Monday, October 20, 2014

New York City, Chapter three

We are trying to do things this trip that we haven't done before so went down to the Lower East Side for lunch at Katz's deli. We had planned to take the train to Rhinebeck today and meet Doug's aunt Rena but got rained out, so Rena took the train down and spent the day with us. We all ordered the pastrami on rye and agreed that was probaby what Sally ordered. We tried to get a tour of the Tenement Museum but they were booked until the afternoon when Dougie and Rena were going to see Hedweg and the Angry Inch.
Instead took the subway up to Roosevelt Island, home of the New York Lunatic Asylum until the abuses there were exposed by Nellie Bly when she went undercover there for ten days, reported it in the newspaper and also wrote a book, saying if you weren't crazy when you got there, you soon would be. Bye bye asylum. The building languished and was torn down in the 60s, but the dome was incorporated into one of the luxury condominiums that now fill the island. That's Manhattan across the East River.
The public art in the subways is spectacular. My son Matt is a tile setter and has recently turned his hand at mosaic tile art so I was taking pictures and texting them to him. This was from about a 12' mural at the 12th Street Station. I later found a webside of NYC public subway art and sent it to him so now I'm free to enjoy the art without taking photographs. Bigify to see the impressive details.
We also took the train under the East River to Brooklyn to visit the MTA Transit Museum. The marvels of public transportation here are inventive and mind boggling.
I thought this parking lot mind boggling and inventive too, though I don't understand how it works. I posted this picture to Facebook and our friend Diana, who is a LA city planner, commented that they're trying to incorporate these into their city.
We finished that day by taking the Staten Island ferry which is free. We went over, disembarked, turned right around and filed back on with all the jostling hoards and were quickly underway again - most efficient and really very interesting.
We went right by Lady Liberty as we expected.

We didn't expect an intermittent Coast Guard armed escort. Check out the guy in the prow with his hand on a 50 caliber machine gun. I've since learned that this is standard ever since 9/11, which seems a little like closing the barn door after the horse got out.
The view of the city on return was breath taking. We were fortunate that the rain had stopped. I can't blog again until I find some WiFi so I can upload the photos from my phone. We don't have WiFi in the apartment so I am using my phone as a hotspot. When is a cell phone not a cell phone? When it's a hot spot!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New York City, Chapter two

Sunday was my birthday so when Ian and Kerry walked down for breakfast bagels, they bought a black and white cookie for my birthday cake. This is a common bakery item in Jewish delis and the subject of a Seinfeld episode. Kramer kept asking, is it a cake or is it a cookie?
Ian's son Doug flew in late the night before so after we walked Kerry to the Port Authority, we went to the Chelsea Market and took a walk on the High Line, which is a city park from a reclaimed elevated railroad. It was a holiday weekend, Columbus Day which is really big here with all the Italians, and a beautiful day. There were lots of walkers.
Water towers are part of the city silhouette and required for fire protection on buildings above a certain height.
Our afternoon plans were A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, the delightful Tony-winning musical. We came out of the theater to hear a free concert in Time Square in progress. Robert Delong, an "electronic" musician was playing and he was followed by Jane's Addiction. It was fun but loud and Ian and I were tired, so left Dougie who wanted to finish the concert. We were surprised to enjoy Robert Delong but Perry, Jane's Addiction lead singer, isn't singing so well these days and one song was enough for us.
Our plans have been very loose, other than our matinee play tickets. Dougie wanted to see the police museum on Wall Street, which is a area we haven't been to yet. Right across from it is Freedom Hall which is where Washington was inaugerated and was America's first capitol building. Check out the men in suits on the top step.
That's Trinity Church at the end and the large builing on the left is the stock exchange, kitty-corner from Freedom Hall.
The original church was built by the British and was Anglican. It was destroyed by fire twice and the current church was erected in the 19th century. I had only seen it from a distance in the past and had no idea that it is so big.
The church cemetery is a who's who of American history and is where Alexander Hamilton was bured after his fateful duel with Aaron Burr. I'm not sure how being dead defended his honor. I guess it's a guy thing.
We ended the day by taking the subway up to Zabar's for cheesecake and passed this shop. There are little dogs and dog walkers everywhere we go. This shop caters to those owners. Only in Manhattan!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New York City!

