Tuesday, February 23, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

We are speeding along towards the end of February, and there perhaps won't be too many more days for me to wear these pale blue alpaca mitts, knitted from some lovely soft alpaca yarn and a clever Blue Sky Alpaca pattern 1250 that I was given for Christmas.


I very much like the way that the textural lace stitch detail also created a curve to the top and lower edges of the mitts.


Carrying on with some knitting updates, I finally redeemed another generous Christmas present of a gift card from a very interesting website Gnome Acres.  I've used their sock yarns before, and am looking forward to see how this colorful skein will turn out.  


I was working last weekend when some strangely warm weather slipped into the city, and was delighted that the temperature stayed well above the freezing point yesterday afternoon, creating a grand opportunity for a walk over to Central Park.


The snowdrops in the Strawberry Fields area just inside the West 72nd Street "Women's Gate" entrance looked a bit scrawny, but seemed to have outlasted the deep freeze.


As usual, quite a few lawns were fenced off for seasonal maintenance.  It won't be long before these lawns will be full of folks relaxing and enjoying the sun's warmth.

It might be a while though before this vendor will find many customers wishing to buy ice cream.  Other items are featured on the menu.


As I continued my walk along the western side of the lake, I was delighted to see that the bright sun, clear blue sky, and mostly algae-free water made for many beautiful reflections.


It is unusual for such photo opportunities to present themselves.


Although my pictures are silent, I would ask you to imagine the busy birdsong that accompanied along my strolling.


Lots of bird courtships were well underway.


Shadows were sharply defined by the sunlight.


I was very amused by the sight of this lady with her dog, each of them having individual appreciations of the birds and the lake.


There is something about the intricate designs of all these almost bare branches that remind me a bit of my twisted wire/tomato vine assemblage shown in my last post. 


Although flowers were not yet blooming in the Shakespeare Garden, I did come across these red rose petals scattered over a part of the Garden path.  Possibly a wedding had taken place there earlier in the day?


Some of the hellebore plants I'd seen on my walk seemed a bit worse for wear, post blizzard and deep freeze, but these seem to still have blossoming potential.  I will return to check on them.


Walking along the southern edge of the Great Lawn, I looked up to see this beautiful sycamore tree, still bearing lots of souvenirs.  I did pick up a couple of the quirky little seed balls from the ground as my own souvenirs of my walk.


As my walk took me past the southern end of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was treated to a beautiful shadow show.


I was not the only person stopping along this walkway to take a few photographs.  Perhaps if you click on the following photograph, you will detect the tracks of some sort of heavy work vehicle, that somehow reminded me of those mysterious crop circles.


And here's just one more photograph of trees and shadows, although I don't find the result quite so dramatic against this tall, windowed museum wall.


Returning home, I emptied my pocket and added the natural touch of sycamore balls to some stacked antique china.


And now, for those of you all patient enough to stay with me though this post, I will reveal a change that is about to take place in my life.  I am retiring from my work, and by the end of March will be starting a new blend of freedom and responsibility.

For some months, I've been carefully considering this decision, and making all sorts of lists and calculations to confirm that retirement is a wise and feasable step.  Although I do look forward to soon having additional free time, I will be sorry to no longer have daily encounters with my splendid colleagues at the shop.  

Future posts will be chronicling some of the experiences I'll be having as I make this transition.  Yes, traveling is in the cards, as is more time for creative pursuits, seeing NYC friends, and continuing to expand my curiosity about life's meaning.

Thank you all for visiting and commenting.  It's quite likely that I will soon be posting more frequently.

60 comments:

  1. I don't often comment but I do enjoy a bit of a glimpse of your life in a city I will never visit.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Penny. I hope you might someday actually have a visit to NYC, and that my posts might have shown you a bit of the city at a human scale.

      Best wishes.

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  2. I love the mitts, colour and pattern. And the shade of the sky it was a wonderful day for a walk in the park. Shadows show was stunning too.
    On the topic of retiring I think you will easily fill your days and I look forward to seeing more creative projects. Your posts will be so full of all the things you fill your days of

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  3. Sorry, posted too soon! I think it is good news and you will have a wonderful retirement, with more time and your freedom. I hope it fills you with excitement. X

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    1. Milly, I can definitely envision easily filling my days. In the past decades, I have taken two "gap years" in between some major career changes. I loved the time off, and returned to the work world well refreshed.

