Monday, June 30, 2008

The Grey Scrubber on the move

Having had a number of days finding it difficult to get going or motivated today my inner "grey scrubber" emerged and I was able to achieve a lot in between providing moral and practical support for Margie.
The hall cupboard was my initial point of attack. Sorting through papers and accumulated valued treasures has in a way become a summer break activity. I think I made some of the tough decisions- how many AUSSIE folders do I possibly need? How long does one keep a piece of work which is inherently useful but never been used or even thought about over the past two years? and so the decisions kept being made in between doing the washing. Great idea to use the microwave timer to keep me up to speed with when each cycle was finished.
Having completed the washing and located some more clothes to be put in the recycle bin in the laundry, and what a liberating thing having the recycle bin in the laundry is- no longer clinging to those items that were either bad decisions in the first place or just don't work in my wardrobe any more, or fit either the wardrobe or me!, I decided to have a bit of a cleaning break and call Margie as she was heading home today.
She was really appreciative of my contact as she had someone to chat with while she put her travel items together and cleaned out the fridge in preparation for the journey home and her "visitors". I did something I'd never do at home. I made a cup of tea and took it down in the elevator to her apartment- saved her dishes and preparation.
We chatted she packed and I sipped my tea and then "helped" clear out her fridge by taking the left overs that would only have gone off and had to be thrown out! We made our farewells wishing each other happy journeys.
Back at the apartment the cupboard had more cleaning out to be done. What does one do with packets of labels that may be useful- they must be useful given that Sue gave them to me for my new printer. Then my cell phone rings and it's Margie wondering if I had taken her keys accidentally. I checked around the things I had brought back to the apartment-I even checked in the fridge! No keys so I went back down to Margie's to provide moral support and an extra pair of eyes. I knw what it's like- you put something down and have no idea where and have to retrace your steps and hope that you locate the thing. So we went on a hunt in drawers, under things, through suitcases and bags and then I noticed an envelope she had put aside to return another tenants keys and asked what was in it- it felt a bit heavier than a small set of keys. Sue enough she had put her own keys in the envelope too- Celia to the rescue.
Hugs and farewells ..... again- back to the apartment and then the "grey scrubber" tackled the fridge. Well overdue but it is so sparkling now that I can rest easy when our "visitors" come to stay.
All that activity seemed to tucker me out so the odd rest on the couch and a quick trip to the shops for some essentials and the grey scrubber rested!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting started....

Ah Saturdays!!! Even when you are on holidays Saturdays are special. Making the coffee and cooking toast gathering it all together and sitting at the table to read the Saturday papers. Today was no exception. Opening the door of the apartment and getting the paper is a small thing but it is such simple indulgence and ever so enjoyable. Depending on what catches my eye the "trip" through the paper can vary today an article about the new American Girl movie moved me around the paper whose layout I loathe. I hate the fact that rarely does one get a whole story on one page. This doesn't indicate that the stories are long merely that they put a little taster in about everything and then you have to hunt through the paper remembering the title of the piece or which section you are actually in in the first place so that you can find the correct page number and then end of the article.
That being said there are sections I'm drawn to including the Metro section that has quirky information about different parts of NYC.
The rest of my day can drift or go downhill but at least I have started it with something soothing and stimulating.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I was just relaxing- "kicking back" gazing from Sue's window out to the world around and below.
Looking across to the sliver building which Sue finds so irritating because it is blocking out her view of the river and at the moments looks so ugly but it is quite startling to see from street level.
It was also quite startling to see the workers doing their work. Not the fact that they were working more how they were doing it. The kneeling worker actually has a safety harness , initially I didn't think he did but the Mr White shirt was on the level below trying to sort out something they were working on and then appears with the kneeling worker and bends down and leans over . I think he is holding on to a pipe on the side but it's a bit like the line from Monty Python "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" that is no one expects to fall but if one doesn't take serious precautions. This guy is playing with danger I reckon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I seem to have become a member of the safety police. Not that I’m doing any policing just documenting things I happen to see from our 37th Floor windows.
I was taking in the air (and probably the pollutants) on our balcony the other morning. A lovely crisp summer morning, some cloud providing cool coverage and a gentle breeze. Perfect for gazing out across Manhattan and watching the world at work.
Over at the World Plaza they were hard at work cleaning the building or repairing it or something that involved using a gondola to move down the side of the building.
As I watched (and quickly rushed to get it all on film) worker #1 climbed over the edge of the building while worker #2 kept the gondola and #1’s safety harness steady.