We arrived at La Guardia about midnight last Tuesday and took a cab to where we're staying on the Hudson River. This was the view that greeted us the next morning. It's fun to just sit here and watch the ships going up and down the river.
We didn't have anything planned for Wednesday so went to Herald Square for lunch at a Korean Fusion restaurant where we've eaten twice before - still just as good as ever. And of course, since we were right there, it seemed a shame to not visit the mothership of Macy's, right across the street - well, almost right across the street. And then since we were so close to the Garment District, it seemed a shame to not visit Mood. I've like the t-shirts I made from unusual knits bought there in the past so thought I'd pick up a couple more pieces. However, once I saw this zebra print, it's the one I wanted. Actually, it was the only one I could afford since it was the bottom of Just Cavelli's line at $25 a yard. It was sold by the pattern instead of yard, so I either could buy 1 1/4 yards or 2 - $50! So that's how I spent the money I just made selling wool and soap the day before we left!
Thursday afternoon we walked over to the Port Authority from the Time Square transfer station to meet the bus friend our Kerry took in from Pennsylvania. There is no way to describe how massive the Bus Terminal is. It's all underground with more than 200 gates, serving all the Eastern Seaboard. Think of it - each bus holds 100 people and each gate has multiple busses every hour. This is the George Segal sculpture at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Pretty telling.

Friday we took the subway to the top of Manhattan to visit the Cloisters, the Metropolitan's museum of Medieval art.
The whole NW corner of the island is Tyrone Park, a gift to the city from John D. Rockefeller, one of the Met's most beneficient patrons. When you're there, it's hard to believe you're still in the Sity. We are looking south toward Washington bridge. This area is named Washington Heights because it was Washingtons last dedoubt against the British during the Revolutionary War.
This museum is home to the famous unicorn tapestries which were my favorite exhibit. They have done a color analysis and determined that all the colors were derived from a simple palette of weld, madder and wode - yellow, red and blue. I've dabbled in using natural dyes and am astonished by the many colors and how uniform they are throughout the seven tapestries. You could easily lose an entire day here - there is so much to see.
We took the A-train and Ian said we'd get off at the 96 Street subway stop to eat at the Peruvian restaurant called Pio Pio. He has the subway pretty well figured out so was astonished as we zipped past 96 Street. We'll get off at 72 Street and just double back,, he said. When the train finally stopped at the Columbus Circle transfer station, he realized the significance of Duke Ellington's song, Take the A-Train. It's an express train to Harlem which starts about 125th Street and it's the train the exhausted Black domestics took home after working all day for minimum wage in the City.
We transferred to the 1 train and went back up to 96 Street anyway. We enjoyed Pio Pio very much. One of my aunts was a principal at a Chinese school in Lima so when I saw the Peruvian style Chinese Rice, I knew what I was going to order. Kerry has never seen the Dakota so after dinner we walked over to Central Park to Strawberry Fields. As usual, the mosiac was packed with people leaving flowers and taking photos. We followed everyone else's lead and knelt behind "Imagine." We didn't realize until later, that there's a white rose in front of each of our knees, which from a distance look like the tip of shoes. It appears that we have stubby little legs. This is something I'm sure John Lennon never imagined.
I just got my photos downloaded to my iPad from the iCloud this morning. Because I'm using my phone as a hotspot, it can't do both that and be a phone. Yesterday afternoon we used WiFi at the Grand Central Library where I was finally able to upload my pictures. Phew.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Time to Go

