely post - (we're still weathering a few storms here) so much to comment on. I do hope you're settling in to your new workplace - it's good to be within walking distance.
    Gosh, Lulu, that was a very brave starting point - I'll be very interested to hear what you thought. I've only seen a televised version and although I'd love to see it live, I keep waiting for a time when I feel robust enough to cope with it. Mind you, I really enjoy Turandot and that's a fairly bloody tale! And we loved our trip to the Met, even though Carmen isn't one of my favourites, it was a wonderful production. I recognise that little botanical book - I'm not sure that Ma doesn't have a copy floating around, or my sister perhaps. I shall look forward to seeing how it inspires your painting. Oops, better stop, I'm going on and on here! With love, Cx

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  22. Chris, thank you for your visit and comment.

    Yes, it's grand to have walking to work as an option, but also great to hold a monthly Metrocard that allows me unlimited public transport for 30 days. Options!

    Because I am such a fan of William Kentridge, chosing to buy a balcony ticket for Lulu was not all that brave. I do plan to write a post about my recent cultural tiptoes, but will mention that on Saturday night in NYC at Lincoln Center, there were plenty of police on the plaza, each armed with a machine gun and with their eyes wide open.

    Bet you Mom does have the British Flora...the book, even in paperback, did turn out to be much larger than I'd expected. All good!

    xo to you and Tom.

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  23. As busy with your various projects as always, I am glad to note.
    Not only that but also a veritable culture vulture with your reading and operatic concerns.

    A lady after my own heart, but then I knew that the first moment I set eyes on you.

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    1. Things got even busier for me this week, Friko. Mostly in a good way.

      I've got to find some time soon to write a post about my night at the opera, etc. Meanwhile, I will return to painting this year's Christmas tea cup cards.

      I'm looking forward to our seeing each other again next year.

      xo

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  24. Interesting to see your new place of work, it looks very chic. I have a copy of the wild flower book bought in a charity shop. Inside the pages I found an article about the author and how the book came to be published.We have had snow, the weather has turned suddenly, bitter cold and wet. Keep snug x

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    1. Val, I will have to post some more photographs of this luxe mall. It is very different from actually having contact with a busy street scene.

      How great for you to find the article about the Flora book in your own copy. I've read his story myself and am so glad that he made these drawings and paintings.

      Still warmish over here, with some roses still in bloom. xo

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  25. Interesting post and nice pictures Frances!
    Have a lovely day!
    Titti

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    1. Thank you, Titti, for your visit. I am sorry for being so tardy in putting up a new post.... xo

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  26. Just popping by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day Frances.

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    1. I appreciate that wish, Lucille. I have much to be thankful for...including having friends like you!

      xo

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