Then it was #2’s turn.
How can someone do what he did? What goes through their mind as they sit up on the ledge then swing their leg over and lower themselves down, toes seeking the top edge of the frame then on tippy-toes climbing down to the next level?
The worker #1 was busy down the other end of the gondola getting something from worker #3 oblivious to the fact that the same care needed to be taken. #2 climbed down without a spotter making sure that his harness and or worse, he didn’t come adrift.
What will this safety officer spot next?!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let the holidays begin!

What better way to start the holidays than head for MoMA and a day of taking myself wherever I end up.
It is Tuesday and a lovely fine sunny day- crisp and cool to start- no humidity, lovely. The walk to MoMA is very pleasant a few blocks and a great stop at the American Craft Museum shop to add to the gifts for family and friends when I get home.
Morning tea- a hot dog from the amazing hot dog vendor. Not sure if he is the one I spotted the other week "heading for work" but at that time of day he is very enthusiastic. He has his music blaring and beats a rhythm with the side of his tongs, thinking about it perhaps not the most hygienic instruments for food but effective percussion.
He was so enthusiastic with his maintenance of the rhythm that finding a beat that allowed him to get the hot dog out of the hot water and into the bun proved a challenge but he rose to the occasion and I had my hot dog sitting in the shade opposite MoMA watching the hot dog sales occur and observing the passing parade.
Replete with hot dog I headed in to MoMA only to be told it's closed today- my reply "It's Tuesday isn't it? I knew that!" Which I did- MoMA is closed on Tuesdays! That was not a problem- plenty of other things to do walked up and looked at the changes they are making ot the branch of the New York Public Library- interesting to see what happens and I hope the teen collection comes back there but we'll see- I must go on to the library website and check out the details.
A short walk to 5th Avenue to Barnes and Noble- I need holiday reading and had been perusing the NY Times book lists so had a bit of an idea. I now have the new Janet Evanovich- Fearless Fourteen and an eclectic mix of books to read over the coming weeks.
The journey home was equally event filled. I decided lunch was necessary so walked along 44th Street to Times Square and thought I'd have lunch in the bar overlooking the Square but couldn't work out what hotel it was so went to the 8th floor of the Marriott. Turns out if I had walked through where I ended up I would have been where I wanted but that's no problem . I sat at a table and looked at the menu and waited for the server. And waited and waited. Got my book out and waited. Pointedly checking around. I was tempted to stand up and shout my order to the cluster of wait staff standing and chatting at the kitchen thingy area. Eventually a woman came to clear behind me and walked past- I caught her eye- and attention- when I asked "Am I in a dead zone here?" Her expression indicated that she didn't find it amusing and that it was more likely her area to service. It was and I did get lunch but it was a bit of a wait. But I had my book and was completely happy really.
Getting home I collapsed on the counch and.... read my book. Oh the joy of holidays!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catching up

The stressors of work are easing off and I find I have more time to get things caught up. And so today I was able to make the most of the day and scrap my day away.
I have been so far behind in the Debbie Hodge scrap booking challenges and everyday life pages that I had 5 classes to catch up on. Perhaps I am not as far behind as some but I have finally managed to put time aside to do the "work". I t really isn't work as such more brain space and time to think about something different and differently.
I used some of my photos from the Route 66 trip for the page parts challenge so my Route 66 album is coming together nicely. I also got this page done about the sight I saw from the window of a school in Harlem.
The sight of laundry hanging three floors up and between building always intrigues me. I happened to still have my handbag (and camera )with me so decide to seize the moment and get the shot. Just as I stopped to have another look at the scene the toddler appeared talking to her/his mom, they disappeared then reappeared and s/he sat down and strummed the child sized guitar. What a great way to bring in the washing being serenaded.
And so I have had a day of reminiscing my trips and the sights I've seen.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bike/ Skate Ramp

The usual walk from the R station in Woodside, Queens- I ring Michele as I'm walking along the path between the middle school sports "field" and the Projects Apartments. At the end of the "lane" there is the dumper area for the apartment building at the end of the cul de sac that is that part of 45th St.
I was walking along talking to Michele and noticed two doors propped on a packaging pallet in the middle of the dead end. They were perfectly aligned for skateboards/cyclists to use as a trick ramp.
So a bit of juggling on my part phone in one hand as I grapple and fumble into my handbag and get the camera out and one-handed take a range of angles of the improvised ramp still talking with Michele in Australia. The wonders of modern technology really!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The country girl

