Tuesday, March 8, 2016

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

Many thanks to you all for all your words of encouragement on the retirement news I included in my previous post.  I've now less than ten work days left, and this month of March seems to be moving at a very quick pace.  I am pleased to report that the weather has been mostly warm and sunny.

I'm also happy to report that I finally completed the cardigan that had been occupying my knitting needles for many months.


I knit it in a four-ply Shetland style wool, using many closely-hued colors.  Since two strands of yarn per row are used throughout, this cardigan is going to be a perfect weight to wear as spring arrives.


I tried to keep lots of notes during the projects, and hope to eventually be able to reconstruct what I actually did, loop by loop, to create some sort of instructions.


One of the reasons that this project took so long was that I stopped progress in order to make Christmas gifts and paint Christmas tea cup cards.  I also spent quite a few days during November figuring out the maze involved in obtaining Medicare Supplemental Insurance and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage.)  I had been informed that after New Year's Eve, my employer would no longer offer insurance coverage to folks like myself who worked only three days per week.

Then, in December, I got involved in Christmas cookie baking, party going, and catching up with my reading and found that the cardigan's design was too complicated for my being able to read and knit simultaneously.

I actually had to return quite a few books to the library unread, with requests that the librarians add my name once more to the reserve list.  I think that my future days as a retiree will give me some more reading hours.


Meanwhile, I have two borrowed novels waiting to be read.  I don't know much about A Little Life, but think I saw a good review of it somewhere.  On the other hand, Ginny Gall's author Charlie Smith is married to a friend of mine.  I have not yet read his poetry but have read one of his prior novels, and would recommend his writing to you all.


My upcoming additional free time will also allow me to visit more art exhibitions than has been recently possible.  As a member of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (now apparently calling itself The Met) I was invited to a preview of its newly opened Breuer building.  This building formerly was the home of the Whitney Museum, which has recently relocated to very grand new space downtown.  The Met is going to use the Breuer space to display "modern and contemporary art through the lens of history."


This morning I walked across Central Park to meet my friend Elizabeth, so that we could have a look at the Breuer and form our opinions of the new venture.


I could not resist taking a few photographs of the Park's model boat pond.  It was unusual to see it clear of both model boats and ducks.



It's usually about this time year that the little gangplank above is used not only to launch the model boats, but also to give adorable little ducklings a chance to follow their mama ducks into the pond for some swimming lessons.


 I liked the looks of the hellebores in this street level window box on the front of an elegant Upper East Side townhouse.

Elizabeth and I were delighted to discover that we'd chosen a viewing time at which the galleries were uncrowded.


It was interesting to see some familiar works of art in a new setting surrounded by some new neighbors.


There are three floors of exhibition space, with an as yet unopened coffee bar and bookshop on the top floor, and a performance space on the ground floor.


I am looking forward to returning for longer looks at the exhibitions and a testing out of the coffee bar.


Two of the Breuer floors are devoted to an exhibition entitled Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.  That title can embrace a wide variety of art, including Leonardo da Vinci's exquisitely drawn studies, to Smithson's shifting sand on the floor.

Back home again this afternoon, I returned to one of my own current unfinished projects.  It is to be a fair isle v-neck vest.  The color scheme will develop as I go along.


I admit that I've already unraveled a bit and then re-knit that passage in colors that pleased me more than the original version.


Once again, I will attempt to keep enough notes so that I might eventually be able to write down some clear instructions.


Next Wednesday will be St. Patrick's Day, and it is my hope that my request for having that day off from work will be honored.  It's also my hope that the weather next Wednesday will be as fine as today's has been.  I want to take my camera to the Fifth Avenue Parade so that I'll be able to share a bit of this year's celebration with you all.

Meanwhile, thanks for your visits and comments.

74 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous sweater! And how nice to see your smiling face!
    I loved A Little Life. In fact, I could not put it down! The characters were fascinating and their friendships compelling. That said, there were some very graphic descriptions of the horrible abuse that the protagonist was subjected to. So, if you're squeamish, you've been warned.

