30 December 2010

Tuesday in New York City

There has been quite a lot in the news about the snow in New York, and how the mayor didn't declare a snow emergency and people are running out of food and heating oil and the ambulances can't get through. People who were taking trains or flying home this week are stranded, or have had trips cancelled. I felt lucky to have left just before the storm started and so while I was a bit delayed, I got home. My parents similarly were delayed (with a flight cancelled, then reinstated) but returned home safely, as did the in-laws.

Despite all this, I've had plans to spend a day this week in New York City. We get the week between Christmas and New Year's off, as a long holiday. There were several exhibits I wanted to see, one of which closes on January 2nd. So I watched the trains, and took a chance. Bundled up with new boots on my feet and a fur-trimmed jacket, carefully packing everything I need for such a trip into a smallish bag that I would not have to check, and away I went.

Metro-North was on a Saturday schedule, which meant if I missed a train (which I did because the drive took rather longer than even my generous estimate) there was a half-hour wait for the next one. The station was packed with people trying to get out mostly on Amtrak. I did get a decently close parking space, and scored one of the few single seats on the train, and napped. The plan was from my arrival to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then MOMA, and end at the New York Public Library, punctuated by a meal at some point with my friend Lily. I splurged on a taxi to the Met because I couldn't figure out where to get the bus and walking was getting arduous. Finding a taxi was a bit of a trial, but I saw a women struggling to get from a cab to the sidewalk, offered her my arm in assitance, and then snagged the taxi.

On the trip to the Met, I took a few pictures of the snow:

Can you tell that there's a car in the photo above?

So I got to the Met, and did some wandering around while I tried to figure out where to find the exhibit I really wanted to see, about art in the age of Khubilai Khan. On the way, I saw a small exhibit of Miro, a wonderful photography exhibit, and missed my opportunity to meet Lily for lunch. On the up side, on the way out I stumbled across (only figuratively, as it was well roped off) a stunning Roman mosaic floor of which I took many pictures:

Of course I have lots of closeups of the tiling! At least as far as I could reach over the ropes.

Leaving the Met, I caught a bus to Barney's to see their holiday windows, which are all about foodie icons:

It's fun to see who was represented how, and to catch a lot of the little funny bits about the persons depicted. Lily said that she went to a presentation, part of a series that The New York Times offers, where the window designer talked about putting them together and some of the fun they had in adding the jokes.

Then it was to MOMA, where the crowds were made and I decided that I would see the one key exhibit and leave. Again, I took many photos, but I won't clog this post with all of the ones of the different kitchens. Lots of time spent in looking at the videos, including the one that introduced the reconstructed German kitchen that is a centerpiece of the exhibit.
After this I went to the Library to see a highly recommended exhibit of documents about the three Abrahamic religions, exploring their similarities and divergencies. Fascinating! But near the end (when they were closing the library and hustling us) my brain was getting pretty full of images, writing, illustrations, bindings, and so forth. Coincidentally Lily called just as I flipped open my phone to call her, and we agreed to meet at a Thai restaurant near Times Square for supper. Yums! I'd been running on a protein bar for most of the day, and this was quite lovely - curried soft-shell crabs, tamarind duck, and pad khee mao with beef. We joked that it was surf 'n' turf 'n' air. The fried bananas came as a sort of egg roll, not the expected tempura-style, with fragrant honey drizzled over, but I passed in favour of a Thai iced coffee.
Then I jumped on the shuttle back to Grand Central Station while Lily and her husband took the subway home. Another single seat, another nap, and I made it home safely at about 1:30am, very happy that I did not have to go to work the next day! I did pick up a few souvenirs, carefully brought home in a free tote bag from the Met (which I'd had to parcel into pockets to avoid the checkroom at MOMA), mostly postcards from the various exhibits and the free exhibit brochures. Enjoy the links!

27 December 2010

Flowers and Butterflies for Christmas

When I started this blog, I told myself that I should write at least once a week. Obviously, that didn't happen. I was busy with work, with holiday activities, and with trying to finish the items in the picture.

