Thursday, July 31, 2008

A short trip to Anglesea

Having decided that I should get some domestic tasks done I drove to Anglesea to pick up some of the essentials for cleaning and also have a side trip into the favourite clothing stores and to get some photos printed to scrap.
A bit of a non event really other than the purchase of the cleaning products and "the doings" for dinner.
The surfboards were the things that caught my eye as I drove in to Anglesea- more than usual- it was possibly the bright sunny day and the number of boards out on display. Driving back to Aireys Inlet the bravery or stupidity of surfers was reinforced when I stopped at a lookout and there were two surfers hoping for a wave and two others in the car park having given up I presume as they were drying off and packing their cars.
I digress.... the shopping in Anglesea was thwarted by the fact that the shops are only open on the weekend during the winter months so I had to content myself with peering in the shop windows and trying to make out what wonderful outfits I might be able to buy! I should have realised this would be the case as Michele's and my trip to Lorne last week was equally as unsuccessful with shops closed there too. The disadvantage of residing in a tourist area and trying to shop in the middle of winter.
However I was able to print some of my photos to scrapbook although I haven't been able to find any albums yet as I was unable to locate one on my journey to parts of Melbourne. Perhaps sometime over the next day or so!
Anglesea is a lovely spot but much more populous than Aireys Inlet. Their access to the beach is a lot easier than here hence the greater popularity.

I began the "Scrap Yourself" class with Debbie Hodge and did the first page of who I am now. I'm not happy with the page itself as the photo is too dark although it is one I took myself.

I have managed to adjust it on my own computer but could do it on the machine in the chemist. I'd taken the photo by resting the camera on a convenient rock and using the self-timer and then tried to find a position that would show off my whole self and Spencer too.
I uploaded the page to the gallery of Get it Scrapped but rushed getting the photo of my layout. I think it must be the cold I have that made my judgment of the whole shot to be so hopeless so it is online there and looks yucky but I have managed to get the first class completed. The problem with the photo of the layout is that it is distorted and in trying to crop it so that everyone didn't get the kitchen bench and my jumper distracting them it has become more blurred and really pale. Next time I'll do the photo in daylight hours and try not to rush!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Along the beach

Spencer just loves our walks on the beach. He doesn't look like this for very long. As soon as he makes it down these step and on to the sand he is off into the water. It's the middle of winter and the water is freezing but he doesn't seem to care at all.

Often we are the only people on the beach and quite often we make fresh footprints in the sand . He never tires of running and sniffing everything and rolling in whatever takes his fancy after which he is encouraged to have a romp in the water in the hopes of eliminating whatever it was he thought smelt great!

I'm not sure that he actually takes in the splendour of the view of lighthouse and rock and cliff face and water. I've been lucky that there have been so many sunny days but it doesn't matter whether it is sunny or not as the view is beautiful regardless. The sun enhances it but when it is stormy and waves crashing the power of the sea and the strength of the cliffs and rocks is fantastic to observe.

Getting a photo of Spencer and me on the beach was the challenge I set myself. There was a very convenient rock which when I took the photo had us at an odd angle but thanks to iphoto I managed to get us looking a little more balanced. The special necklace with plastic bag attached is of course Spencer's lead!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The hospital run

It is very leveling to spend the night at your mother's home and to experience the morning routines again. I know Maddy (as does everyone) has very decided ways of starting the day. It is interesting to observe how much that has influenced how I do things. We had a lovely breakfast of muesli, toast and vegemite and coffee. The coffee making is an interesting process. She measures out three quarters of a cup of milk and one quarter cup of water and a large scoop of ground coffee. This is in a small saucepan which she heats to near boiling and then strains out the coffee grounds. It is actually delicious and enough of a coffee hit to last an entire day.
I had dressed before breakfast and had packed my bag so was able to get the dishes washed and dried before we left.
We were going in to the Alfred Hospital for the beginning of the second batch of chemotherapy treatments. Maddy likes to travel a certain way into the hospital so the easiest and most comfortable way for us to travel was the way she liked to go. It was straightforward and easy and we were able to park in the "disabled" car space as she has a sign due to her hip replacement.