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    1. Shawn, I thank you for both the compliment and the words regarding the novel. Promise to let you know how I get on with A Little Life. xo

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  2. First Frances, you winged that sweater? Didn't follow a pattern? Incredible. And beautiful. I loved that little tour, I've seen that book at Barnes and Noble and thought about getting it. Can't wait to tour more with you.

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    1. Donna, once you figure out what your stitches per inch knitting guage is, it's not too difficult to figure out a pattern. Doing the charts and math took me back to high school geometry class!
      xo

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  3. Frances, I must say you look radiant and lovely in that sweater. Ten more days, wow, you are almost there! I see that you already have piles of plans for your future endeavors, happy for you!

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    1. Thanks so much Jeri! I generally smile a lot, but find myself smiling even more recently....

      xo

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  4. The cardigan is just beautiful, Frances! The colours are really appealing - and you look so very happy!
    Just 10 days left. You must be looking forward to that first day - when you know that all of your time is your very own.

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    1. I really appreciate your kind words, Pondside. Yes, it won't be long now! xo

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  5. I can imagine regular visitors to Central Park saying 'there's the lady in that beautiful knitted jacket!'

    March is whizzing by! We've had a taste of winter, ice and sprinklings of snow.

    I love the drawing of the stag in the forest, do you know who it's by, please?

    C xx

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    1. Celia, you made me laugh with your "lady in the jacket" comment...I thought of Maggie Smith as The Lady in the Van. My mind does play hopscotch sometimes.
      The stag was created by Gerhard Richter. My photograph is rubbish, but I just wanted to have a reminder of the piece. Perhaps when I go back to have another look at the exhibit, I'll take a better photo. I think that you would enjoy the Unfinished Exhibit and also the other exhibit on display of works by Nasreen Mohamedi.
      xo

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  6. Wow! I am so impressed with your cardigan. It is lovely and amazing that you have done it without a pattern. I have been looking at making a fair isle V neck tank top for my hubby from a programm aired here called ' the 1940s Farm', but I will most definitely be using their pattern! Good luck with your imminent retirement. Enjoy every minute. I have been retired 8 years now and every day is so full and I still don't seem to have enough 'time' for all I want to do. Regards Jenny

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    1. Thanks so much, Jenny. Please do let me know how you get on with knitting the v neck for your husband. I think that playing with color combinations in fair isle technique is lots of fun. xo

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  7. Frances, you and the cardigan ought to be featured on a magazine cover! So lovely.
    What fun just to be doing things that you want to do each day....soon!

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    1. You are much too kind, Elizabeth! xo

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  8. I know you will love retirement with all those projects going on Frances. I am speechless over the intricacy of that cardigan - it is absolutely beautiful.
    give my loe to Elizabeth.

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    1. Thank you so much, Weaver. What's interesting to me about knitting is playing with colors, and sometimes with textures. It's all a matter of loop over loop, and can be very relaxing, too. I will surely pass along your love to Elizabeth. (I expect that she will also do a blog post about our visit to the Breuer.) xo

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  9. Dear Frances, I'm sorry I'm a bit late with writing you, but I was occupied with rehearsals in another city.
    What a great news - I'm sure retirement will be for the best, you'll have "all the time in the world" for following your interests, passions and, of course, for going to a normal rhythm of life.:)
    The cardigan is marvelous, the patterns are so complicated and beautiful! It suits you and you look really happy!
    I'm looking forward to reading more often from you! Happy last days at work.:) xx

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    1. Rossichka, it delights me to contemplate all that retirement is going to make possible. I think it will be a feast with many courses.

      I am also looking forward to finding out more about the productions you've been rehearsing. xo

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    2. Hello! Here you can see some photos from the performance...
      http://www.vnpuppet.com/puteshestvie-s-risuvano-choveche

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    3. Thank you so much, dear Rossichka! xo

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  10. Your knitting is awe-inspiring. My late mother-in-law was a fantastic Fair Isle knitter too but she didn't always choose colours that I liked so much. I am acutely interested in all New York news at present as another large chunk of my family is there this week. So glad the weather is kinder. I hope you get St Patrick's Day off otherwise we won't get our report from you!

