Saturday, February 4, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York.

The sky is a brilliant blue today and the sun is shining.  Alas, that sunshine has some fierce competition from strong breezes, and the temperature is definitely below freezing.  It's a good day to spend some hours indoors in blog land.

Current events here and around the world have continued with twists and turns since my last post.  Thank you all for your visits and comments.  Although I have not been to any additional marches, I have been keeping close attention on the news, and have watched many Senate confirmation hearings regarding Presidential Cabinet appointees.  I have been calling and writing to my Senators and Congressional Representative.  Many of my friends have been doing likewise.

Perhaps it is not too late to wish you all a Happy Lunar New Year!


A friend sent me this tiny Almanac whose pages are filled with daily advice about what is Good and what is Bad.  I am greatly enjoying turning to it for guidance.

To thank my friend for the gift, I painted her a card with a Fire Rooster image for 2017.  My birth year designates me an Earth Rooster.


While indoors watching the Senate committee hearings, I have also been making progress on my striped socks.  The sock on the right with the red, white and blue needles is all done except for the tricky Kitchener stitch bit that with close up the sock's toe.  I need to concentrate a lot to manage that maneuver.  It will require a quiet, well lit place.


I'm including the following photo of a pretty green doorway that I saw in the Chelsea neighborhood, so that all the pictures in the post won't have been taken indoors.  The doorway qualifies as a city view.


My current tower of books borrowed from The New York Society Library are a rather eclectic bunch.  The following book is a 50th anniversary edition of a beautiful nursery rhyme book.  I had never known of this book during my childhood, and was introduced to it via the Instagram site of a fine artist named Debbie George.  I recommend both the book and Debbie's site to you all.


I've just finished reading the following detective novel.  It's quite a long book, and the plot has many layers.  Not all of the police are innocents.


This is the third time that I have borrowed the Springsteen autobiography.  I don't want to read its pages too quickly.  Bruce is just a bit younger than I am, but close enough in age that it is easy to identify with much of what he writes about.


I will be starting to read this new Margaret Drabble novel later today, with hopes of finishing it by Monday, so as to be able to return it to the Library.  Once again, the author and I are very close in age, and that has added to my appreciation of her previous books.


Just for fun on a chilly February afternoon, I thought I would show you all this pool picture.  I wish that I could see the upcoming Hockney show at the Tate.  


It's about 3 p.m. now, and I think I might venture outdoors for a very short walk.  I wish you all an excellent weekend.  It's my hope to be posting here again soon.

44 comments:

  1. You have been reading some interesting books, Frances. I love the book of nursery rhymes, and had a similar one when I was a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elizabeth, I love being able to find such a variety of books at the library. All I need to do is to carry them home on the crosstown bus. xo

      Delete
  2. I enjoy your beautifully written posts so much and am finally making a comment to tell you so.
    The books all sound quite interesting, thank you for writing about them. I will probably put them on my reserve list at the library. May even buy that Rooster year book.
    Have a lovely week,
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Mary. I am not sure where my friend found that little almanac, possibly in NYC's Chinatown, or perhaps it was actually bought in China. xo

      Delete
  3. Your rooster is perfectly lovely Frances. One of my students whose graduation I attended a couple of weeks ago wrote today to tell me that she has been 'embraced by the happily celebrating atmosphere' of the Chinese new year on returning to China this week! I think we may specially need right now the comfort, reassurance and grounding connection of the good books and friendships you describe here. Sending you good wishes xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to hear from you, dear Karen. I completely agree with what you've written about what is particularly important right now. (I think that Fire Rooster years are thought to have turbulence.) xo

      Delete
  4. I love the Chinese almanac. I think I am a fire rabbit. Let us know how you liked the books Frances. I am afraid I am getting dementia as often, I can't even remember the title or author of books I am reading. I've wondered if maybe I should switch to daytime reading instead of reading in bed. Still having a hard time finding books I want to finish. Love those socks. Wonderful designs. Isn't the year of the rooster a tumultuous time? With Trump and the last three unknown asteroids buzzing by, I am beginning to worry;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, I've finally started writing down which books I am actually finishing this year...in my little red notebook. When I was riding the subway to and from work, I would always read during that "captive" time. Now, I catch the reading time when I can.
      Yes, I think you are right about the Fire Rooster. xo

      Delete
  5. great to hear from you.I have been a Margaret Drabble for many,many years.I look forward to hearing what you think about this book.Barbarax

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Promise to let you know about the MD novel. I was fortunate to meet her at a reading she did about 15 years ago over here promoting her then new novel.
      We found we shared an affection for a small Italian restaurant in Notting Hill, and traded some correspondence. The restaurant closed up when the couple who owned it decided to retire. xo

      Delete
  6. Gorgeous rooster! Off to look up Margaret Drabble. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Wilma. It was fun to get out the paints and play around a bit it fire-y colors. I wanted to keep the rooster a friendly sort of bird.
      You might want to start with MD's early novels just to see how her writing developed. Her sister A.S. Byatt is also a fine author. xo