Noelle (friend of Maddy's) was in the hospital for the day for the harvesting of stem cells in the hopes of being able to try another cancer treatment. I was directed to stay and chat to Noelle which I did for a while and then went with Maddy while she had her conversation with the doctor.
I don't know that the doctor actually understood how fit Maddy is at 81- she has continued to do a couple of hours gardening during the past few weeks, hanging out the washing and managing everything about her. She was telling the doctor that she was tired and would sit in her chair for a long time each day- sort of normal behaviour one would think but she told him she is accustomed to feeling as if "she could jump out of her skin" so sitting in the chair all day is a bit slow.
We spent the next few hours doing parallel reading while she was"fed" the chemotherapy. I made the mistake of eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria. I say mistake not because the food was terrible- it was good but I sat at a table and a group of four people came to sit at too. Quite within their rights but their conversation about their friends cyst removal didn't make for very pleasant comsumption of ones lunch. I went for a walk in the park over the road from the hospital to "clear my head" and settle my stomach but the cold drove me back to the hospital.
We left the hospital at about 1:30 and drove back to Beaumaris. All went well although at one stage Maddy said "I should have asked for a plastic bag before we left the hospital". We then struggled to disconnect the plastic rubbish bag. This involved undoing my seat belt and unhooking the bag from the seat belt strap- I drove, Maddy unstrapped. We spent the remainder of the journey to the Concourse shops with Maddy clutching the plastic bag with odd bits of rubbish in it. Luckily she didn't need to avail herself of the facility the bag provided.
A quick shop for some essentials and then I dropped her back home. She seemed well considering and wants to manage things for herself- which she does.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


What have come not so much as a surprise but as more a pleasurable reawakening to are the abundance of bird life here. In my mother's garden there were lovely wattle birds and other lovely little honey eaters.
While each day here at Aireys Inlet I am awakened by kookaburras and hear them at dusk greeting the day and night alike. They have such a great call. This is what they sound like.
On the day I arrived home we had parked the car in the street near the hospital on the edge of the city centre and happened to be parked near a gum tree. As we came back to the car to leave a magpie began chortling from its perch in the tree- my two favourite bird calls ans I hear them each and every day. Magpie call
We went for a walk today and on the way managed to capture some of the beautiful wild birds that live and appear in the area.

The cockatoos can be heard wreaking havoc in the area. They can be quite a pest in that they strip the blossom or crops but their wild cries can be heard and then the huge flock of white circles the sky as they move from one feeding area to another. Michele was saying that the gum blossom scattered under the trees on part of our walk was there from the cockatoos having a "picnic" (my words) in the trees. They are remarkable birds, the ones we see most are the sulphur crested cockatoos but on our drive back to Melbourne the other day I saw a yellow faced black cockatoo- beautiful even in the swift view we had of it.
The wattle birds are fairly prolific I think- we can hear their chuck chuck and chirping call throughout the day. There are tiny wrens and other twitterings of birds that fill the air all day long.
Along the way on our walk there is a small nature reserve with water fowl and duck and there swimming around were two black swans. We watched them for a while (as did Spencer- on his leash and on point). The swans were cleaning and preening- they have white feathers under all those black feathers.

Occasionally the parrots make an appearance- a flash of green or red or blue and then they sit and drink from the water bowls.
Form the corner of your eye you see movement and turn to look and spot some variety of bird enjoying the flowering trees and shrubs. Fabulous!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Returning in winter does have its advantages. So another winter is not a great thought- how many in a row can one cope with? But it does mean I get out of New York when it is stinking hot, although going back in August is not the smartest time to be there. But then needing to be back in time for the new school year is something beyond my control.
In spite of all that there are still advantages to being home at this time, one of which is..... the wattle is out!

When we bought this house there was a small "stick" growing near the front door which we knew was a wattle but it has shot up in the past twelve months having done very little for quite q while. Perhaps the drought had affected it and the rain during this year has given it a bit of encouragement whatever it is it is now almost as tall as the house and in full bloom.

As we drove from Melbourne to here the wattle was out all along the highway and the streets and roads.