These were not gifts for anybody in my family, not directly. My SIL had asked me, when I visited in October, if I could help her make a blanket for a good friend of hers as a gift for the family's new baby. This really meant that I would do the crocheting and she would buy the yarn. While I don't usually undertake commissions, for my darling SIL I would do this. So we went to the local AC Moore to pick out yarn (and some additional Hallowe'en decorations) and when I got home I checked patterns and emailed links to some I thought would be good options. My SIL wanted something that looks like flowers, and for this one I had six different patterns of the three accent colours.

The blanket has 35 squares that I sewed instead of following the pattern for joining, so that it would be smoother. I added as much of a border as I could, ending up with a couple feet left of the green. The sweater is for the older sister, who is about two-and-a-half now. She loves butterflies and I was thrilled to find buttons in the shape of butterflies that just match the accent colours! I attached extra buttons to one of the wrappers, to give the mother washing instructions and just in case buttons got lost.

My SIL did not expect to have the extra item, was thrilled. Touched. I think that she thought the set a terrific Christmas present. And, I said, it explained why she didn't get the expected sweater herself (I'd asked her about the colour and style, to be sure it would be wanted) but a beautiful candle holder from an artisan a friend had told me about. My SIL loves candles and this one was especially pretty, a glowing bit of sycamore.

Her birthday is in September. I think she'll get the cardigan then.

11 December 2010


For quite some while, people have asked if I have a blog. People have suggested that I should have a blog. And for about as long, I haven't been interested in blogging, because I feel it's an obligation to talk to the greater world and I don't think I'm up to the challenge. Not that I'm all that unsociable, although I have my moments, but because I didn't think I had much to say that anybody would want to read.

Meanwhile, I also hear from people that they enjoy my posts on Facebook, although I really don't think I post that much, and joined mostly so I could see the pictures that friends post there. I certainly am not as eloquent as
some people I know. Then I thought about the times when I couldn't contain everything I wanted to say in 400 characters or whatever is the current limit. And so, after much thought and practice through posting on other blogs and commenting on still other blogs, I decided to give it a go.

So here I am.

My guess is that in the beginning, the readers will mostly be friends, so I was just going to post that I have a blog and see what happens. No guarantees about how often I will post or what I will say. Then I thought that people who don't know me well might take a look and would want to know more, and the "About Me" box at the right is really small, so I composed this:

Right. Well, online I am 5'7" tall with auburn hair and hazel-green eyes. In reality I am 5'notmuch" with dark brown hair and brown eyes with a tendency to hazel. I have lived in several countries and regions of the USA, currently in New England after a decade in North Texas. I am still adjusting to hills and other verticals (lots), greenery (LOTS), and the fact that distances mean very different things than they did in Texas. Everything seems to be both closer and further away, which boggles my metaphysics.

I have no pets and many hobbies. I seem to collect both books and hobbies at a frightening rate. Especially when the hobbies are the kinds that require stuff to accomplish. I am trying to do something about this, but the inanimate objects seem to be winning. I also collect art, which doesn't help. And I do yoga to Pink Floyd.

People have said that I am an interesting writer and I should have a blog so that there is one place for my writing and project reports. [Speaking of which - the profiles pic is an oddballs blanket I did based loosely upon the Moderne Baby Blanket in the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book with a centre of Noro Kochoran and the rest all kinds of wool and animal fibre blends.] I think it's a bit lazy of people to ask me to blog just so they have something to read, but here goes.

Actually, I composed it a while ago. I thought about the blog, and whether to do it, and when to start it, and revised the "About Me," and read other people's blogs that seem much more interesting than I could write (LOTS), and debated about the background, and got really busy at work (multiple times), and wondered if I should do it on a key date like 10/10/10 or the 7th of November (both of which I missed) or waiting until Pi Day. Then I thought that this would be a reasonably auspicious date, and sometimes you just have to hold your nose, close your eyes, and jump into the deep end.

Here I go!