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    1. Lucille, the NYC weather is amazing right now. We are hoping that winter has now decided to just drift away. Your family folks will be able to enjoy being outdoors. Tiny little green leaves are just beginning to poke out of the tree branches, and the birds are having a daily song fest.
      xo

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  11. I am sure you will enjoy your retirement with all the things that are available for you to in New York.

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    1. There are always too many choices.... I'm looking forward to having a relaxed approach to this buffet. xo

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  12. Your cardigan is beautiful. I am sure you will really enjoy retirement, such an exciting prospect!

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    1. Thank you, Su. With every day, The Day gets just a bit closer, and I once again count my blessings. xo

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  13. Dear Frances, Because I am also a knitter I recognize how difficult it was to create your beautiful sweater. It is a masterpiece.
    Now that you are retired you might even think of re-creating your patterns in a book.
    I noticed the Helleborus right away. What a sensational color. I would love to see a close-up

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    1. Dear Gina, it was really fun to undertake something a bit more challenging than some of the other scarves, hats and socks that I've concentrated on recently. Back when, I used to do lots of complicated sweaters, some from patterns, some I would figure out myself. All fun!
      Yes, those hellebores were remarkable. If you click on the photo, you might be able to see an enlargement. xo

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  14. That's a lovely photograph of you Frances, it has cheered me up seeing your smile. I am in awe of your knitting, your colours are beautiful. I am sure you will have nay years of pleasure wearing such a garment. x

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    1. that should read many not nay! Nay bother anyway. x

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    2. Val, it was such fun to have a large assortment of yarns to choose from in making up the colorways of each motif. Sort of like a paintbox.
      I really appreciate your compliment. xo

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  15. Yes, what a lovely outing.Thank you so much for inviting me!
    Lots to think about at the show.
    Like everyone else, I'm wildly impressed with your knitting!x

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    1. Wasn't it fun! Hoping you've seen Weaver's comment above. She sends her love to you. xo

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  16. You will certainly have plenty to fill your time, Frances. Lovely photo and gorgeous cardigan! You are clever. Look forward to your photos of the St Patrick's day parade.

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    1. Oh yes, Marianne. I've got many interests, and it's been a bit problematic to prioritize my "off duty" hours while still working. I'm really looking forward to spreading my wings. xo

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  17. "Modern and contemporary art through the lens of history". I am not too sure what I make of that. I prefer to keep the two apart in their correct time but perhaps I am taking it too literally. Still, they have to come up with something to launch the new gallery space. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the blurb on it.

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    1. Rachel, I couldn't resist including that quote in my post. I'm wondering how many committee members had to approve those words?
      Since I was able to attend that members preview on a weekday morning, I noticed that the majority of the other viewers were men and women of a certain age. I think that when the place really opens it will be popular with a wider variety of visitors...there's certainly something for everyone in the building. And yet, I'll still prefer revisiting my old workplace, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's always inspiring.
      xo

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  18. Hi I've been following your blog for a while now, I love the photos. I am jealous of your retirement, I just finalized my plans and I've got two more years. In your retirement for extra income you could sell your knitting instructions. You are very talented.

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    1. Debbie, thanks for your comment and for following the blog. Best wishes to you on getting your retirement plans set, too.
      Cheers!

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  19. Your sweater looks lovely on you Frances. Such beautiful colours.

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    1. Thanks Gina! It was difficult to take a photograph of myself, but I was too impatient to wait to ask a friend to do the honors. It was really fun to play with all those colors. xo

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  20. What amazing knitting.You are one very talented lady.You will love retirement and will be able to pursue all your hobbies.Retirement must be be awful if you don't have pastimes.Here in the UK we have U3A.University of the Third Age.Lifelong learning through friends etc.It is a great way to make new friends and learn new things.In our small market town we have 70 plus groups ,all retired people,ranging from walking to reading,theatre visits,languages,science ,philosophy etc.Do you have this in NYC?