      This time is different...even more to look forward to, without having to keep a certain future return-to-work date on my mental calendar.

      xo

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  4. Oh Frances. What a leap. So glad you are able to take it. I think your life will be full and you will wonder how you did it all before retirement. It is an exciting time for you. I so love your blue alpaca mitts. They are exquisite and works of art. Could never do that. Hard to believe that walk was in NYC. Loved the rose petals on the stones. It was a nice walk.

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    1. Dear Donna, thank you so much for your kind words. With all that you do and have done, I think that knitting some mitts like mine would be a piece of cake.

      I am very much looking forward to all that I might find in my retirement years.

      xo

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  5. Oh what good news. So much enjoyment.
    You seem to do so much even with your job. How exciting this must be for you.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Parsnip, I do appreciate your comment so much. Yes, this year will be filled with many pleasures and discoveries. I'm trying not to get too excited before the end of March, but...the temptation is great. xo

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  6. I am very happy for you and look foward to more posts and pictures of your New adventures and hope you share many of them with us! Our city is much smaller than yours! Enjoyed the park pictures and the pretty blue sky especially the one with the carriage in it

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    1. Thank you so much...it's grand to share good news. xo

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  7. I'm pleased you've reached a decision and know you have thought long and hard about it. I'm sure you'll find ways to find new 'colleagues' in the activities you'll now have time to do more of.

    Your photos of the tree shadows are wonderful! What a show light and nature puts on for free! I wonder if architects design in mind of the shadows that will fall on those walls?

    C xx

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    1. Thanks, Celia! I couldn't get enough of those defined tree shadows made possible by the just-after-midday sun. I'd like to think that the Met architects had that show in mind, but it would also be great for it to be a happy surprise.

      xo

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  8. I think you seem like the sort of person who will put retirement to very good use and I certainly look forward to hearing more about your plans. I have been admiring the baubles hanging from the Plane tree outside my window, but they are too high for me to reach. It's nice to see some close up - all the way from New York! What glorious shadows and reflections you have captured.

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    1. Lucille, I am truly looking forward to many full days spent at a relaxed pace. I'm always fascinated by nature's baubles, so perfect in their design. Form and function! xo

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  9. Exciting times ahead Frances, in which I am sure you will have no trouble filling your days. Your mitts are beautiful and I did enjoy our walk around the park.

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    1. I appreciate your comment very much, Gina. I'm very curious to see how the future will evolve. I am hoping that, helped by daylight hours growing longer each day, I'll be able to reset my natural clock to my being the "morning person" I used to be. xo

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  10. I am sure you will not regret retiring Frances. I pondered long and hard, but have never missed working for a single minute.
    Lovely photographs of the Park - when we were there it rained heavily all the time.

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    1. I am eagerly anticipating so many future opportunities. About 18 years ago, I resigned from a job I'd held for about two decades, and gave myself a self-funded sabbatical to do lots of painting. It was grand. The break was to last for one year, but I stretched it out to four. How I am looking forward to April! xo

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  11. Love the mittens, Frances, so pretty! Gorgeous photos of your bit of countryside in the city and the winter trees, too.

    I'm sure you will find plenty to fill your time post-retirement, with your many interests and gift for friendship. Look forward to hearing about the transition x

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    1. Marianne, those mitts were fun to knit...just enough detailing in the stitching, with an easy to understand pattern. They provided a change from my usual fair isle graphs and color changing.

      I appreciate you kind words about my upcoming transition. xo

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  12. A lovely post and all good news!
    I can attest that the mittens are splendidly elegant.
    Pretty Central Park views and lovely to know you will be a lady of leisure ( and arts and crafts!) like me.

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    1. It is so much fun to share good news, both in person and via blogland. Elizabeth, I smiled at your lady of leisure term...I am hoping for a relaxed approach to activities and explorations. It's going to be grand to see friends more often! xo

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  13. Your new mittens are gorgeous, and I so enjoyed your blue sky views of Central Park today too. I think you will enjoy retirement very much, Frances, and will soon fill up your time with many happy things. I look forward to reading about it as it all unfolds. Wishing you a happy week.
    Helen xox

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    1. Helen, I enjoyed using the luxuriously soft alpaca yarn, which really was perfect for the little blue mitts.
      Yes, retirement is looking very appealing. Won't be long now until I do cross that border. xo

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  14. Frances, I'm a bit late catching up with your post due to my husband being in hospital--again. However, I do wish you every joy in your retirement and may I guess that you will soon be looking at travel brochures?

