Friday, August 31, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

A full, Blue Moon is now rising, now that the sun has set on a truly beautiful last day of August.  Two full moons in one month qualify tonight's glow for the Blue Moon honor.

The U.S. Open Tennis tournament is now underway in our NYC borough of Queens.  I have watched some of the matches on television, and look forward to seeing more in the coming week.  Sometimes the players have to deal with intense heat and humidity, but so far this time around, they are quite lucky to not have the weather as an on court factor.

Earlier this week, I had great fun meeting my friend Elizabeth for a stroll downtown for lunch at Tea & Sympathy, a tiny Greenwich Village restaurant that contains a lot of British atmosphere in its menu and ambiance.

We arrived just as the T&S was opening for lunch and were able to claim a prime circular table by a window.  We shared an assortment of finger sandwiches, and this entitled me to my very own plate honoring a certain Royal Couple.  It's cucumber with cream cheese that joins Kate and William in the following photo.

It was such fun chatting away with Elizabeth, that we took a while to take charge of the sandwich assortment.  They were all delicious.

Of course, tea was called for, and we also felt it wise to add summer pudding for me and sticky toffee pudding for Elizabeth to our order.

Lots of perfectly ripe berries in that summer pudding.  The sticky toffee pudding with custard spoke for itself in a completely traditional way.

Eventually, we did leave the restaurant and benefited from a leisurely walk back uptown.  There is something truly priceless about visiting with friends.

The next few days saw me back at work.  The city seemed rather quiet during this week, which marks the end of many summer holidays.  Monday is our Labor Day, and for many will be a holiday.  Very soon many schools will start their fall semesters.

Some of the trees in Central Park are now showing a little bit of yellowing around the edges of their leaves.  Most of the trees' leaves are still deep green.  The lawns are still lush, and roses are still blooming.  

Tonight, after yet another pasta concoction, I enjoyed a perfectly ripe nectarine with rich cream and a few cookies (not home baked.)  The farmers markets continue to provide green veg, tomatoes, nectarines, plums, peaches.  Other earlier crops are beginning to show their age.

Sharing my table tonight with the nectarine is a refreshing glass of iced coffee, with lots of milk.  With the help of this coffee, I hope to be able to stay awake, in order to be able to watch some of tonight's tennis matches.  I am relieved that this week's Republican Party national convention has now ended.  

Our election date will arrive on the first Tuesday in November.  Perhaps I will be able to refrain from any post that might directly address this election.

This week I was delighted to receive a treat, via the Royal Mail.  I am now reading an advance copy of Move Over Darling, the most recent novel by Christine Stovell.  Chris is a born story teller, and I am really enjoying reading this book that is set in both Wales and New York City.  I do recommend your getting a hold of Move Over Darling when it is officially published this October.

My apartment now features various emerging towers of projects awaiting my time and attention.  Books, sketchbooks, pencils, pens, paint, brushes, yarns, crochet hooks, knitting needles, colorful fabric, embroidery threads and needles.  It seems that my diminished hours at the shop have quickly been appropriated by so many other interests.

It's all quite wonderful, and I have always found autumn to be a very energizing season.  Perhaps many of you all might feel the same?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Late summer is gracing us with some mild weather with low humidity.  Very good for hair styles and perhaps also helpful in keeping our spirits mild and attitudes positive.

Around midday today, I arrived at my dentist's midtown office, armed with my checkbook.  The project at hand was the repair of several vintage dental areas.  One was a filling...that's relatively easy to renovate.   The other adjacent site required the replacement of a crown.  I keep thinking of the Diamond Jubilee, and jeweled crowns associated with royal thrones.  My crown is more humble.  

Today's visit required various impressions of my tooth to be fashioned, and in early September I will return to the dentist's chair to have my new porcelain crown installed.  It will be a subdued ceremony, and hopefully all will go well.  Meanwhile, I have a temporary crown, and a little envelope containing some materials that will allow me to re-attach said temporary crown should it become dislodged.

Let's send up a big wish that any such re-attachment will not be required.