The wattle provided a contrast to all the other native trees along the cliff walk. It is such a "happy" tree perhaps it is its yellowness or the little fluffy balls of yellow that are its flower. There are so many variations of wattle. Maddy has said that there is always one in flower somewhere in Australia but it seems that the ones here flower now. Perhaps the plant flowers when it is cooler and damp.

The wattle (Acacia is the largest genus in the family Mimosaceae, the Mimosa family, which is mainly tropical and sub-tropical in distribution) is Australia's floral emblem and is on the Australian coat of arms as well as the colours green and gold often being used for national teams in sporting events.

Monday, July 21, 2008

An average day

Even when you are on holiday the washing has to be done. The difference with being at home is that I get to hang it out in the fresh air! Our clothes line here is fairly rudimentary- no hills hoist! But it is still effective.
While do the domestic chore of hanging the washing out I glanced down and there was a mushroom growing- it isn't any more as can be seen I picked it. It amazes me where it came from. I haven't seen one there before and there were no others so how did it grow there?

The clothes line is near the wood heap. We had some wood delivered before I got home and on the first day here Michele went out and stacked it in the heap. I'll probably need to get another delivery before I head back to NYC as it has been cold without the heater burning.

Michele has joined the local library which is part of the Geelong Regional Library and the mobile library visits Aireys Inlet on Tuesdays and Anglesea on Wednesday.
We have been able to borrow some books to keep us going throughout the days while we play scrabble and keep the home fires burning.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

At the soccer

Andrew and Lynne headed off to the footy following the birthday cake and Michele and I took Nick and Kate back home- they could have gone to the footy but they end up bored even before quarter time 9and they call themselves Australian!- they are only 9 and 11 but still).
So Saturday night saw Michele and I baby-sitting and having a relatively early night. But I needed my sleep because today was the day I was going to see Nick play soccer.
Up at "sparrows f**t " dressed and packed and ready to leave for the Balcombe Reserve in Beaumaris. Not out of the way, in fact close to Maddy's place but anytime before 8am on a Sunday is early.

So Andrew Nick and I bundled in to Paul and James' car and were chauffeured to the soccer match. We didn't bring an umbrella- one of the side effects of a country in drought is that you forget how to prepare for outdoor events in winter. We were lucky enough that there was plenty of ti-tree around that formed a kind of natural umbrella that we could huddle under when it spattered rain.
Andrew went and collected Maddy and set up a chair for her. She was still relatively tired from the "party" but was happy to sit and watch Nick play soccer.
When she arrived she said she hadn't realized that it was as cool as it was.
Andrew had brought a jacket that I could wear in the rain so I gave her my red leather coat and she wrapped her shawl around her head hence the Italian grandma look.

The soccer itself had many highlights not the least of which were the spectators.
The coach for the Beaumaris side could see his "sheep station" slipping away at one stage and was screaming very unpleasantly with all the parents from the Carrum team (Nick's team) all tut-tutting about his bad grace. Beaumaris won 3-2 but the boys from Carrum certainly didn't disgrace themselves. They played really well and had a good time which is the whole point of it really.

Nick is such a wiry little thing and really enjoys playing the game but enjoys being with his friends just as much. He didn't do his skipping around in excitement as he did when I saw him play Aussie rules but he did spend some time discussing with his fellow players how the ball bounced off his head when he did his head butt.
Another highlight from the spectators point of view was when a boy from the Beaumaris team arrived with his Golden Retriever- at least the Golden Retriever arrived with the boy in tow. They headed over to the sidelines and then reappeared across the ground when a man presumably the boy's father walked towards the group. The dog, prancing and with its tongue lolling, was pulling the boy who was running at full speed, arm being yanked from its socket as he headed towards the man saying "Dad you gotta take her she's acting crazy!" It got a laugh from all of us watching them.
As to the soccer being played- Nick did a grand job and kicked the ball a number of times as well as setting up a goal for one of his team members. He also did quite a bit of rolling on the ground. His friend James kicked a goal and then ran around like a European soccer star arms akimbo and terribly excited. As were we!
Possibly the greatest highlight was when the game was over and Maddy asked Andrew which was the boy named Carrum. We told her it's the name of Nick's team- she did laugh and say that is one thing she won't live down! She's right.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

150th Birthday

It was a wonderful reason to celebrate even if it is three months early.
All the birthdays are in October- Lynne (sister-in-law) turns 40, Andrew (brother) turns 50 and Michele (sister) turns 60 so as Michele heads back to Tokyo on Saturday next Maddy organized a celebration for the birthdays.
Donovans restaurant was the venue. Turns out we'd been there 10 years earlier for Michele's 50th but that's another story.
Rick (brother) and Char (sister-in-law) were down from Brisbane for two reasons- the birthday and to be with Maddy for a while during some of her chemotherapy treatment. Char heads back to Brisbane/ Esk on Tuesday and Rick will say on for a week or so.