It hadn't been my intention to see this play as it's review hadn't been all that fantastic but the draw card really was Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand. I hadn't realized that Peter Gallagher was in it too.
Julia organized the tickets and we were sitting in the 3rd row in the orchestra- in spitting distance of the action if at a fairly acute angle.
To see Morgan Freeman demonstrate his craft at such close quarters was fantastic. The theatre had a few empty seats which was a pity and doesn't bode well for the run of the play.
I didn't really enjoy the story but the actors were fabulous. The range of conniving and mood shifts in many cases ever so subtly that Morgan Freeman made in his role was a joy to watch. The subtlety of his drunkenness was truly realistic.
Frances Mc Dormand played her role with great finesse, and sympathy for her in staying with her husband (Morgan Freeman) was gradually developed with the understanding of his foibles. Peter Gallagher was forceful, supportive and nasty in turn.
The fact that it was a play about an actor and a play made it doubly interesting for me. So thanks to Julia I had yet another great night at the theatre.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New York Scribblers

When our illustrious group started, three of us, it was intended to get us writing more so that we could legitimately share our struggles with writing with our teachers and our students. Margie wasn't too keen to start with (yet another demand on our time) but when I said we could actually use our "meeting" time to write she was a tad more enthusiastic and famously (within our circle anyway) said "Okay, so long as we are called the New York Scribblers- like my grandmother had in Brisbane." She then went on to suggest "Perhaps we could have our final event for the year at The Algonquin!" We, Julia and I loved it. Not only did we have a name but we had a celebration planned even before we had written anything.
And so we headed to The Algonquin tonight for our end of year celebration. We have only had three meetings! We sat at our table chatted-and we each had a cocktail- I had to have a Parker and then we all were going to have the DP burgers but decided instead on the quesadillas. After dinner we wrote for over 30 minutes in our notebooks- absolute drivel on my part but it was great fun, we walked home having set the date for our first meeting in September when we return to NYC. I suggested that perhaps we try writing in between but Margie was horrified at my changing of the ground rules!
So despite getting ourselves established as a group we are a far cry from the The Algonquin Round Table the much celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Like us they initially gathered in part as a joke, they dubbed themselves "The Vicious Circle," and gathered for lunch each day at the The Algonquin from 1919 until roughly 1929. At these luncheons they engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country. Dorthy Parker we are not but one gets one's inspiration from somewhere and at least we have set up our own table albeit a small low(brow) rectangular one!

Monday, June 16, 2008

An "A" Experience

Despite the "S" on this train it is an "A" train. All year travelling to two of my schools I walk down to 44th Street and catch the express "A" train. The short schlep to 44th St is to avoid changing trains- that is go from 50th St on the "C" and then change at 59th to the A or merely chug along all the way on the "C".
If I get the "A" at about 7:40 from 44th St there is usually this wonderful humorous and clear speaking conductor.
He is bright and breezy in the way he announces the stops and invites all passengers to have an "A" experience on the train.
Today his parting greeting to passengers at each stop was to have "an optimistic day". Other times he has said thing like "Have beautiful and unique weekend."
My scrap booking class with Debbie Hodge has a photo a day challenge as part of the scrap your everyday life and so armed with the thought that this was part of my everyday I prepared myself for the stop at 168th St and had my camera out of the bag and in hand. This was a complex maneuver a I had my work bag , handbag and camera to manage as well as avoiding getting crushed and thrown about by the throng of commuters exiting.
Safely on the platform I moved out of the surging throng and strolled to the conductor 's "window" . Having taken his photo I thanked him for the great start to the day- he grinned and nodded and set shut the train doors so that the "A" experience train could continue to the Bronx.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bag sellers

A highlight of living in midtown is the variety of "incidents" one may encounter.
Passing through the back end of the Crowne Plaza Hotel "drive through" makes a shortcut between 48th and 49th and at the moment there is construction work going on in the building and the car driveway is blocked off.
Throughout the streets of NYC there are back room illegal sellers of watches, handbags or probably anything you may want or have never wanted. Today as I walked through on my way to the #1 train there skulking around the corner was a bag seller. He had the requisite reinforced large cardboard box- reinforced with packaging tape. He had taken from inside the box was the large white cloth holding the bags for sale. The group of women were fossicking through the items for sale making a selection.
I felt a bit like an undercover cop trying to get the photo but it is a sight one sees on many street corner and I'm glad I captured it.
Just around the corner on the corner of Broadway and 49th Street there was an "established" stall selling similar if not the same bags- legally and probably for the same price.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Keeping cool