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    1. New York is so full of resources...it's really impossible to follow every pathway that beckons. I so so looking forward to the coming years. It's going to be great to have more opportunities to get together with friends I've know for ages. Many, but not all of these friends, have already retired, so now our schedules will blend more easily.
      xo

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  21. You have a new follower from a small welsh village in the uk......i love new york and have visited it many times
    I am so envious of you lifestyle x

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment. I'm really glad to be able to share some bits of this fabulous city that please me, and to find that I gain the opportunity to learn lots of about what it is like to live in very different places around the world.
      I've traveled to the UK many times since the 1970s. A few years ago I finally ventured across the border to Wales, but unfortunately it was only to change trains on my way to see friends in Shropshire.
      Best wishes.

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  22. Dear Frances,

    I was away and missed your happy retirement news but am bounding back to wish you very, very well. So much to do, and no better woman to do it all. Lunches with your former colleagues will fill the gap, and you'll soon make so many new friends that you won't have time to look back at the world of work. I'm betting (50 dollars in your currency) though that within 12 months you'll have opened your own café somewhere in Europe. Austria comes to mind.

    Happy freedom!
    Mise

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    1. How lovely to see this comment from you, Mise! Yes, I am sure to make some new friends, but truly, after having lived in NYC for so long, I already have many more friends that I've been able to meet up with easily while working. I'm looking forward to all the choices that the freedom of time will present.

      I like the sound of that wager you are offering!

      Best wishes to you and yours. xo

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  23. Oh I do so love the colours of your cardigan and the work in progress. I can't imagine why anyone would have said that blue and green should never be seen. In my eyes they are perfect together.
    Sounds like you going to have a very busy retirement Frances.
    Hugs from The UK-x-

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    1. Sheila, when I am playing around with colors, I always keep nature's color combinations in mind. All sorts of blues and greens are beautiful companions!
      Retirement is looking really good! xo

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  24. Dear Frances,
    My currently frequent absences from the blogworld caused me to miss your stupendous news: you are far too young to retire! Maybe not in actual years, but certainly in mind and body.

    Just look at your picture: you’re a mere stripling!

    All the same, if that’s what you want then you have my best wishes for a successful retirement. Just wait, a lady like you will find that she is even busier out of work than she was in it.

    You have so many splendid hobbies and interests, the days won’t be long enough to pursue them all.

    Much love and happy landings from your friend Friko.

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    1. Oh Friko, you have made me smile with your sweet compliments. I think that I've chosen a good time to exit the stage of paid employment, and am really. really looking forward to being able to be the author of my own play.

      I'm counting my blessings to be in good health, particularly since during the past few years I have said some farewells to friends, and know others who do not share my good luck. These sorts of considerations helped me to make my decision.
      Yes...I expect to be busier than ever, but what a joy to be able to adjust my days to my natural "morning' person. There is something about being awake...and even better, outdoors, during the first daylight hours.
      Much more on my mind to tell you. Perhaps in an email...but even better if we might see each other. xo

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  25. So late, still playing catch up.
    What a wonderful post today. I love when you and Elizabeth take walking photos as you go. I have only been to NY once and loved every second. I am such a tourist.
    You will do such wonderful things as you retire. You have your health (so lucky) and live in a city that is full of wonderful thing. I hope you will take us house bounds out on your adventures.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Catching up is a game that I continue to learn. I'm hoping that my upcoming retirement will either allow me to be fully caught up or...even better, will introduce all sorts of new people, places and ideas for me to try to catch up to.
      Yes, Elizabeth and I do have lots of fun visiting interesting spots around NYC.
      I am also very fortunate to have been befriended by ... Buster!
      xo

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  26. Your knitting is lovely - no, more than that - inspired! What talent you have!

    May your retirement bring you nothing but joy and new opportunities.

    All the best, Carol

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    1. You are too kind, Carol!

      Knitting is something I learned from my sweet Great Auntie Mae...so many decades ago. I am fortunate to still use some of her needles...particularly the double points for socks and hats.
      Retirement is presenting me with loads of new opening doors.
      xo

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  27. Frances, you don't age! You haven't changed since we saw you! It's lovely to see you in your new cardigan - it's beautiful! I'm full of admiration. I hope you get 17th off. All best wishes to you for your retirement. cx

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    1. Oh Chris, what a sweetie you are! Paraphrasing Paul Simon, I'm still knitting after all these years.
      Happy to report that the 17th has been cleared, so you may expect another St Patrick's Parade report from me (unless it's pouring rain....)
      I feel that retirement is going to open up doors to many opportunities.
      xo to you and Tom

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  28. Dear Frances,I am so pleased you are taking retirement and will have complete freedom. Your cardigan is a work of art and the colours are wonderful. You look so beautiful in it. Enjoy your day, Andrea from England x

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    1. Andrea, I very much appreciate your taking time to comment. Hoping to see you here again!