There were eleven of us at lunch. The food was great and the space we had in the restaurant was like a family dining area separate from the rest of the restaurant but not shut off from it. The dessert of bomb alaska proved a bit disappointing only because they could not flame it for us but they did make it special with the birthday greeting.
It was all a bit long for Maddy and she was really tired by the time we were leaving- a combination of the chemotherapy and age but we headed back to the "ancestral seat" for cake. How any of us could contemplate eating anything more is beyond me. Michele, Kate, Lynne and I went to Let Them Eat Cake shop to pick up the cake and petit fours.

It was such a good family event with the usual banter and sharing.
The timing of my trip home and Michele's trip back to Tokyo has linked in really well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home again

Having flown in to Melbourne airport I'm now happily ensconced back at Aireys Inlet in the holiday house as the "family home" (Michele and me) is let while we are both living the life of expats in Tokyo and New York respectively.

The house at Aireys is a haven. As soon as we arrive we both relax the house itself is so easy to rest in and easy to manage.
The walks on windswept beaches where there usually is no one else clears the head and invigorates.
The "usual" walk to the beach involves firstly putting Spencer (a black cocker spaniel) on his leash and a walk up the graded unpaved road (three blocks) to the cliff walk. At the entrance to the path we take Spencer off his lead and he runs back and forth along the paths and under the scrub sniffing out all manner of things. Walking through the bush which is low in parts and towers over your head in other sections. The path meanders along and comes out at different points giving views of sea and sky and then around one bend you get your first glimpse of the lighthouse and the beach.

Further along the path and around a bend there are the wooden stairs down to the beach. Depending on the tide there may be sand up to the edge of the steps or water. During our walk there was stretches of sand and some small rocks.
Spencer immediately runs into the water and paddles around a bit then runs up and down the beach. We have to keep an eye out for dead washed up things as he does love to roll in them.
We walk as far along the beach as the tide allows. Sometimes we can go a fair way along the rock pools and other just a short way but I never tire of the view or the freshness of it all.

Spencer spends time sniffing through the rocks and exploring the rock pools and then we turn and head back along the beach. He runs on ahead and checks out all manner of seashore "life" and the bush at the top of the stairs.
When we eventually catch up to him (having strolled along the beach) we head up the stairs and travel along the streets back to the house.
By the time we get back to the house an hour has usually gone by. It doesn't matter whether it is cloudy or sunny, windy or calm it is always so relaxing and invigorating.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sitting and Waiting

It is going to be one of those days and what better way to fill that than ponder by way of my blog.

I'm sitting in the Red Carpet Club at JFK having allowed far too much time to get here and get organized. There was the usual last minute panic- usual as in my usual- luckily I decided to weigh the big sucker of a suitcase, it was over the weight. Using such a large suitcase has it's downside apart from being incredibly awkward to get in and out of elevators as your leave your apartment building ..... as well as creating havoc in the elevator when others try to get in and out, it is also dangerous as one (me in particular) is inclined to fill it. Which is why it ended up being overweight before I had finished packing all the essentials.
This meant that I had a few decisions to make- out went the jumper that weighed a few pounds, out went the photobooks, out went the journal I had to write Maddy's story in and then I had to remove packaging from presents so that after much hefting of the thing- no mean feat- I was able to say it was under weight. However I was able to expand Michele's suitcase that I am bringing home for her- too complicated a story to put here- and so other than the heavy jumper (I'm sure I have access to a range of jumpers at Aireys) all the added weight items went into Michele's suitcase and I was off and rolling. Well staggering actually because I have the big sucker, Michele's little sucker; my carry on bag with the essentials (computer; book; Anne Marie's jewels- another long story; my jewels; headphones; my camera cables- not going to lose those again etc etc) my camera in it's own backpack and my jacket for when I get to the cold airport and then my handbag.
The apartment preparation involved getting the keys to the front desk, getting the linen organized (another number of hours in the laundry), then all those last minute things that can only be done at the last minute- like tipping the doormen and posting the rent. So now I can sit here and kick back until it is time to board the plane. I think I'm going to be weary of kicking back very quickly.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A little of my "hour by hour" day

