Thursday, May 31, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York as we bid farewell to May.

This has been a lovely day, gently warm without the saturated humidity that's been a recent daily feature.  How lucky to have this day off and to be able to relax a bit, while tending to some errands. catching up on some reading and knitting.

How lucky to have also had yesterday as a day off, even with its humidity.  It was a day to tend to many more errands, even if the air was heavy.  That was why today was so pleasant.

This is a time of day when I generally check emails, catch up on blogs and occasionally post my own.  Generally, it's also a time when I serve myself dinner.  Tonight, I thought I would share with you what was before me.  First course was a summery salad with Boston lettuce, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, tarragon, chives, and a little dressing made from ham sauteed in olive oil, then deglazed with balsamic vinegar.  I must say that I've made this meal many a time, shifting a few of its ingredients now and then, and it always is a wonderful supper.

I did not take a photo of the accompanying glass of Australian Shiraz, and nonetheless want to give it some praise.

The second course featured some freshly cut up strawberries, that I'd let get to know some brown sugar sprinkled on them a hour ago.  I served these berries with a bit of light cream and some heart-shaped shortbread cookies.  Delicious.  Oh, I also added some of my usual roasted almonds afterwards with coffee.

None of this took too much effort, but a bit more effort than I usually want to volunteer after a day's work.  

That notion leads me to a brief report of a luncheon I attended earlier this week.  As I have mentioned before, I am about to cross a marker of ten years of service with my employer.  Every year around this time, said employer hosts a lovely service awards luncheon at a beautiful site in the New York suburbs with a wonderful view of the Hudson River.  Honorees, such as myself, are transported to these luncheons from a central NYC location via a shuttle bus.  I did take my camera along, but decided not to take any photographs.

It's fun to see folks that we do not get to encounter on a daily basis, enjoy the party atmosphere, the fine food, and also hear our efforts praised.  Oh happy day.

I and the other ten-year veterans were also given a gift, that was wrapped up in a large white gift box (like a cake box.)  The photo below shows what was inside the box.

What a fine hand made bowl, and my bowl has my initials and my tenth anniversary noted on the base of the bowl.  Now, I am the recipient of this generous gift, and find that my apartment has no solid flat surface large enough to hold it!  Hmmm.  A sweet dilemma.  For now, I have put the pretty bowl back into its white cake box and am storing it underneath a chair for safe keeping.  I really like the colors in its glaze and wish I could put it to some decorative and practical use.

Have any of you all ever received similar gifts that you cannot easily house?

I will return to work tomorrow, taking with me a home-packed sandwich, most likely ham, cheddar, and lettuce with mayo and mustard on a ciabatta roll.  Easy to prepare in an early morning hurry, and a thrifty alternative to buying a lesser lunch in the trendy SoHo neighborhood where I work.

Let's hope that we all will have splendid June days that will bring us joy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

This is a very beautiful day in late May and it shocks me that so much time has gone by since I returned home from my holiday in early April.  It does not seem possible.  However, it is indeed possible.

I have been swept back into a rush of work obligations and necessary errands, tempered by regular connecting with friends, a little bit of creative dabbling, some reading, and a continuation of the baking experiments I mentioned in my last post.

Sometimes I am not sure which day of the week it is.  Clocks and calendars seem to be measuring time at a new speedy fashion that I do not like, and so I decided to go for a slow paced walk this afternoon.  Often such walks provide me with time for contemplation.  I remembered to take my camera with me.

Rose season is in full flower around here.  My neighbor's roses are putting on quite a show.

I so enjoy walking past this brownstone's front garden and letting the breeze bring me the distinctive rosy perfume.  I often see another passerby tenderly taking one of the rose branches between his or her fingers, bringing a bloom closer to said person's nose, so to better appreciate the sensory opportunity.

There are four or five rose bushes in this garden, each a different color and shape.  I do hope that this year's blooming season will last a long time.

However, as I continued to walk around the neighborhood for a while, seeking out more roses, it was apparent that our recent warm days have sped up the first rose blooming cycle.  Many of the blossoms were already very blousy or quite spent.

I was so happy to discover these showy multi-colored roses in a brownstone's front garden on a nearby street.  Aren't they exquisite?  Of course, I have no idea what the official name of any of these roses might be.

Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of a breakfast meeting a fellow blogger, Vagabonde, and her husband.  We had met each other last year and so found it so easy to  immediately fall into conversation about varied topics, and several very enjoyable hours flew past.  That morning, I forgot my camera, and apologize for not having a photo of our delicious breakfast table, with its fresh orange juice, fortifying coffee, waffles, syrup, eggs, bacon, hash-brown potatoes, toast, butter and jam.  

The restaurant we chose is one of a vanishing type of classic New York City coffee shops, with seats at a counter in one area, and wonderfully vintage leatherette booth seating in an adjacent room.  Very attentive waiting staff and reasonable prices add to the popularity of the place.  We hope that the continuing upscaling of the neighborhood will not eventually lead to the restaurant's disappearance.

I thought it might be fun to show you all a painting I did in the last century of a flower arrangement.  I am very sad not to have been doing more painting.  I continue to resolve to find more time for my art.  This may require some additional conversations at my workplace.

I wish to remind my readers that I am still contemplating where I might choose to go sometime within the next year, making use of an upcoming Tenth Anniversary Travel Bonus from my employer.  Any suggestions are welcome.

Meanwhile I've done some browsing in my library's travel section and clicked around a few places on the web.  So far, I have decided that I would not want to travel in the summer months, but that any of the other seasons would be fine.

The little book pictured below is a gem of a guidebook that I purchased many years ago from Barnes & Noble.  Obviously, all the pricing information is now hopelessly out of date, but it's still quite good about the history and cultural aspects of various places, even very far out of the way places.

I do not think that I would want to stay in a city, but would prefer to try to find a place to stay, possibly on my own, possibly not, but a base in which I could relax, do some painting, 
have some sort of access to public transportation that could allow me to get around a bit and perhaps meet more of you all whose names I know so well.  All my thoughts are quite vague at present.  It is pleasant to do some daydreaming about countryside places where one can see the stars at night and enjoy landscape views daily, even in rainy weather.

Tomorrow morning, my alarm clock will beep quite early to signal my return to a demanding  work day.  Meanwhile, right now, there are still many minutes left in this sunny Sunday and I am so glad to have added this post.

I thank everyone for your visits and comments.