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    1. Dear Elizabeth, I am sorry to hear that your husband is back in hospital, and wish him (and you) well.
      I greatly appreciate your taking time to leave me this sweet comment. xo

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  15. How did I let this post slip by? Such a lot - the beautiful shadow shots, the petals and the gorgeous mittens.
    And retirement! I thought that this might be the news to which you'd earlier alluded. Congratulations! Of course you will miss your colleagues and customers, but the things that you have put on the back burner are waiting, WAITING for you. I look forward to reading about your new adventures. Congratulations on this big step!

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    1. Thank you, dear Pondside. I am definitely looking forward to changing those burner locations around a bit. xo

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  16. I do like the tracery of forms against backgrounds that repeats in your photos; threads, branches, plants and shadows - very pleasing to the eye. I'm very much looking forwards to joining you through this blog on the next part of your journey - how exciting! Congratulations, here's wishing you much happiness as you set forth. Cx

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    1. It's going to be fun to be able to try to renew my "morning person" status, indulge in daydreaming at will, explore some additional creative projects, and so much more. Thank you for your wishes, Chris. xo

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  17. Very much enjoyed looking at your photos of the park in Winter. We have only visited in summer, when it's busy.
    It may take you a time to get used to the gentler pace of retirement, but I'm sure you'll treasure every moment. It's wonderful to have so much time to just do as you please.
    Enjoy !

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    1. Thank you so much. I do prefer the Park when it is not too crowded, so that the natural aspects are easier to appreciate.

      I've been fortunate over the past couple of years to work only three days each week. The tricky bit was that each week the scheduled three days were different. April will truly mark a welcome, enjoyable change.

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  18. Congratulations! This is a wonderful decision and a change to look forward to. And I selfishly rejoice because then we may be able to read more of your posts. I love the tree shadows, and am happy to finally find out what those baubles are that I often see on my New England walks. Now I'll know that they are from a Sycamore tree.

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    1. Thanks Carol! I do anticipate blogging more frequently and spending much more time outdoors (with sunscreen, of course.)

      xo

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  19. France's, I wish you well in the next phase of your life. I am sure you have given your all to your job and it has been an important part of your life. Change is never easy but maybe you will be able to take up new opportunities and have more freedoms. More time to do what is important to you. We can see your creativity in your knitting and photography so feel sure you will find more time to create and hopefully to travel. X

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    1. Val, I thank you for your kind words. I'm truly looking forward to opening this new door and discovering new pathways while continuing to enjoy lots of interests I've held for ages.

      xo

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  20. Your mittens look lovely Frances. Such a pretty pattern too.

    What a difficult decision you made Frances. I hope you will enjoy your new, work free life. Wishing you a happy retirement!

    Madelief x

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    1. Madelief, I'm really pleased at how these mitts turned out and am really grateful for the gift of the yarn and pattern.

      Truly, making the retirement decision has been on my mind for a while now, and I just kept juggling the plus and minus points. What really acted as the catalyst was my current employer's decision to cease offering insurance benefits, as of 1/1/16, to employees like myself who were working 24 hours or less per week. At first this change was a shock, but then I accepted it as a help in my decision making.

      Now I am truly looking forward to having much more time to myself as April begins. Do look out for many more blog posts from me.

      xo

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  21. I enjoyed the shadow photos very much, and the bare trees too. Those shadows were amazing on the walls. I watch out for things like that too. I feel inspired to go out looking for shadows now.

    I am pleased for you with your retirement decision and look forward to hearing snippets from your new life Frances.x

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    1. Thank you, Rachel. Having seen your photographs of wires and sky, and other examples of your artistry, I thought that you might like to see some of the sights from my recent Park stroll.

      What struck me about the shadows on the south wall of the Met was their sharpness in the early afternoon winter light. No leaves on those trees, and a perfect architectural screen for the shadow projections. It really was a sight to make me brake my steps. I think it's possible to see some words spelled out in those shadows.

      (I was on my way to my favorite library to pick up a book I'd reserved, Dark Money by Jane Mayer. You will probably have already heard of it.)