It's hot outside and we have resorted to the air conditions and now it is a great temperature to be making the most of the day. What better way to beat the heat than to do a bit of scrapbooking. I'm making a valiant effort to catch up on my classes. I have finally uploaded my pages for the challenges on the Part Parts Class that I'm doing (if a tad slowly) with Debbie Hodge. I do enjoy her classes as they have so much to offer and she is an incredible thinker and is amazingly generous in that she is prepared to share so much of her work, ideas and life.

Before I could honestly get to work though I really needed to sort through stuff and managed to make an incredible mess about it. What is it about tidying up that one needs to create an amazing disarray before one actually achieves the tidy environment. I have accumulated a lot of stuff but Sue's comment that "perhaps you could postpone buying more paper until you've used some of this lot up!" shows how little she understands scrapbooking!!! I might need something at some stage for some page and one needs to be able to choose from a wide array!

Having got all the stuff sorted and bits thrown out that are junk I was able to settle to work on three different layouts. I've managed to upload them all but two of them are in the wrong spots but hopefully none will realize and will just admire the work for what it is! I'm in no danger of people finding out from here as I don't think anyone bothers to read these entries but they are good for me to think about what I've done.

I decided I could include my page about the dunes tour we did in Cape Cod. I'm quite pleased with the page as it shows not only the dunes but the parts of the dunes that make them so special.

Now all I need do is get the daily life pages done! I'm only 2 lessons behind with them and tomorrow a new page parts lesson will be out. I must be nuts but I do enjoy it all. Nothing better than slicing up a bit of paper or trimming down a photo to its most important parts.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Traveling to the Professional Development day in Brooklyn I was able to catch the N train. Yes! It's express and so much faster than the R but then everything is so much faster than the R! The other joy of traveling on the N is that it goes over Manhattan Bridge so one gets to be in the daylight for a short while.
Some people make the most of the time in so far as using their cell phones. Checking messages and seemingly telling their loved ones they'll be home soon or later or whatever.

But it would seem that some people cannot even find the enthusiasm to even look up let alone look out the window of the train. The wonderful view that one gets as one travels across the Manhattan Bridge is a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I love the view- it doesn't matter whether it is day or night, sunny or cloudy, raining or merely misty the Brooklyn Bridge dominates the view and is such a strong symbol of New York City. If it's a crisp clear day one can even see the Statue of Liberty. But perhaps people on their way to work on Thursday morning just couldn't see beyond the prospects for their day but for me it was a grand start to the day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday in the park

It was Mary's birthday last week. We were all out of town in different locations. Sue and I were in Cape Cod and Mary and Leonie were in Santa Fe. They made a big trip for Mary's birthday making the most of the time and being in the US.
So the celebration for the birthday was today.
A picnic in the park. What a grand idea. Sue and I traveled on the F train to 7th Avenue and then walked to Mary and Leonie's apartment.
Once the great purple trolley was filled we all (Sue, Mary, Leonie, Sheena, Alan and Sandra and I) walked along 7th Avenue to Prospect Park. I am ashamed to say that this is the first time I have walked though the park to any extent. It is gloriously wild and has such a feeling of wide open spaces in the heart of Brooklyn.

The choice of location for the actual eating part of the picnic took a little longer than I thought it would but it was worth it. It was such a lovely day, and thousands of other New Yorkers agreed with us. There were people picnicking, playing with Frisbees, walking dogs, lying in the sun, lying in the shade, sitting in the sun, sitting in the shade- the list and variation of activity could go on and on.

We found the perfect spot- some felled trees which meant logs to roll into place for seats and a large piece of wood that could serve as a table top. Unfortunately it was in the sun so the side of the felled trunk served as the table and we sat around in the shade making the most of the great picnic fare.

It really was quite hot in the sun so we had a rathr idle time chatting and perfecting the world from our perspective.

Alan was the only bloke with us but managed to enjoy the time by wandering off at one stage to get some different photos of people doing much the same as we were doing.
We walked back across the park and Sue and I split off from the group and caught the subway home. We both had things we wanted to get done!
But what a gorgeous way to spend Sunday in the park with friends .