Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday in Manhattan

A friend was "inspired" enough by my blog to provide some quotes I may like to use which in turn inspired me enough to look through photos and try to put some in to kinda match them...

  1. Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. Benjamin Disraeli
  2. In America there are two classes of travel - first class, and with children. Robert Benchley 

  3. Travelers never think that they are the foreigners. Mason Cooley  

  4. The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." Daniel J. Boorstin
  5. There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror. Orson Welles

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Fun day

 Having spent the day yesterday working and preparing for the week I was "free" today to do really fun stuff and I have had such a great day.
Headed off around 9:30 to Grand Central to do my final photo shoot for my photography class and I was so lucky... first to have a good view on the way of the Chrysler Building- you can be lucky sometimes.

I had the opportunity to capture a range of people using the train station and looking around. Most other days I have ended up with photos of people on their cell phones but today the focus ended up being people taking photos.
Once I have decided (at class this week) which photos will be in the exhibition I'll post them here. But here is just one of the ones from today.

 And then I spotted (along with just about everyone else in the area) this vision...

 He seemed to be having his breakfast- it took him forever to complete his repast so quite a few opportunitieis to take photos and I think I have some good ones.

 I actually saw him here at Grand Central about 4 years ago I think it was. I need to look back through my photos to work out when it was.

Having completed the photo shoot I went to see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Roundabout theatre. When I was booking my season tickets months ago I did register my complaint about a man playing the role of Lady Bracknell- I objected to a man taking away from a woman one of the great parts in theatre for older women. Having registered my complaint I still went along o see Brian Bedford direct and play the role of Lady Bracknell. The production is lovely- the period costumes gorgeous, the set great and the performances and delivery of those wonderful Oscar Wilde lines really well done. So in all I have had a great day and a great chance to see people dressing up in lots of spots around NYC.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life is too short..

Life is too short for uncomfortable underwear- I decided this this morning... well I don't really need to go in to the why's and wherefore's and graphic details but the offending items have now been disposed of.
But then I began to think about how life is too short for a number of things and shared the concept with Sue who promptly replied...
Life is too short for tight shoes. Have to agree with that one too.
I thought I could stretch this idea a little and challenge myself now to think of five things that life is too short for...
1. Life is too short for uncomfortable underwear (I had to start with that as it was its fault I am doing this)
2. Life is too short not to start with dessert
3. Life is too short not to laugh at one's own "stupidity"
4. Life is too short for worrying about getting my blog done!
5. Life is too short for making too many lists

I kinda couldn't do this very well... perhaps others can give me ideas.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another Friday rolls around

What with the snow day the week seems to have come to an end really quickly and unexpectedly.

I took my "model" to photography last night. We were doing portraiture and lighting. I was quite pleased with the photos at the time but think one is slightly out of focus- ah pride goeth before a fall!
But they are still nice shots I reckon ... thank Bernadette for agreeing to be my model.

 Another day at work and so a nice round about walk home. I had forgotten that in walking from 59th and Lex that I would cross Park Avenue near 57th St and there I came across the public art work of Will Ryman. I'd seen and heard things about it in the media. Here is part of how it was reported in the Wall Street Journal

Beginning on  Tuesday 25 January, Will Ryman's first public art installation, "The Roses,"  appeared along the Park Avenue Malls between 57th and 67th Streets. For many New Yorkers, its 38 colossal red and pink blossoms, blooming from stems up to 25 feet tall, will serve as an uplifting reminder of the tulips that sprout there each spring.
But to Mr. Ryman, 41 years old, they represent something else. A former playwright with an absurdist edge, he turned to sculpture in 2004 out of a desire to "let the play's scenery tell the whole story," he said recently at his Bowery studio. "I wanted to create theater with no lines or actors, but just the world itself."
"The Roses," presented by the Paul Kasmin Gallery is running through to the end of May.
"I like public sculpture because it exists outside of the gallery world, which can be pretty elitist," Mr. Ryman said, adding that outdoor installations reach a broader audience, and "the focus tends to be more on personal interaction than intellectualization."
Indeed, one can interact with "The Roses" from a variety of perspectives: the sidewalk, the surrounding apartment buildings, the seat of a car. People below the roses, Mr. Ryman said, will have a completely different experience than those above.
Of course, with greater exposure come tighter restrictions, especially in Midtown. City Hall, the Borough Hall Commissioners Office and the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee all rigorously reviewed Mr. Ryman's proposal. They accepted the dog-sized brass bugs—aphids, ladybugs, beetles, ants—that will adorn the steel stems and fiberglass petals, but rejected the coffee cup, Doritos bag and extinguished matches he envisioned strewn about the medians.
"We liked the idea," said Jennifer Lantzas, public art coordinator for the city's Department of Parks and Recreation. "But City Hall is doing a big anti-trash initiative, and we wanted to respect that."
Twenty giant petals will appear in place of the litter, she said, six of which will serve as lawn chairs. 
Unlike Christo's fabric panels, Mr. Ryman's roses are handmade. He showed up every day at KB Projects—the Greenpoint-based art fabricator whose clients include Paul McCarthy, Richard Prince and Louise Bourgeois—to shape and paint each petal. "If it has my name on it, I need to be intimately involved in its creation," he said.
As a result, the blossoms have a delicate quality up close, despite weighing approximately 250 pounds each. They're also intentionally out of proportion, lumpy and shiny—an effect created using several coats of industrial-strength boat paint.
Mr. Ryman admitted that the meaning of a rose changes when it's 25 feet tall, with thorns the size of dinosaur teeth. And so to the art work itself...
I had to wait for the tooting cars to separate to snap this first view
I got into the swing of photographing by walking to the centre median and then back straight away from whence I came
Some fellow pedestrians found it odd but I like the colour and chirpiness of them all
The walk along Fifth Avenue and the snow "capped" facades of churches.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's a snow day!