      I do like to balance keeping an eye on certain darkness with staying open to unexpected joy. I appreciate your words about my retirement...which will begin before April Fool's Day.

      xo

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  22. Dear Frances, Your mitts are a perfect example of form and function and most importantly Beauty. A beautiful pattern so expertly knitted. Now that you are thinking of retirement maybe we will see more of your creations in your Etsy shop.

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  23. Thank you Gina. Knitting the mitts from another's pattern instructions was a departure from what I've been making up myself over the past few years. I enjoyed the exercise, and learned a new technique or two.

    My retirement days will begin before April Fool's Day, and I do hope to be creating more items for my Etsy shop.

    xo

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  24. Dear France's
    I love your pretty blue mittens, such pretty feminine pattern.
    As always I enjoyed my walk with you through Central Park - it's a great space for everyone in the city.
    I saw a great program on Discovery which was a birds eye view of NYC which put the size of the green park in perspective - hats off to the planners back then who had great vision!
    Congrats on retiring - you will enjoy it!
    I retired for three years and I was asked back to help out - that was three years ago!
    It means I can travel every year but I'm beginning to get tired, so the end of this year will be time to step back again!
    A lovely post thank you.
    Shane x

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    1. Oh Shane, I do appreciate this comment. Yes, without Central Park, NYC would be a very different place.

      And yes, I am looking forward to retiring, even if I still cannot quite believe I am old enough to be making this move. xo

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  25. What a wonderful post with a surprise at the end! Of course we will all be waiting to hear more of your travels and where you eventually light. And how nice to think that you'll be blogging more!

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    1. Dear Vicki, glad that you stayed with this post 'til the end. It's taken me a while to actually make the retirement decision, but like other choices, it seems so obvious on the other side.

      Oh yes, many more posts will take place, and some exploring and traveling, too.

      xo

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  26. Hello so lovely your mitts!!Thank you for your photoes from Central Park...we visit it with you!!A good news your retirement from work...congratulation for new good relax life!!Kisses

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    1. I appreciate your comment very much. Making the retirement decision took me a while...it's a big step.
      xo

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  27. What a wonderful walk. I don't think I would ever be inside if I had Central Park to walk in every day.
    Congratulations on the retirement news.
    Hugs from The UK-x-

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    1. Central Park is a real gem with so many different areas...something for everyone.

      As spring arrives and I do begin my additional days of open hours, do look forward to my telling you about many more parts of the marvelous Park.
      Thank you very much for your kind congratulations. xo

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  28. Frances, A new chapter awaits you in your book of life! I am happy for you; you must have countless plans and projects and dreams to fulfill. How I love your hand warmers, I have many pair of these and often need to wear them in my studio, (living in the coldest house in Tennessee.) Mine are not this pretty, though.

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    1. Yes, Jeri, I am anticipating lots of full pages in that book. Thank you for your compliment on the mitts...I've made quite a few over the years but these are amongst the more elegant versions....not just for warmth!

      xo

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  29. Lovely pictures from a lovely Central Park in springtime! You will have a great time ahead now, free like a bird and so much time Frances, lucky you!
    Warm hug from Titti

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    1. Titti, it seems as if we have some glorious days that truly do herald Spring...and then take a few steps backward. Today was a strange blend..sun, bright blue sky, but such a strong wind blowing all day long that the warmth of hour when the sun rose just disappeared hour by hour. Snow flakes might appear by the weekend. So odd.

      Ahh, but what remains true throughout, dear Titti, is how much I am looking forward to opening that door to retirement, and the possibilities of more and more choices of how to enjoy each hour. xo

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  30. Dear Frances, how great to see you took that decision! Congratulations, you will see, it is great not to have to...I particularly liked your pictures of the trees and their shadows and first thought that there were postcards hanging on the branches but then realized it is windows in the building. A very well chosen moment to stop working, as spring will start soon and everything will renew. Here we have snow, again but my journey to the UK was lovely and dry - did post some pictures. Enjoy your days at work, I know you will and then open the door for new adventures!

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  31. Bayou, I appreciate your kind words so much! Yes, after lots of thought, I am very happy to have made my retirement decision...and looking forward to having this new life season coincide with springtime.

    I'm also looking forward to having a look at your recent post. xo

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  32. Dear Frances - such wonderful news that you are about to enjoy retirement with the chance to travel and do all those things you've wished to do. I look forward to reading all about it and, of course, to see the associated photos. I wish you well - ENJOY!!!! xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much for your good wishes. Yes, I am looking forward to being able to do some "free range rambling" soon. xo

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