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  29. Your cardigan is so lovely, love the colours!
    Lovely pictures too...
    Have a beautiful weekend Frances, take care.
    Love from Titti

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    1. Thank you, Titti. This is that funny weekend when we reset our clocks an hour forward to begin "daylight savings time." I admit to not sleeping very well last night, and am glad to have today off. I'll probably need an afternoon nap! xo

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  30. Hello Really so lovely your cardigan my compliments!!Nice views from your walk in Central Park..I wish to you an happy Saint Patrick Day!!Kisses

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    1. Gabri, I do appreciate your comment. The Park is really beginning to get a certain green glow as the tiny new leaves begin to appear on the tree branches. Hoping that the St Patrick's Day weather will be perfect for wearing my new cardigran.
      xo

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  31. My heavens -- I can't begin to imagine the work that went into that cardigan. It's beautiful!

    I do look forward to seeing what all your retirement brings -- you are surrounded with opportunities.

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    1. Dear Vicki, I truly believe that knitting my cardigan took a bit of planning, some color sense, a selection of yarn in lots of colors, some math ability, and patient to unravel and re-knit when it seemed wise.

      As someone who loves reading, I continue to marvel at what authors like you create...characters, plots, atmospheres, settings, the ability to put something on a page that someone you probably will never meet will connect with, and wish to take the time to pursue through to the final page.

      I very much admire authors!

      Yes, my imminent retirement really offers a feast of opportunities. Please do watch this space. xo

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  32. I'm a New York retiree -- living on the West Side -- with a membership in the Metropolitan Museum, too. The membership was a retirement gift. Look forward to reading your blog.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Carol. Isn't the Met amazing!

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  33. What a beautiful cardigan! Just gorgeous! I look forward to seeing the completed vest.
    Congratulations on your upcoming retirement; I think you will have more time to complete your knitting
    projects, reading, spending time with friends and visiting the various interesting spots in New York City and sharing it with your friends. All the best!

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    1. Thanks so much, Florence. Yes, I am looking forward to getting together with you. Promise to wear the cardigan It's going to be grand to have much more time to see good friends like you. xo

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  34. I want to wish you a happy and rewarding retirement - I heartily recommend it. Also to congratulate you on that gorgeous cardigan. I have knitted in the past, mainly for babies and children (because the item has to grow quickly!) but I don't have the patience to unpick and re-knit like you. Now I paint instead!

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    1. Rambler, it's so good to realize that I truly am almost there...the retirement door is almost open. Just a few more days to go.
      One of my friends is expecting a baby (girl) in late summer, so I've been looking at various pinks and rosy colors and considering what I will be knitting for the little one.
      (I'm also looking forward to more painting!) xo

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  35. I have been indulging myself with a catch-up of your wonder CVCD blog; I have no doubt my friend that we will hear you complain that 24 is a ridiculously small number of hours in a day when you retire. You will fill your days with contentment doing all the things we love to read about in your blog and much more again now that you will have the time. Long life and happiness to you in your retirement my friend; I look forward to the new era of CVCDreams. Lá Feile Padraig to you xx

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    1. Dear Irish Eyes, you know me well. I've already been wondering about how to expand the hours in each of my upcoming days of retirement freedom.
      A Very Happy St. Patrick's Day to you...a blog with some parade views could appear here within the next 24 hours. xo

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  36. Oh, I love your beautiful multicolored sweater! So much skill is required to dream up such an intricate design and choose a palette and figure out the fit, and then make it actually happen. Very well done. :) I hope your retirement brings you many extra hours to spend with the art at the Met, and in strolling in the park, and tucked in with your knitting when the weather is not friendly. Congratulations, dear. xoxo

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