Wednesday, February 26, 2014

another snowy day at home

Fortunately, the sun came out and the white streets turned black again. By that time, it was afternoon and I was not going out.

Nothing momentous - just more of the same sorting/throwing.  I put 4 or 5 bags out for Big Brothers/Big Sisters to come and collect tomorrow, so that's a bit of progress.

For those of you who are going through/have gone through your parents' stuff, I will share with you a series of articles, The Task, from the NY Times on-line blog that a friend recommended to me.  Wonderful!! http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/the-task/.  I could identify with quite a bit. Scroll down and start reading from the first of 8 articles, which is at the bottom.

I am back at work on the strips from a couple of weeks ago and this is what it looks like now. It is less blue than it looks here.  Well, we shall see what it looks like in the next permutation. 
 If the weather perks up a bit, I may bring a load of stuff to the studio.  Getting cabin fever.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

finally! time (and energy) to blog

The last couple of weeks have vanished in a continuing cloud of snow, snow, and more snow; frenzied sorting and throwing, followed by cooking and caregiving for a daughter-in-law recovering from surgery and a sick grandson. 

The weekend provided a nice respite from the hectic world and below freezing temps -- the weather gods gave us a couple of 50 degree days so we could actually get out and enjoy the air. Saturday brought a trip to the Montclair Art Museum, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary with items from its collection that are rarely displayed.  100 artworks, some of which were in the opening exhibit in 1914 and others of which were more contemporary, were on display.  A few of them captivated me enough to take pictures.

This is a wire sculpture against the wall.  The box is merely a shadow made by the actual sculpture, which appears to be in the box.  So cool!

This fuzzy photo is of a fiber piece made of pieces of blankets.


 This is one of the museum's paintings by Native American artists and I simply love it.  
 Finally, you probably know immediately which artist did this giant iron.  Yep, Willie Cole.
Sunday brought a trip to New York and more art: an exhibit of ossuaries and other 6000 year old artifacts at NYU's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.  Beautiful!  This was my favorite. 
After dinner, on the walk back to the bus terminal, we noticed that NY is still in holiday mode. I think they should leave those lights on all year - they are so pretty.

Around the corner, the construction vehicles sat waiting for Monday morning to come. This was only part of the block-long crane that will no doubt be putting up another skyscraper.

Once the weekdays started we are back to temps in the 30's.  Still, not bad.  I think there is more snow predicted for tomorrow (Wednesday) but I really hope they are wrong.

Monday, February 17, 2014

no snow pictures

So boring.  We are so snow -weary and there is more due tonight and tomorrow.  Happily, I was able to get out today to take my grandsons to lunch -- but tomorrow, I cancelled my appointment and do not plan to move.  Car in garage.

Over the weekend I nursed my cold and am feeling better, thank you.  Made lots of soup and cooked a gorgeous risotto (as promised) for Friday night's dinner.  Actually, thee were enough leftovers for Saturday dinner, as well.  So easy - you should never be intimidated  by cooking risotto: you can't go wrong.  I think the secret ingredient is saffron -- and I am now out of that wonderful spice, so shall have to restock.  Fortunately, it doesn't take much to make a difference to anything you cook.  More precious (and expensive) than gold.
For the last few days i have been working on my bulletin board cum design wall in the sewing room at home  Pulled out some sewn together strips from four years ago and started from there.  Still in the adding/throwing at the wall/contemplating stage with a long way to go. The picture is not very good and the color not entirely accurate, but can you guess where the inspiration is coming from?
It has felt so good to sit down and sew, and tomorrow I plan more of same.  It is supposed to hit the 50's over the weekend so maybe I will get to the studio next week. Meantime, happy to be in and warm.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

sniffle, sniffle

No, I'm not crying. I guess my immune system broke down with all that work on my alleged vacation and I picked up a cold somewhere along the line.  It's not bad - just annoying.

High-tailed it to the supermarket this morning to fill my empty larder and it took me two hours to get through the aisles.  Yes, another storm is coming tonight into tomorrow and the entire population was there, buying for armageddon. Cheesh!

NJ has called a state of emergency for tomorrow (Thursday).  Schools and businesses will be closed, trash pickup is cancelled, and I have 45 robot messages from the mayor telling me to stay in the house.  Ok with me! I plan to make soup and chili and stew with some of the food I bought today -- and maybe risotto.  I bought arborio rice and shrimp and asparagus and thought it would be a treat for Friday night dinner.  Before I left for Fla I bought a large butternut squash and have to decide whether to make soup or add it to the risotto.

I am going to crawl into bed, but before I do I want to share with you a photo I got yesterday from Carol Capshaw.  She won one of my lovely log cabin blocks at the schoolhouse I did in Houston a few years ago when my book came out -- and she transformed it so fabulously that I was hard put to find the original bits in her gorgeous redo. Here is the before and after. Don't you love how she reinvented it?  I do!

On that cheerful note, I am off to dreamland with the expectation that I will awake to another winter wonderland tomorrow.  Oh, joy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

snowbirds fly back to the frigid north


With another six inches due on Wednesday, I am reluctantly catching a plane to the frigid, icy, road salt-deprived state of NJ.  I figure this horrible weather is punishment for those who elected (twice, no less!!) Governor Bridgegate.  But why do the rest of us have to suffer?