Barb set a challenge of taking a photo every hour for a day. I knew it wouldn't be very easy. The difficult part being remembering or realizing when an hour was up. Having recently decided that managing getting the washing done was great enhanced by the use of the microwave timer I set the timer each hour. This was complicated by the fact that I was doing the washing too. A bit of mental maths required to keep me on the straight and narrow of a photo every hour. I managed it but in downloading them from my camera something happened and so I have missed the ones from late in the day but I was struggling to get subjects by then- there is a limit to the number of photos oe can take of the TV!
My first shot was of my rumpled bed at 6:20am but I have chosen not to share that one!
At 7:20am I was rather taken with the light shining in to my bedroom and across my desk- I wasn't actually at my desk but it is the spot at which I start many of my days (checking emails and blogs) so a good first one to see.
The challenge was a good one to take on today as it was my personally designated day to get my bags packed and things sorted.So at 9:20 I was packing.
I'd decided to take the bigger case home to Australia as I have gifts and requested items to pack and my little red case just wasn't going to manage that. It worked out well for Anne Marie as she could take the red case (they now have two large suitcases each and smaller carry on stuff- not traveling light at all on their Route 66 journey). So today was the bag pack. I did the sort what goes with what- winter stuff takes up so much more room than summer stuff and everyone has been saying it is cold in Melbourne at the moment. Hard to believe when I'm sitting in the lovely warm here. Hopefully I am "warmed to the core" and it will take a while to cool me down enough to feel the cold by which time I'll be heading back to NYC!
The suitcase packing is always a challenge- the challenge for me being to only take what I need and to try and guess what I might be doing while I'm home. If the worst comes to the worst I'll just buy another jumper(sweater) and stay inside!

By 1:20 I'd had lunch and also realized that I didn't have anything substantial for Nick (nephew) and so headed out to the Rockefeller Center to see if there was some electronic thing he might enjoy. Walking past people out for their lunch in the sun made a good shot of summer lunch time crowds in NYC. People were "perching" on every available ledge in and around the fountain. I thought I'd be able to get a shot of people just sitting around by droves of people kept walking past too. The walk to the shop was basically straight along 48th Street and then in and around the shops in Rockefeller Plaza.

By 1:20 I was heading back to the apartment and walked past the waterfall- it is a lovely retreat in this square that runs between 48th and 49th Sts but at the moment there is scaffolding all around so I cribbed a bit and it looks as though there is this tranquil spot with nothing other than the waterfall around. There was an article in the NY Times last weekend about natural waterfalls The other waterfalls of New York, City of Waterfalls, include everything from window-washer cascades, spontaneous subway-pipe falls and restaurant water-pump cataracts to vest-pocket oases, tranquil atrium sanctuaries and even magnificent public works. My particular favorite in the article (linked above) are the Newkirk Ave Falls- part of the Newkirk Ave subway station. I really enjoy the witty and humorous writing that is often found in the NY Times.
Part of heading home involves getting items prepared in the apartment so that the "guests" don't have to worry about things and also to pave the way for our own return to the apartment. I spent time writing cards lined with $ of appreciation for the concierge desk and the doorman. They do look after us and it also ensures they remember and keep looking after us! It is such a "part" of living in the big city and a large apartment building.
So the bag is packed just some essential toileting item to pack and the cameras.
Tomorrow will involve the final notes and things and then Saturday the interminable flight that doesn't bear thinking about yet.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

When guests leave....