I picked up my warp at the guild meeting last week for the Bobby Irwin iridescence two-day workshop the end of this month. She called it a color lottery in the instructions and I think I won it. All her colors were great but I'm in love with these. She'll bring the weft yarns when she comes. This is only my second workshop and it's going to be fantastic.
I've lost interest in knitting for the moment. I have two sweaters near completion and I can't make me pick up either one, so I thought I'd return to some Kumihimo braiding to provide me with some handwork. I had bought this turquoise cord from Kareen Huntoon last year and used it with some beads I already have.
The beads are more in the lavendar colorway but I think they have enough variety to work fine - not too matchy matchy. The instructions that came with a kit that I bought from her a while ago said she provided enough thread for a 20" necklace, but that she preferred the17" length. I've made two 20" necklaces and don't wear either one - too long. This one is shorter and I think I'll actually get some use out of it.
I got a call a couple days ago from a local artist named Jan Horton. She's looking for white crimpy wool to use for "woodland" the santas she makes and her friend in Fallon gave her my phone number. I was trying to think what I had that might to suit her purpose and then I remembered this bag of Romney wool that I got from Terry Mendenhall, about eight years ago. It was from the swag that our sheep-to-shawl team received and divied up among us. I was spinning a lot at the time and planned to put this to use, though I never got past washing it.
I sent her a couple of photos and she was thrilled - said it's exactly what she has been looking for. I forgot to ask her to message me a photo but the santas are fantastic, 10" tall with faces she sculpts with Fimo clay. She'll get a lot of mustaches, beards and eyebrows from this sack of wool.
I really enjoyed meeting her and found she's a reader too so we also ended up talking about books. I showed her the bag I made for craft fairs to put my cash and phone in. She said this is something I could sell at Ryries and suggested I stop in her shop for a chat. She also bought four bars of soap and thought Ryrie would be interested in it as well. I'll follow up on that after we get home.
I was hoping the inserted eye heddles I ordered from Gowdy Reed Company in Rhode Island would have come before we leave in the morning, but no. They were just shipped Friday. I've been planning to sell my Dorset workship loom after this workshop because I can't stand the Texsolv heddles and couldn't find metal ones. Someone on the 4-Shaft group told about this company and sure enough, he has them in 8 1/2" - I'm going to have a wonderful little loom after I put those on. They'll be waiting for me when I get home.
I had my cortisone epidural Friday morning at the St Mary's outpatient surgical center. Holy Cow! It's not small deal. I had the option of sedation and was pretty happy to learn that I could opt for a local pain killer instead. I had some moderate relief within the next day. Someone from the center called to check up on my today and said that today being the third day after the injection is probably the first relief I'll feel from it, the prior relief being from the local. She said that over the next week I should experience improvement every day. I hope it's not too much to hope for being pain free and a return of full motion.
I have to finish packing and then I'll ice my neck again. So far so good with the promise of even better. We're off to NYC in the morning! I guess there are still flight delays from the fire started in a Chicago control tower but we'll get there eventually. Time to go!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Books, Books, Books

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted about books I've read and my list in GoodReads is pretty long so  I'm just going to list the ones I really enjoyed and link them to Amazon in case you want to check them out.

Billy Bowater  E.C. Hane (as in underwear)  Billy works for a good old boy Senator in North Carolina who has no problem using religion to achieve his goals, no matter what the cost.   Billy has a late-in-life epiphany.  Set in Chapel Hill and written by a politician turned novelist.  Pithy.

Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell - This is a young adult novel but then so was The Truth in our Stars and it's not just for kids.

Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts - good read for fans of Fannie Flagg.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty - What happens when a woman passes out in the gym, hits her head and when she comes to in hospital thinking it's ten years earlier and that's she pregnant?  In reality the adoring loving husband she remembers and she are in the middle of a bitter divorce. Moriarity is quickly becoming my favorite author.  She also wrote The Husband's Secret, under consideration by my book club for next years list.

Dear Committee Members, Julie Schumacher - for anyone who has ever sat on a committee.  Laugh out loud funny.

Nonfiction:

God's Hotel: a doctor, a hospital, and a pilgrimage to the heart of medicine, Victoria Sweet - set in a San Francisco hospital that treated the indigent - absolutely unforgettable.

My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff - a rookie editor in her first year working for an agency and it's most unusual client.

Yesterday was my follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon, Dr Demers.  He had reviewed both my MRI and x-rays and was very pleased.  His recommendation was that "we do a whole lot of nothing."  Huh?  What he meant is that no further surgery is required though we both know that I have "an area of concern" unrelated to the break.  He had no recommendations other than pain pills and muscle relaxants to manage the discomfort and stiff neck.  He's a surgeon, not a palliative care physician - I get that.  I requested a cortisone shot and he enthusiastically said, "We can do that! Only it won't be me, it'll be one of my colleagues."

So Friday morning I'm scheduled for one, which is about a two-hour affair.  I've only had a cortisone injection once before and that was about eight years ago for "frozen shoulder."  An MRI showed a tear and surgery was under consideration, however the shot took care of the problem completely. That's what I'm hoping from this one.  It's kind of scary this close to our NYC trip, but who's afraid of the big bad wolf?  Not me!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The State I'm In

Can you see my mistake?


How about now?