      Delete
  7. I love your rooster! How darling! In the Chinese horoscope, I am a Wood Rabbit. I feel I'm probably safest burrowing into a hole in a year like this! 🐰

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, it's fun to peek at the almanac's advice and see how something that not to be done on a Monday, might be a very wise move on Tuesday. I am imagining a wood rabbit a a little brown bunny who knows how to survive. xo

      Delete
  8. Some of my favorites in this post! I think I've read all of Margaret Drabble's books. But this one is new to me. And I, too, wish I could see Hockney's show at the Tate. I went to his show a couple of years ago at the De Young Museum in SF. Wonderful show. Love your rooster and your pile of books, but especially love that blue door!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I will report back on this new MD novel when I've finished it. I saw that Hockney landscape exhibit at London's Royal Academy and have followed his career since way back.
      Yes, I couldn't resist the brilliant color of that door! xo

      Delete
  9. Apparently I'm a Metal Rat.
    I was looking forward to visiting the Hockney show at some point. Though the publicity for it has been a bit like a bulldozer, including The Sun newspaper's masthead being swapped for a version Hockney drew on his iPad. Just a one day stunt and the logo was drawn a few years ago as part of another project in which artists did a take on famous brands. At the time Hockney refused to allow The Sun to use it, but it seems all publicity is good for his upcoming show at the Tate. That's the Tate who have a branch in Liverpool, a city where even a mention of that newspaper will get you kicked into the river Mersey. Needless to say Hockney has got a bit of a verbal lashing for this ... probably his PR team are too young to be aware but memories are long up North and Hockney is either stirring things up on purpose or turning off his hearing aid. At least it's a storm in a tea cup compared to the President and his tweets.
    Hope your almanac helps guide you on a good path through the coming year.
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Celia, when I read that report of The Sun masthead, I wondered what you would make of it. Yes, it seems a very odd paper for DH to do a deal with. He certainly doesn't need to, so maybe he is giving the pot a stir. Decades ago, I went to hear him give a lecture at the Met, and when it came time for a few questions, I am sure that he'd turned the hearing aid way down.
      There's a front page article in today's NY Times about increasing troubles at my old workplace the Met. I'll send it to you.
      The tiny almanac is very amusing, but may prove helpful as well. xo

      Delete
  10. I have rather too many books on the go at the moment Frances, I picked up two Ian McEwens at the charity shop yesterday, on top of two library books, and a travel book on Moscow and a city map of Moscow, all these latter ones on loan from the library. I am also reading a Jeffrey Archer and Paul Theroux travelling through Africa. (Now that I am working a three day week I thought I had better get a project on the go which is to study Moscow this being the 100 anniversary of the Russian Revolution). The Hockney exhibition is the fastest selling tickets the Tate Brit has ever had. I had better get mine. I have read all of Margaret Drabble going back to when I was 17. I must say she is a good writer but I have liked her less in my later years. I don't know if it is me or her. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I enjoyed seeing you back again.xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rachel, I know you will be filling up you newly arranged additional free time very quickly. It's great to always be surrounded by a feast of interests! I forgot to mention another book on my tower. It's Tirzah Garwood's autobiography, bought at Persephone Books back in December.

      I like the sound of your Moscow project. There is so much to learn, and this is an excellent time to dig into that city's long story.

      Yes, I also liked earlier MD books best. This one seems to be about a woman examining her life from the vantage point of advancing years. It might turn out to be too close to thoughts swirling round my own head nowadays, but I'll just take it page by page.

      If I do figure out a way to get over to the UK to see the Hockney show, I will let you know. It's unlikely I will make that journey, but maybe I will....

      You might enjoy having a look at Celia's comment above and my reply.

      Good to hear from you and good to visit over at your place, too. xo

      Delete
  11. I am also a Margaret Drabble fan - but I'm a bit behind on her novels - I will need to catch! I am also now writing down all the books that I've read this year - so far there have been a lot of Donna Leon mysteries - the "Lewis Trilogy" by Peter May and
    The Mandibles - an American Family" by Lionel Shriver.

    A friend just returned from a long weekend in NY and we are all quite envious - she walked though the Park, went to the MOMA and the ballet - and even managed a bit of shopping.

    I managed a bit of a walk this morning and picked up some groceries but it is a grey, damp day in Toronto so I think it will be a cup of tea and another book to get through the afternoon.

    Have a lovely week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margie, good to hear from you. I also enjoy Donna Leon's mysteries and to imagine that I am in Venice! Thank you for those two other book suggestions.
      Your friend experienced a bit of our NYC weather variety. I am glad she was able to have a walk in the Park. MOMA is always fun (my membership just expired, and I am debating whether/when to renew...I'll wait until some particularly interesting exhibits are scheduled. Hoping to get to this season's ballet. Always so much to do!
      xo

      Delete
    2. I am also a Donna Leon fan. She cant write them quickly enough for us!