What does one do? In my case it was mope around for a while trying to decide what to do. Then I didn't want to waste the day so spent some time getting things a bit tidier for the incoming tenants. What was there left to do? My bathroom cabinet which now looks very gorgeous- clean and neat- detritus deleted and essentials established!
In a moment of madness I suggested to Shirl that perhaps I love NYC t-shirts would be good farewell gifts from her current play which ends just after I get home. This meant getting 10t-shirts for her it was really quick and simple really but it also meant I had to rethink the suitcase I was taking home. Talk about falling dominoes- to use my large suitcase I had to hang my "winter wardrobe" in the hall cupboard- in order to hang things i the hall cupboard I had to clear that out too. That's all done now too.
I had an idea that I should possibly have two bedside lamps (one either side of the bed) so Bed Bath and Beyond looked like a good place to start.
The 104 bus up Broadway and off at the corner of Barnes and Noble. Not wanting to waste an opportunity to explore a bookshop I meandered in there. What is it about libraries and bookshops that I need to locate the bathroom almost as soon as I start browsing the shelves. I used my usual method of locating them in the store- where the cafe is the restrooms will be nearby. I could have tried looking at a map of the store as there are some on every floor but at least this way I got to the top of the store to work my way back down after the restroom visit.

I found a few purchases- one for the flight home- Fingersmith, Lorraine had been talking about it earlier in the year so I figured it was a good bet for the interminable flight. Then a few others to share with people at home. As I left the store it had started raining , lightly so my way to Bed Bath and Beyond wasn't impeded at all. I found some replacement pillow slips, extra bits for the neat and clean bathroom cabinet. Locate the check out and head on home- not so easy to do - this place had the most disorganized checkout system. It wasn't just me people kept coming up to the register and the young woman kept saying the line is over there pointing in the vague direction of elsewhere in the store which resulted in people walking over in the direction she hinted at and sort of jogging on the spot waiting for an opportunity to approach the checkout again. That's how I managed to get through anyway- effective but not sure if it was correct!

It was still raining - what to do? No umbrella and I wasn't going to buy another one no matter how cheap they were. Umbrella sellers appear out of the cracks in the pavement when the rain starts and then they disappear somewhere when the rain stops. I wonder how they make their money on sunny days- perhaps they ditch their big brown boxes of bags when it rains!?!

So it's raining where does one shelter? A bar of course- I had books to read and settled at the bar of O'Neals and started one of my recent purchases- darn it was one I'd already read! So a couple of drinks and a bus trip back to the apartment and as I was getting off the bus I realized I didn't even look at lamps!
Time for that another day perhaps.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How things happen

The Crowne Plaza gives us lots of entertainment. Their windows provide us with great views of the Hudson River, sunsets and other buildings. Sometimes views of patrons we weren't anticipating but at the moment they have been entertaining us with their renovations. They started at the top and ware working their way down through the building three floors at time. In early April we couldn't work out what was happening as the lights are left on all the time and we could see the upper floor lights on but couldn't work out what was happening. Over the months they have worked down to floors below our floor level. Each morning on 48th Street there are major deliveries and removal of junk.
About a month ago they blocked off the drive through part for equipment and are now renovating that part too.
Walking back from our night out last night we passed all these mattresses stacked in the walk through from 49th to 48th Streets. A truck was there ready to take them away. Barry asked a guy mooching around them where they were going and he said that he worked for some company that collected them from one hotel and moved them on "down the chain". So some poor person in a lower order hotel chain is going to get the Crowne Plaza's rejected mattresses. At least they get used again. As you can see there are hundreds of them.

We spent the day on another little adventure. I decided to take Anne Marie and Barry to Artie's diner on Broadway at 82nd Street. I'd been there with Helen (just happened upon it). It is a great place for lunch if you are hungry. Knowing the size of serves generally throughout the US I knew to order something small so I had a lovely bagel and cream cheese and smoked salmon ( nothing else- I made sure they didn't give me all the trimmings), Anne Marie ordered a burger which was large enough and Barry ordered the Jewish salad. This salad had enough sliced meat on it for a family for a week and enough lettuce for a full sized family salad, a few eggs and olives and so we were bringing the left overs home! We joked about him taking it on the road trip (they head for Route 66 tomorrow).

These photos are from when I took Helen there the pickles and coleslaw are what everyone is given and the sandwich was Helen's of which she only ate half.