  I was awake early enough to hear the great news... A snow day! The Mayor must have looked out of his window and realized that this time it really was going to take a lot to clear the streets and not having school buses on the roads would help.
Perhaps not great news for you as it means more snow photos but I just had to get out and go down to Bryant Park to get more photos of the fountain. It has been relatively warm the past few days and the icicles have melted but the winter wonderland that was is Bryant Park was fabulous.
But first I too looked out the window and loved the view of our own balcony...

It accumulated overnight

Even on the balcony wall giving a lovely frame

The Times Square crew worked overnight and had it quite clear-ish.

Love the juxtaposition of the snow and the palm tree

There were a few traffic light around like this one.

"And who will love a little sparrow?"

Still running but no longer icicles.

A snow lady

The depths of field lesson came in handy!
View across Bryant Park

On opening the balcony door these icicles stayed in place

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It was Australia Day

And how did I mark it? Not at all really. I guess that is possibly a good thing as some view the date and celebration skeptically as it marks, for the indigenous people of Australia, the invasion of their land. Some things may have changed a little and some processes put in place to rectify some of the injustices done to the Aboriginal people, perhaps it is a day for me to try to make a difference in some respect for them...if I knew what to do I would do it.

Perhaps the day is a good time to think about what it is to be Australian...apart from the accent. We are more than just a country where kangaroos bound ...and bound they did down the straight at the Hanging Rock race track.

A kangaroo runs its lone race at Hanging Rock. 
A kangaroo runs its lone race at Hanging Rock. Photo: Michelle van Kampen

We are more than people in a country with unusual animals, the country is geographically isolated and with that not only have unusual animals and plants developed and remain but the country and its people are a unique blend of the ordinary and extraordinary.

Melbourne skyline

It is impossible to say that we are all the same but there is something relaxed about the people of Australia, the easiness and openness with which they greet you. There is also a fierce loyalty to our home/place demonstrated in a range of ways from loyalty, pride and defensiveness about our cities, our land, our flora and fauna, our footy teams, our football codes, our sporting prowess, our weather, our arts scene and our artists, our intellectuals, our writers and our society, for a country of 21 million it is amazing.

Wattle in Central Ave
Australia has a population of 20 600 000, the land area is 7686850 square kilometres- the population density is approximately 2.7 per square kilometre.
The USA has a population of 303 825 000, the land area is 9629091 square kilometres- the population density is approximately 31.6 per square kilometre.

A lousy photo of Geoffrey Rush in Melbourne
In comparing the size of the population and the achievements of Australians world wide we are indeed a  great country and one to celebrate on Australia Day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10 on Tuesday

I enjoyed doing this process on Thursday last week so visited the blog again and the following was her list- again some things I would never venture to think about but interesting to walk in other' s shoes to think

1. Do you decorate for Valentine’s day?
I steer clear of this "celebration" although it is the day that I land in Australia this year.

2. Does your desktop have a picture or computer graphic? Is it organized?
I hate a messy desktop so mine is organized- I have one of my favourite photos from part of our trip along route 66 on my laptop desktop. Have to get a new image on my Desktop computer.

3. Do you use a paper planner, electric planner or no planner at all?
Paper diary/planner using Stephen Covey planning strategies.

4. Do you change purses or bags often or stick with a good thing?
I use a really small handbag and have been known to change it seasonally.

5. What’s your favorite YouTube Video?
At the moment my favourite You Tube is three year old Jonathan "conducting" Beethoven's 5th symphony

6. Do you use Turbo Tax or a real person to pay your taxes?
Have to have a real person for this

7. How many states have you set foot (or tire) in? Which ones?
Hmm need to get a map out and check- I have been to every state in Australia but in the USA?
California, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, New Hamphshire, Maine, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi... I think that is 30... only 20 left to see!