It was relatively easy to undo the bundles since I had used Texsolv for tie-up. I just popped out the plastic pin, pulled the Texsolv out of the last two bundles, and had the thread free to fix the threading error.
The threading error was a little more complicated. I held up the harness with a cone of yarn so I could insert a string heddle (in orange) on the second harness. I had threaded two heddles on the third harness. People comment to me that they've always wanted to learn to weave and I'll bet this is not the image they have in their heads.
I have warp for four scarves and until they're finished, they look like medical gauze. I'll dye them with acid dyes (for animal fibers) which means the rayon which is plant based doesn't take up the acid dye like the silk noil. It comes out looking like I watercolor painted the scarves with the bright pops of color from the silk. Weaving is not for people who require instant gratification.
I took my bins of fiber down to the kitchen while was fixing the warp. I didn't want to forget that I need to pick out fibers to blend into batts for spinning. Mim is letting me use her super-carder which is electric and holds a lot more fiber than my Deb Deluxe. I came down to find that Maddie had already been here and she has expensive taste. The only fiber she trashed was the camel, the finest fiber I own.

I pulled everything out of my bins and starting throwing stuff together and weighing it; 3-4 ounces is sufficient for a scarf.
These are the bright blends that I came home with, based on some felted silk I got from Rae Stuart.

These batts will make two scarves. I've already made two, one for me and one I sold. The scarves will look like granite when I'm done.
This is as far as I've gotten on my towel warp. I have a lot of things going on over the next five days so hope I'll be able to weave a little now and then since I've gotten this far.
We went in for my MRI this morning and I was such a nervous wreck. The last three I've had were in narrow dark tubes, the last one being sheer torture, dark, confining and noisy. My doctor gave me a Xanax for today which really relaxed me. I was stunned to see that device of torture is no longer used. It's now bright, white, short and open. My x-ray tech had an MRI of his back so his head was out of the top of the scanner and he said he just watched the trees.
It turns out that I didn't need the Xanax at all. We went to lunch afterwards and I was really a little too relaxed, but we went to Macy's to shop for New York after that and I came right to life. I'll see my doctor on Tuesday and we leave the following Tuesday.










Saturday, September 20, 2014

Just Another Day in Paradise

We were trapped in the house for about four days with the smoke from the King fire 100 miles to the southwest of us. During that period www.airnow.gov listed our area as the most toxic air in the US, thanks to atmospheric conditions. The arsonist has been arrested but meanwhile, the fire is only 10% contained and Desolation Wilderness, on the west side of Lake Tahoe, is threatened and closed to hikers. There are so many fires every year with the unrelenting drought that I wonder that anything is left to burn. Our air is better now but the fire is over 80,000 acres with nearly 5,000 firefighters. They've divided it into two zones, sharing air power, trying to establish a perimeter.
This is my second painted warp and instead of a high contrast weft, I chose to monochromatic one. I talked to Laura about it, worried that the pattern would disappear. She said I should try it, that it will be subtle but could be quite elegant.
I was disappointed at first after I finished it. The weft did disappear but I realize that the warp that I worked so hard to paint is the star on this scarf.
Here are both painted warp scarves from the same draft and they are very different. I got excited and went out into the garage to set up for more scarves, but it was just too smokey. I'll have to wait and boy do I hate to wait when I decide to do something.
I'm weaving a couple more log cabin baby towels on my 40" loom and really not loving the two-shuttle shuffle. I realized once I got started that I didn't like it last time either but love how soft they are when they're finished. I need to buckle down and finish these to clear the loom. Why?
Because this just came in the mail. It's Texsolv tie-up so I can finally use the other four harnesses. I realized while weaving these last two scarves how much I limit myself on drafts with only four harnesses. It's time to push myself a little more and I'm ready for the challenge.
And what is this you might wonder. It's a very odd two-dimensional courier bag, just big enough for my iPad, phone, credit cards and cash. I plan to use it on the subway as it's pretty pickpocket proof. It's hard to believe but we'll be in Manhattan in just 2 1/2 weeks. We planned this trip to celebrate my recovery.
It will be a year since I broke my neck on Monday the 29th and I'm having lunch with my daughter that day. I'm not cleared by my neurosurgeon yet, have some unfinished business there. This Thursday I'm scheduled for a 45-minute MRI (groan) but we're going shopping at Macy's after for trip clothes. I see my doctor on the 30th and we'll talk about further treatment options. The bad news is that the movement in my neck hasn't improved in six months; the good news is he has plans to improve that.
Just another day in paradise? That's the motto of our property owners association: Rancho Haven - just another day in paradise :)