In any event, the two weeks flew deliciously by, despite the fact that for much of the time I was a cleaning person-in-training.  I have now retired from that short-lived career.  The carpet is down and the first step toward elegance has been taken.
I have thrown out a lifetime supply of shopping bags; plastic containers past their use-by dates,
soaps so old they have turned to powder, and untold heaps of paid bills dating from 1979. Also, a non-working microwave oven, an out of date analog cable box,and 3 tvs.  There are two more tvs waiting in the wings to be taken out to the recycling, but I shall have to hire somebody to do that because I can't lift them. Next year.

On the upside, we went to see the Miami City Ballet, a wonderful piano concert, and of course the Norton Museum. West Palm and Palm Beach are cultural anchors for south Florida as far as I am concerned.

Last night's farewell dinner at Pistache on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach was divine and  
included a couple of elegant desserts.  
My two dinner companions opted for the crepes suzette.

We had to delay our dinner reservation by a bit because as we were getting ready to leave, the 1979 creaky dishwasher overflowed, billowing suds on the kitchen floor.  Cleaned them up and then opened the dw to find another mess of suds.  This was how it looked after I had spent 1/2 hour bailing out the bubble bath.  You can actually see the bottom of the machine, which was not possible a bit earlier.
HA - one more reason to look forward to part deux of the renovation next year!

Yes, I did a little bit of sewing work, but it will have to wait till I get home to show any progress.
Everything is packed away and now I have to empty the last of what is in the fridge, return the rental car, and have lunch at the airport.  Then we can relax for a while.  I'm hoping I can find Hoffmann's chocolates at the airport: they left West Palm and I didn't have time to stop in their Lake Worth store.
Next post from the tundras of New Jersey!



Friday, February 07, 2014

renovation, part 1

First thing to go from this lovely apartment is the 1970's shag carpeting, here since these buildings were built.  Yes, the kitchen and bathrooms have to be gutted - but that is for next year.  

However, I couldn't stand thej dirty, faded shag carpet for one more minute, so I picked out a low-pile wool berber on Tuesday. Here is the before and after, as they are taking up one and laying the other.
 They measured on Thursday and are installing it today.  It is a JOB because all the STUFF had to be removed from the cabinets and bookkcase and closet floors before they could even do anything. Have been llugging and throwing since Tuesday and  am now squished into a corner, out on the porch, along with the tip of the iceberg from the guest room.  Much of this will go to Good Will or the Salvation Army.
To my left, leaning against the sliding doors, my so-called design wall.  I hope to move it back into the guest room tonight when the carpet is down and the furniture is back.  It doubles as my sewing room when I am here.
On the bright side, the weather and the view are beautiful.  Here is what I am looking at if I turn my head slightly to the right.
I did not take a selfie when I had lunch with Sandy Donabed yesterday, but it was good to see her and she is always fun to spend time with. Have visited all of my local cousins and  spent time with two other friends.  Not ready to go back to the deep freeze on Tuesday, but it can't be helped. More snow predicted for Wednesday. Oh, joy.

I've already had a teaching request for March 2015 on the west coast of Florida. If anybody else wants me while I'm there, let me know.  For the moment, I am happy to put my feet up and enjoy myself for the next few days.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

OMG, it's February

February.  Does anybody pronounce this word correctly any more, except for we antideluvians who speak correctly?  Sadly, not.  But the decline in grammar and pronounciation in this country is a subject for another blog rant.  My grandson Josh, who is almost 15, was highly bugged when I corrected his grammar -- but I am happy to say he has now become a member of the Grammar Police.  That's my kid!!:-))

Anyway, here it is, one month closer to spring -- and while I will not gloat about being in South Florida, I will say it is delicious to be here.  It's relaxing but a little too laid back for me to want to live here all year round.  However, it is  a splendid escape.

The first night we got here we had to go to the supermarket for some basic breakfast and lunch items. I LOVE Publix!  Imagine my joy when we came upon this section of the shelves!! McVities digestives!!
We are almost out of the ones we brought home from London in October and they are impossible to find at home.  We bought three boxes and will go back for more before we leave.  Also, HP (imported),
and such wonders as Branston Pickle, Salad Cream, Ty-Phoo tea, and Vegemite (all of which which we left on the shelves).  West Palm Beach is loaded with Canadian snowbirds, which is why I suspect there is so much British food on the shelves.  Yay!

  


So, today is Saturday February 1st and we went out for our morning walk around the village.  Halfway, we came upon a flea market in one of the parking lots and had some fun looking.  I bought three books for $1 -- I find I am reading rather than sewing, despite all the fabrics I packed in my suitcase.  Will I never learn?

This afternoon we headed into downtown and wandered down Clematis Street, which is a happening district with lots of bars, restaurants, hipsters, and a few galleries.  We wandered into a pop-up exhibht and while honestly, most of the art was not especially good, this sculpture caught my eye.  
While it may not look extraordinary, when I looked closely I saw the grain of the wood it had been carved from.  Incredible!  I would have bought it for one of my baseball-playing grandsons, but it was slightly beyond my budget.

Here was another amusing scupture.  The porcelain brushes were sold individually or as an installation. 

Went down to the pier on the waterway and watched the yachts and motorboats for a while. Across the water, Palm Beach.

This picture is fuzzy because the building was so far away.  But I had to take it becuase I love the name of this bank.  Fifth Third???? 
Finally, dinner at City Place: a delicious insalata pescatore!  Perfect weather for people-watching and relaxing -- and a yummy way to end the day.
Now, time to go read one of those books I bought this morning...

a good day for sewing

Raining again, and 57 degrees F.   I have spent most of the day thinking about sewing and a bit of it actually sitting at the machin...