Friday, November 27, 2015

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

I've been meaning to give you all an update on my night at the Metropolitan Opera, but instead seem to have been devoting most of my free time to painting my Christmas tea cup cards.

As of now, I think I will be able to complete this year's supply in time to get them in the mail for delivery prior to December 25.  I've already bought my first batch of Christmas stamps.

Later on today, I will be having my first experience working until 10 p.m., the seasonal closing hour for the shop.  I'll show you a few more photographs of the mall's light fixtures with the changing lights.  Every 30 minutes, these lights put on an extra show with rapidly changing colors and glittery effects, accompanied by really loud version of holiday tunes.  

One gets used to this drama reather quickly.  I am happy to report that I did not feel so jaded about the opera Lulu.  The staging was so imaginative, and the cast sang beautifully, in German.  Subtitles were available on a tiny screen affixed to the back of the seat directly in front of mine.  It was a thrill to hear the full orchestra's performance and to be caught up in the evening's drama.

If Lulu, designed and directed by William Kentridge, is ever due to be performed in your area, I would recommend acquiring tickets.

Fortunately, our shop was closed for Thanksgiving yesterday, although some of the mall's shops were open.

It was a mild hat or gloves were required, and I decided to walk over to 72nd Street to view a bit of the annual Macy's sponsored Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I was curious to see if the crowd numbers would be affected by any safety concerns, in light of recent global events.

Crossing Columbus Avenue, I noticed that some souvenir vendors had set up their endeavors a block away from the Central Park West parade route.

It was also apparent that lots of police security was in place.

All the same, Columbus Avenue looked quiet.

As I neared 72nd Street, I saw more vendors' stands, and more police  officers and vehicles.  Huge Sanitation Department trucks were also being used to block other vehicles from entry to 72nd Street.

The parade had already been in motion for about a half hour by the time I got my first view of one of the large balloons.  I think that this one was a little engine that could.  I also realized that the bright day and back lit clouds meant that my parade photographs would be poor.

I decided to take a few pictures of the viewing crowd, and of some available souvenirs.  I also thought the clouds were lovely.  There was a pretty strong breeze keeping the clouds moving uptown, as the parade progressed downtown.

Many adults had been unable to resist purchasing one of the turkey hats.  

I do not know which character's profile is shown in the next photograph.

It seemed to me that there were fewer folks viewing the parade yesterday than in past years.  However, it was still fun to see the family groups taking photographs of each other, and young children being able to climb onto ladders or parents' shoulders for better views of the balloons. 

I think that I stayed about an hour at the parade, and then just after seeing this delightful young dinosaur pass by, I headed on home.

It was very pleasant to get home, fix myself a mug of hot chocolate, and sit down to paint some more tea cup cards.  I am very thankful for all my blessings, and I thank you all for your visits and comments.

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.