8. How many countries have you been in? Which ones?
Listing Countries I have been in is even more difficult... here are most of them
England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany (East and West), Russia, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Morocco, Tunisia, Switzerland, Belgium, Monaco, Estonia, Andora, Greece, Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Netherlands, Fiji, New Guinea, Japan, Vietnam, USA  and Australia. Perhaps that makes it 36.

9. How many pillows are in your house? (Sleeping or decorative)
Better things to do than walk around counting the pillows and cushions in the house!

10. How cold is too cold for flip flops?

Never wear flip flops or thongs as we call them. I hate how they rub your feet and have had nasty accidents when wearing them - getting  the edge of them  caught on a step... pain!

 Heading home...
 And so for the long walk home I started out from 117th Street and walked through the top of Central Park and through and down to 72nd St. Along the way I enjoyed the beauty of snow and park. Went along some tracks, carefully, watched some people skating at the rink in the northern end of the park, sought out the birds making lovely sounds- no idea what they were- then passed a waterfall and creek. After i while I began to feel that I could get lost so sought out the major road and path and headed out through a bit more "civilization" rather than wilderness. Felt quite intrepid really!

The waterfall- the sides of which are frozen
The bridge over the creek walking

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just another manic Monday

It wasn't actually all that manic...I just love that line in the song...can't even think of the song title.

I didn't take any photos- figured many were getting tired of the snow shots but then that's all there is to take at the moment.

It's Monday it may be book club, and it was. This month it was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. In true book club style hardly anyone had read the book. I had read a few pages and having bought the hardback book...what a waste! The book is a huge sucker and in hardback it is a danger to life and limb if one should fall asleep reading it- which from the small part I read is highly likely.

So book club was all about catching up on what people were doing, their families and their work. Talk was of the flooding in Australia and the fund raiser we are having here, as in NYC, on Saturday February 5.

After a decision about the new book which is to be The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman.
Following that, we plan to read The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. Both of which are paperbacks but I have bought them on my kindle on my iphone so no danger of great injury from the book at least.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A day of fun

 I know, like every other day in NYC is not fun, however today was full.
Started by getting my photography class homework done by visiting Grand Central and then headed off to brunch to celebrate Bob's birthday. This involved my choosing to walk from Grand Central to 20th St and 10th Avenue. A longish walk (43 minutes according to google maps). It was cold but well worth it as it took me through Bryant Park and past the "reading room" of the NY Public Library

The Reading Room
Then I spotted the fountain.
What a photographic delight that was!
Shows how cold it has been in NYC of late.

After brunch at the Cookshop, Margie and I headed to BAM to see The Abbey Theatre production of John Gabriel Borkman  by Ibsen. A play I had never heard of but true Ibsen style- dark and brooding-starring Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw. I enjoyed the theatre of it all despite the tragic themes. The reviews weren't so great but the performances were as far as I was concerned and it was fantastic to see such great actors, especially Alan Rickman (been a fan for ages) live on stage.

Home in time for dinner... a long but fun day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where was this when I needed it!

Each Saturday I read The Big Fresh- a weekly mag that comes online from Choice Literacy. Often it contains a really interesting editorial and they lead me on to other thoughts and places of interest. Today the following was part of an article about An Attitude of Gratitude by Heather Rader

I learned not everyone is a "words of affirmation" and chocolate fan when I read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In simple summary, the book reminded me that everyone likes to receive in different ways. Five ways, in fact: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. My primary love language is Quality Time -- when I have undivided attention, it meets my needs in a powerful way.
 Love languages in the workplace require some minor revisions. For example, while physical touch might be someone's love language, there is less of an opportunity to explore that professionally, leaving us with four:
Words of Affirmation - Written or spoken? There is a difference. Some people love to have their work publicly acknowledged, while others (like me) appreciate a thoughtful handwritten note.
Quality Time - Personal or professional? Some educators appreciate the time to talk about their lives outside of school, while others really want to focus on work.
Receiving Gifts - What kind? What do people get energy from? One office professional I worked with loved cinnamon, another treasured fruit juices, still another valued great books. Knowing the difference makes a difference.
Acts of Service - One day many years ago, my principal brought me a cup of steaming hot tea while I was teaching. I've never forgotten that. Good Earth tea, as a matter of fact. Another colleague wrote sub plans for me so I could be a labor coach for my friend's birth (the day before Spring Break). That sticks with me, and I think of it whenever I see her.
Any leadership position in education requires communication with many different people. 