Having staggered out of Artie's we walked across Broadway to Harry's Shoes- Anne Marie being a shoe freak enjoyed looking but by now was quite shopped out- no mean feat on my part. Then in to a few more shops including looking in Zabars at the wonderful array of cheeses and other food (needless to say we didn't buy any as we were so full). As we were crossing the road the truck was coming along to water the road plantations ( and the road too). I hadn't seen them doing this before and was taken by it as I had only been thinking the other day as I rode on the bus about how green the plantations were and how did they get and stay that way. This prompted me to check out the NYC plans and low and behold I did know just had forgotten. Greenstreets is a part of Mayor Bloomberg's plans for a "green" city. While I was crossing the road I stopped and photographed the guy watering the plantations on Broadway. You can't see it but he smiled for the photo. He also had to wait and kept tooting until a woman,who was resting on a seat near the plantation, moved. He could have just gone around the corner and sprayed her - perhaps her walking frame prevented him from just bowling right along although he seemed to be considerate of pedestrians and traffic.

We were crossing the road with a purpose other than photographing the watering truck- we were headed to Circuit City where Barry finally bought a GPS to use on their road trip. We didn't find it all that helpful on our trip other than to get us to the airport but I'm sure he'll love playing with it unless Anne Marie tosses it out the window in frustration.
They went to see Jersey Boys and then we met up for dinner (very late for dinner but I survived). Barry hadn't realized it was about The Four Seasons so was pleasantly surprised by it and knew all the music. In all I think their time in New York was up to their expectations including the humidity and heat.

Monday, July 7, 2008


A tour of the waterfalls in NYC, booked online and late in the day seemed like the perfect idea for a Monday in New York City.

I only knew that they were positioned around the East River and figured that they would be interesting.

Some of the information from the website is here:

New York City will host an exciting art exhibit featuring spectacular man-made waterfalls 90 to 120 feet (27 to 37 meters). They will be softly lit at night and available for everyone to see. There will be 4 falls total.

The New York City Waterfalls have been constructed using building elements that are ubiquitous throughout New York: scaffolding is the backbone of the structures, and pumps bring water from the East River to the top; the water then falls from heights of 90 to 120 feet back into the river. Fish and aquatic life are protected by filtering the water through intake pools suspended in the river.

The New York City Waterfalls are visible by land and boat, and because of their proximity to one another, viewers will be able to see multiple waterfalls from various vantage points in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island.

The project is the brainchild of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson is considered one of his generation’s most influential artists. Throughout his career, he has taken inspiration from natural elements and phenomena, such as light, wind, fog, and water, to create sculptures and installations that evoke sensory experiences.

Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen, his recent works reflect Eliasson’s increased interest in architecture and the built environment. Since the mid-1990s, he has presented his work in numerous exhibitions and outdoor venues, and his work is currently on view in a major mid-career retrospective (he was born in 1967) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through February 24, 2008, which will be expanded at The Museum of Modern Art and PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York opening on April 20, 2008.

“One of Eliasson’s great strengths as an artist is his ability to captivate viewers, which he will do by integrating the spectacular beauty of nature into the urban landscape on a dramatic scale,” said Steiner, curator of The New York City Waterfalls. Eliasson’s work often involves industrial materials that, when brought together, create dramatic installations that are as beautiful as they are unexpected.

“In developing The New York City Waterfalls, I have tried to work with today’s complex notion of public spaces,” said Eliasson. “The Waterfalls appear in the midst of the dense social, environmental, and political tissue that makes up the heart of New York City. They will give people the possibility to reconsider their relationships to the spectacular surroundings, and I hope to evoke experiences that are both individual and enhance a sense of collectivity.”

I have to say that leaving the cruise I was a tad disappointed. I didn't like the fact that all the scaffolding to me dominated the waterfall. It was also a little difficult to get a good view of them (by that I mean without someone's arm, camera, head etc in them) from our spots on the boat as we were in the middle and people are so inconsiderate. They just went and stood at the railing without moving so I've ended up with photos of tourists in MY photos!! A bit of sharp editing may eliminate them.