Leaving the dentist's office, I decided to walk home, via the southern end of Central Park.  This roadway is called Central Park South.  I usually show you photographs of The Lake but there is another lake visible from the CPS sidewalk.

Here is another view of this lake.  I cannot imagine having the nerve to be a solitary painter like the fellow in the following photo.  I do like to sketch in the Park, but prefer to be in a different area.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people in this southern tip of the Park.

There are many horse drawn carriages parked along Central Park South, awaiting paying tourists.  Whenever I walk along this road, I try to keep up a pace and attitude that announces me as a local.  I would never, never want to take one of these carriage rides.

I feel very sorry for the horses and do not find these carriages as remotely romantic.  Within the past few weeks, there was an incident in which a carriage horse was spooked by something, reared up dumping the carriage passengers and driver from the carriage.  The horse proceeded on its own through very busy traffic, following a route he knew would take him back to his overnight stable resting place.  No one was seriously hurt.  So the news reports reported.

Okay.  I will get off my soapbox.

I continued my walk home, passing by children's playgrounds, lots of sunbathing folks, lunch eating folks, romancing folks.  By the time I exited the Park on to Central Park West, the numbing Novocaine given me by my dentist was just about all gone.

My jaw was tender.  I was so glad that I'd been to the Union Square farmers market yesterday, and bought lots of deliciously fresh vegetables.  I was able to made an easy, nourishing and really yummy soup, inspired by the wonderful Mia who posts a delightful blog  from her home in Norway.  The soup's ingredients included lots of zucchini, potatoes, onions, some garlic, vegetable stock (I cheated with some OXO cubes) and a bit of pepper, and cream swirled in at the end.

My tender jaw is feeling much better after having some of that soothing soup.  I will freeze the rest of the soup.

I've also kept my lace stitch knitting going, now working with a lovely lighter shade of the same Madelinetosh merino light yarn.  It is a pleasure to work with, and our slightly cooler weather makes knitting even more of a pleasure.

My summer reading continues to zig and zag.  I've got a few detective novels on the go, and next up will be The Waves.  I somehow cannot believe that I have never read this book.  Perhaps I have?  If so, how is it that I cannot remember this experience?

As always, I thank you all for your visits and kind comments.  It was fun to see which of the ten things detailed in my previous post rang chords with some of you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It is another of those early August evenings when we feel the pressure in the air and know that a thunderstorm just might be coming by for a visit.  We have not invited the storm, but the storm will still come calling.

I have no idea of what sort of plant is in this photo that I took earlier this week at the Union Square farmers market.  The hiding red bits are little peppers and the leaves are a melange of purple and green.

I stopped by this particular garden plant stand at the market to let the lady in charge know that I am still managing to keep a pretty little succulent tree-like plant alive.  I purchased that plant from her in the late spring.  I am not lucky with house plants on my apartment's window sill.

I am, however, lucky and honored to having been given a Kreative Blogger award by the marvelous blogger Pondside.  If you have not before visited this lady's part of the world, I urge you to click over there right now.

Accepting that Kreative Blogger award requires me to list ten somewhat interesting things about me that you might not already know.  I will treat that "already" lightly in the following list.

I.  My September birthdate allowed me to just barely avoid the dreaded current Baby Boomer label.  It also allowed me to be a Virgo.  I do think that there might be something valid in the whole star sign concept.

II.  I have two younger brothers, both of whom are blue-eyed blondes.

III.  Television did not enter my life until I was about seven.  I was able to read at age five, and still prefer reading to television watching.  Movie going, however, has always delighted me.

IV.  I love celebrating Christmas, the carol-singing church part, the tree decorating, baking, gift giving, card making and sending, visiting with friends ... and long ago, visiting with family, too.

V.  Reaching young adulthood in the early 1960's was a gift.  The era's spirit of change gave me courage to set out on my own, leaving my familiar Virginia, discovering New York.

VI.  I've always looked a bit younger than my age, and so some folks have not always realized that I did have a older head than it appeared.  There have been advantages and disadvantages to this.