Reading this I was immediately back at one of the schools in which I was principal and trying to work through the issues raised by our staff survey that indicated that some of the staff felt as though they weren't appropriately acknowledged. It was such a battle to try to work out how to meet each of their needs so that they felt suitably appreciated and not feel as though they were either taken for granted or ignored. If only I had had this article and these suggestions for ways to identify people's ways of being affirmed in their work.
Perhaps I can share it with those I work with here and make the most of this knowledge even if it is a little later than I would have hoped for.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It snowed again

 They predicted snow overnight and it was supposed to start at 9pm. Great thought I just when I am coming home late night from photography I'll be in a snow storm. Lucky for me it didn't commence until later- much later. But snow it did and it made for a very pretty if slushy "commute"

First up- capture the accumulation on the balcony
Bundling up is not too difficult when one has a great coat- The new one this year has a zip that "goes both ways" makes in so much easier on the hot subways and then out on the street.
Stop and savour the view down Broadway then head for the subway
 The bikes are used by the delivery guys from the restaurant...they do earn their tips when they deliver take out in this sort of weather- in most weathers really.
But then there were the bicycles covered in snow
 Up in Harlem the snow seemed thicker and fluffier and made for great photographic opportunities
The early morning light and the snow

A path had already been created in the school plaground

Love the dark tree and the snow
 By the end of the cold cold day the snow was still around and despite the cold and the snow I did my long walk home. There were a couple of snow flurries as I walked home but it was not too bad- other than the slushy puddles it was a great walk home, again.
Did the long walk home past 68th St "Square"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday list on Thursday

When the day was just one of the "usual days" I was really struggling to think of a way to create a post and thought I'd use the ideas of another blogger who posts a list of questions  on Tuesdays- Ten on Tuesday- she blogs at Roots and Rings I found her via a friend of Tami's  who blogs at Growing up Jenny
Some of the questions were not necessarily something I would have particularly thought about but hey it's helping me get my Thursday post done!

1. What’s your favorite color to paint your nails?
I actually don't have a favourite colour for nail polish as I don't colour my nails often however if pushed to decide I'd say a plum sort of colour

2. Do you like to sneeze?
Gosh liking to sneeze is an interesting concept. It doesn't bother me whether I do or don't sneeze however I sneeze in twos. That is I'm a bit like that saying "there is no such thing as having one timtam"- in my case there is no such thing as "a" sneeze. I don't sneeze once but twice and then if I sneeze a third time then i know that there is a fourth one about to happen.

3. How often do you fill up your car with gas?
Never! I don't have a car

4. Were you named after anyone?
Now what a perfect question for me! I was named after dad's aunt Cecilia and I was also born on St Cecilia's day.

5. Have you made any good recipes lately?
Michele gave me a great book for Christmas Simple to Sensational. The recipes have on one side of the page a simple recipe and on the other side a sensational recipe. I made the simple risotto recipe the other night- mushroom ...really tasty and very therapeutic to make. Stirring and chopping and then enjoying. Supposedly there could be left overs to make the sensational recipe but either we ate way too much of it or I catered perfectly for two!

6. What’s an easy money-saving tip that you use regularly?
Me? Money saving? One of my greatest strengths is my capacity to fritter money away. So to have a money saving technique I regularly use is non existent.

7. Would you rather have a sore throat or an ear ache?
Neither particularly but I think a sore throat is more easily managed and the management of it involves eating so a little pleasure along the way.

8. Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Apart from the scars on my heart created by others- you know who you are... I have two particular scars that are on my skin. One I have posted about in the reverb10 postings in December- I think it was then ... and when Sue read it she said it was too much information but hey I didn't post a photo of the horrible thing that caused the scar by its removal.
The other scar is on my shin and here's how that one happened...
When I was about 10 I  had gone next door to play with my friend Cheryl and was rushing home. To get home we didn't just do the normal thing of going out the front and along the street and then into our house oh no. The next door neighbours had a ladder built on the side fence (in many places in Australia homes have fences all the way around their properties) and on our side were the fence posts and so to get from their place to our place you climbed the ladder, swung your leg over the fence onto the strut bit on the other side of the fence stepped on to the top of the brick bar-b-que dad had built and then onto the side of the bar-b-que and a small jump onto the ground.
I was late, it was raining, I slipped and cut half way up my shin- I can still picture the bone shining there and the blood gushing.
I went inside and my mum was furious with me for being late and wrapped something around it and got me to walk to the doctor by myself to get it looked at. We didn't have a car, she had two younger than me kids and wasn't really coping with the whole situation. So two stitches later and a longish walk home and a scar on my shin.

9. What are you “known for” in your circle of friends/family? 
Ah this is yet another long story that I have posted about but I am known in my family as the "grey scrubber".
With some of my friends I am known for my collection of and collecting snow domes hence the image on my blog.

10. How do you like to eat your pancakes?
Quickly. Is that a good enough answer? Actually I really love crepes like dad used to make with lemon and sugar...yum.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What a difference a week makes

Despite the rain the temperatures have meant that the snow has hung around. In most places it is in dirty piles everywhere but in others there are paths and white snow.

Last week...

 This week...

And it is still lost glove season! Found on 5th Ave and 44th