      Delete
  12. Nice to read your post...I m sorry my bad english I d like write more...I see about Chinese year...today a good news that Jud no acept about stop musulmans enter in USA from Trump...hope a good week for you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gabri, I like receiving your comments very much. We will need to be watching the news this week...it is difficult to predict what will develop next. xo

      Delete
  13. Some good book´s there, I would really love to read Bruce Springsteen biography! Always so nice visiting your lovely and interesting blog Frances...
    Have a lovely monday!
    Titti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Titti, and thanks for your comments. I recommend the Springsteen book...he is not just a song Writer! There is also an audio version in which Bruce reads his book to you. xo

      Delete
  14. Dearest Francis,
    your blog is like a breath of fresh spring air on a cold dank February day! I shall try to remember to get ahold of that beautiful nursery rhyme book. Bruce's memoirs too, I would like to learn more about his story.
    The socks look perfect, a beautiful way to warm one's toes on cold winter nights.
    Warm greetings from Vienna,
    Merisi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merisi, thank you for your visit and kind words. I finished those socks this afternoon, just in time for the ca. 10 inches of snow that's predicted for tomorrow morning! That snow will give me motivation for a another walk around the neighborhood. (Do check out Bruce's bio...I think you'll like it.) xo

      Delete
  15. Hi Frances, I share your admiration for the artist Debbie George and have seen several of her original paintings which are even nicer in the flesh. She had some paintings in the gift shop accompanying the Sussex Modernism exhibition, they are so lovely!
    I have been thinking about trying to knit a pair of socks but doubt my ability to do the shaping at the heel and toe.
    Roll on Spring and better walking weather. I think I already told you how much I like your rooster. Happy Lunar New Year to you. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you to have seen Debbie's paintings up close. I so wish to be able to see both that Sussex Modernism show and the Vanessa Bell exhibit. And the Hockney, and a few more besides. Seems like I was just in London...but seems like I want to go back. (Might be because of the daily news over here.)
      If you do take up sock knitting I recommend Ann Budd's book, Knitting Socks. It completely demystified the turning of the heel and some other sock stuff. And...of course, I'd be happy to answer any questions. xo

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the tip Frances, I might have to add to my book collection. Keep warm! X

      Delete
  16. Hi Frances, The style of the artist on the book "Lavender" is one which I love. I find my storybook library filled with similar artwork.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeri, the book is so beautiful! Knowing that my fabulous New York Society Library will always have it ready for me to borrow is all that keeps me from wanting to buy my own copy. My bookshelves are overflowing! xo

      Delete
  17. Love seeing what you're reading . . . and knitting. Current events g=have sent me in search of comfort reads. And I'm embroidering as I can't knit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki, I truly need more hours in each day! I finished the socks yesterday and think my next project might be a lacy shawl sort of thing in a very fine alpaca yarn. Today, I'll be painting some Valentines, and making a curry, while keeping an eye on an impressive snow fall.
      (I've also got ideas percolating for several embroidery projects.) xo

      Delete
  18. I have a very battered and well read 50 year old copy of Lavenders Blue from my childhood (my daughters loved it too 20 years ago) Sarah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, that's grand to hear! It is such a beautiful book that would enhance any childhood. To have all those rhymes together...and those pictures to look at again and again.

      Delete
  19. Love your beautiful painted rooster, Frances! And your books all look very interesting...I used to love Margaret Drabble novels but haven't read any for a while. Your knitting always looks wonderful...I have never knitted socks but would like to try. Have a happy weekend and keep cosy.
    Helen xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your compliments, Helen! I am going to be painting some Valentines today...it's still really cold today after yesterday's snowstorm and amazing overnight howling wind.
      If you are curious about sock knitting, I really recommend Ann Budd's Knitting Socks. It was my key to that particular kingdom. xo

      Delete
  20. I'll be interested to hear what you thought of the Margaret Drabble book as it is one I've thought about reading. I hope you've stayed warm and dry after the snow this week... maybe with some cosy socks to keep your feet warm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gina, I confess that I'd borrowed more books than I could read by their due dates at the Library. MD's novel has been returned to my reserve request list. I'm now enjoying the Bruce Springsteen autobiography.
      Finished the wooly striped socks in time for the snow and its afterchill.
      Ahhh, update. The special GoodFood issue finally turned up at Barnes & Noble and I bought it. I'm still exploring the concepts and recipes, and think it won't be long before I experiment with some new menus. Thank you for inspiring me. xo

      Delete
  21. Those socks are gorgeous!
    I am so impressed with all the marchers. Kudos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra! Using the self-striping yarn makes knitting socks easier and more fun. This time of the year I usually knit one more pair for myself, after making some gift socks before Christmas.
      I think there will be lots more ways to get involved this year. More motivation daily.

      Delete