VII.  Although I have never been married, three or maybe even four men proposed to me.  It has been a long time since all that took place.  I do enjoy my own company, but still have that notion that a certain Prince Charming might magically appear.  I also hope that one day I might be able to have a dog.  I very much regret not having had any children, although I continue to have contact with lots of folks much younger than I am...some of these folks could easily be my grandchildren.

VIII.  When at college (university) I had the good fortune to meet Georgia O'Keeffe, and even more good fortune to have her compliment me on my then current art projects.

IX.  I continue to be very thankful to a former boyfriend who encouraged me, back in 1982, to take a solo trip around Europe, making lots of use of a Eurailpass.  When I returned to New York, he dumped me while I was still suffering from jet lag.  All these years later, I am still so glad to have had that long holiday.

X.  Overall, I am also thankful for very good health, although my skin cancer surgeries on my face (by a top notch NYC surgeon) were quite traumatic.  I urge each of you to be wary of the mid-day sun, use sunscreen, and have regular check ups.

What an odd collection I have offered to you readers.  I have decided, with Pondside's approval, not to pass the KB challenge on to any specified bloggers.  However, if any of you all are intrigued to come up with your own bouquet of ten, please do a post and let me know of your decision.

Let the record show that the air is still thick, and the thunderstorm is still offstage.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

It's a much more pleasant evening than was yesterday's.  Humidity took a little holiday today, and I was fortunate on my day off to be able to enjoy more time outdoors.  Once my laundry and other chores were taken care of, the day was mine.

Over on the East Side of Central Park, I visited an exhibit at the Michael Werner Gallery.  The featured artist, James Lee Byars, who gained fame as in the conceptual art world, was someone I knew way back in the 1970's.  It was fun to help Byars with some of his conceptual "happenings" and to learn from him a bit about the workings of the art world.  As his fame increased, earlier friendships drifted.  I think that such evolution can happen amongst folks in many disciplines.

It was fun to visit the gallery, and have a bit of a nostalgic smile.

Back on the Upper West Wide, I had bit of an urban gardening experience that I will share with you all.  In midtown New York City, Broadway is associated with bright lights and many theatres and lots of crowds.  Up in my neighborhood, Broadway is more of a shopping boulevard.  It's a friendly sort of avenue, with its uptown (north) and downtown (south) lanes divided by a series of planted areas...somewhat like the more elegant Park Avenue, but with benches for weary pedestrians.

The green, yellow, red vehicular traffic lights are complemented by walk/don't walk LED signs for pedestrians attempting to cross Broadway.  The pedestrian lights have recently been upgraded with very helpful countdown signals telling you just how many seconds you still have to cross the avenue, or at least get to that median divider with the benches.  These timers give us an opportunity of quickly pondering whether to seek the wise safety of waiting for the next WALK signal, or testing our sprinting talents to beat the flashing clock.

And so, as I prepared to cross Broadway at 74th Street, when I noticed a large abandoned potted plant resting against a median barrier, I noted how many seconds I had left, got my camera out of my bag, and snapped a photo.

I don't always take my camera with me, and often miss some good urban photo ops.  Not today.  As I neared the safety of the median, I clicked one more photo of this transplant. 

With both feet firmly planted on the median divider, I thought to take some photos of the decorative seasonal planting now in place just behind the stationary benches.

It seemed to me that some of these leaves looked a lot like those of the abandoned potted plant.

In this view you can have a better notion of the planting.  The little green notice board gives credit to whatever local merchant has paid for this greenery.  In the background you can see the blue awning of my marvelous Fairway Market.

And then, I felt a pleasant breeze move through the air, and heard a nearby bump.  I looked behind me, and saw that the catalyst for this series of photos had fallen.

There was no way that I could have lifted the plant back into vertical orientation.  No way at all.  What I could do was take another little picture.

I've been enjoying reading about so many country gardens this week, gaining more appreciation of what is involved in creating a garden.  Here in this city, someone had donated a very large bit of excess green to anyone who might have had the appreciation and the strength to rescue it.  In a way, I felt that I'd experienced a bit of West Side conceptual art, although I might just be indulging a bit of my own nostalgia.

How I do hope that someone with a strong back and arms did pass by Broadway and 74th Street this afternoon, and was able to give this magnificent leafy green giant a new home.