We went for dinner after at the New Zealand pub on Front St and had some delicious lamb (I had lamb chops Anne Marie lamb curry pie) and as we were heading to grab a cab I got this great shot of the Brooklyn Bridge and the waterfalls. So now I do like them (talk about fickle) and think I may go back down there at different times of the day and evening as they do look lovely in the night and perhaps will look great in the dawn (that's not going to happen!)

Part of the cruise took us out to the Statue of Liberty. I hadn't needed to do that bit but short of getting out and walking across water I was staying there. I do love the Statue of Liberty, is there a limit to the number of photos one can have of it. The light was all wrong for really good photos apart from the fact that those dratted tourists kept getting in my way again!

We finished the evening by stopping at Charley O's where a jazz band plays on Monday nights.
Sue and I had called in there last week and I thought Barry would enjoy just having a quick nightcap there before heading home. We ended up talking to a couple of blokes at the bar and coping with the rudest barman in New York City.

It was a good end to a day that had started with Anne Marie and I going to 34th Street to get the final things she wanted- shoes and a quick trip in to Victoria's Secret. With the Australian dollar being so strong (for the Australian dollar that is )and the the cost of clothing here being comparatively cheaper and a much larger range, Anne Marie has managed to restock her wardrobe quite successfully.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ponderings in the park and beyond...

How photography has changed! Sitting in City Hall Park waiting for Anne Marie and Barry to finalize their purchase of a movie camera I was watching the world go by. The fountain in the park is lovely and is indeed a very good spot for "that perfect travel photo". Loads of people were coming and going one group were clustered around one part and it would seem one man had offered to take a photo of a couple using the couples camera. The pose was all set up but the "photographer" couldn't see anything on the camera's screen. "That's because it is an SLR!" I felt like yelling at them (yelling only so they'd hear). The camera owner said something to the guy and the guy then proceeded to take the photo with the camera at arms length! What is the photography world coming to?! I have no idea how bad that photo would have been but the camera owner took it with good grace and moved on- they were too far away for me to leap up and offer to do a better job of it.
Digital photography has really changed how people approach taking photos. Watching people holding their cameras at arms length is quite amusing to me- you hold something away from you to look at it?
In the park there was a German (sounded like German that they were speaking) family - father daughter & fiance/boyfriend and younger brother. The young boy was standing over near the side spout of the fountain and the sister was giving directions of where to stand to the left further this way or further that way and then took a photo. The brother came over unaware of why she would have been taking the photo in that way. She showed him the photo and he started crying- the effect she was aiming for was to make it look like he was peeing in the fountain. It must have been effective as he was very upset. They all talked and she then went over to the fountain for him to take a photo of her. This appeased him and they all headed off.

I noticed two men digging up plants in the garden beds and putting them in a wheelbarrow. The thought crossed my mind (as it is Sunday) were they finding plants to replenish their backyard? Or were they NYC Parks people working on Sunday? Hmmm too much Law and Order on my part perhaps. although I do believe there is no such thing as too much Law and Order!

My toe although an interesting shade is recovering very well. I managed to walk with AM & B from the park (it is a square really and one merely crosses it) to Century 21 where we , Barry and I, assisted Anne Marie in her purchasing. Standing in one place does put pressure on one's back- I tried relieving that pressure by strolling through the endless array of not terribly wonderful clothing. The fitting rooms are in the middle of the designer clothing one very froofy
skirt which looked unfinished to me was marked down to $669.99. I resisted!!!

We returned to the apartment with Anne Marie's purchases and the video camera and rested up heading out at 6 to walk down Broadway to 42nd St to see Mary Poppins. It is a wonderful production and so wholesome in the beautifully restored New Amsterdam Theatre.
As we crossed 48th St to head for Broadway Boeing Boeing's matinée had finished and people were hanging around the stage door but standing where we were just crossing was Mark Ryance the English actor who played Robert in Boeing Boeing so I walked up to him shook his hand and congratulated him on his performance in the play (which I have seen) and particularly congratulated him on his TONY award. I think he was stunned and tired, he took it all with good grace. Don't know if the crowd at the theatre door had seen him there and I had blown his cover or perhaps he hd already braved the hordes and was merely waiting for a cab. I didn't recognize the man standing with him.

In looking back it was a bit of an action packed day completed with a great dinner on 9th Avenue and a stroll home in balmy weather.