Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo of the Day: Spring Finery

New York Street, Wednesday, May 26, 2011

Even the transportation likes to gussy up when the weather turns to spring.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Grandpa Jack's U.S. Army footstone, North Carolina,
Memorial Day Weekend, 2010

On behalf of my father, grandfathers, and all the other veterans of military service, please take a moment to remember what this holiday weekend is really all about.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Auntie Nettie's Attic Merchandise 2011 - May

I was trying to figure out why I didn't have more to show in the way of crafting this month. I mean, the project was done, and I thought my stress-level was down. But then I consulted my calendar, and remembered why I was so grateful for a three-day weekend.

There were a few things that distracted me this month, not limited to, but including:

~A Walk-athon;
~Working late at least 1-2 times a week;
~Baking and blogging;
~Professional and personal social activities such as:
-An all-day Shakespeare play marathon and meal with friends,
-A late-night dance performance,
-Visitations with college roommates in town from Costa Rica for the first time in more
than a decade, and
-must-see television series finales; AND the
pièce de résistance? ~Getting locked out of my apartment for the first time in my life partly caused due to exhaustion.

I did manage to finish a couple of things though, including the polar bear I started last year. Finally!

ANA 2011-22: Mixed Blues Diamond Pattern Scarf
(2 tones of Appletons Old English Crewel & Tapestry Wool that I purchased at a Housing Works thrift)
(as of 11/2012, no longer available, donated to Hats for the Homeless)
in close-up to show the diamond pattern
ANA 2011-23: Chenille Panda
(chenille from a 1 lb. lot of Factory Mill Ends Surplus, probably purchased at an A.C. Moore, many years ago, along with remnants of "stash" wool and other fibers)
(as of 11/2013, no longer available)
ANA 2011-24: Funny-Faced Chenille Panda (larger than ANA 2011-23)
(same materials as ANA 2011-23)
(as of 12/13 no longer available, Toys for Tots
ANA 2011-25: Stuffed Polar Bear
(chenille from a 1 lb. lot of Factory Mill Ends Surplus)
Still in progress:

2010: Multi-fiber chevron blanket
2011: Potential Mobile of Hearts (created as part of ANA 2011-08 group),
Fancy Blue Scarf

As ever, if you see anything you'd like, just contact me for sizes, availability, and costs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Photo of the Day: What's my Path?

Snow Canyon, Utah, late December 2010

Keep your eye on the horizon, but don't forget to look down.
If you aren't careful, you might lose your way.
The trail is marked--you just have to interpret the signs.
Don't trip over the gravel scattered along the path.
There will be hills and valleys, but the beauty is in the journey.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photo of the Day: Nothing is Etched in Stone

Petroglyphs, Southern Utah, c. late December 2010

or is it? Even the signs are confusing me.

Thoughts are circling around and getting me nowhere but between a rock and a hard place.
Good thing some time off is coming soon. I need a vacation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photo of the Day: Auntie Nettie's Attic

Auntie Nettie's original Attic
Somewhere in Connecticut, c. November 2010

Let's just say, there are a lot of thoughts rattling around up in the ol' Attic these days.
Auntie need a vacation. There's no place like home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Horsing Around on the Lawn

You never know what you are going to see out your window at the Big J. Seriously. One day it was POTUS, another day it was a Passion Day parade for Holy Week. The Halloween costume "parades" featuring students from the two local high schools are some of the most "interesting" displays ever of the sublime, slutty, and the ridiculous.

But then there are just the normal view of every-day events on the Lincoln Center plaza and lawn. Last year, Lincoln Center officially opened the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn,

"an elevated, 7,203 square foot expanse of public green that slopes gracefully toward Paul Milstein Pool and Terrace. Technically described as a hyperbolic paraboloid, the Illumination Lawn brings another dimension of visual interest to Hearst Plaza—its texture contrasting with the surrounding materials, and its unexpected shape setting off the linear quality of the buildings around it. Designed to provide a tranquil, verdant oasis for students, artists, and visitors, the green serves as a dynamic gathering space, as well as the roof of a pavilion housing the new destination restaurant ..."

Whatever (pretentious architects). We that look at it every day call it the twisty, tessellating, or rolling lawn where all the tourists and half naked kids go to sprawl about. It's also the destination of choice for the early childhood classes and nannies, so it's not uncommon to just get caught up watching little kids run about with glee, and the adults chase after them with some concern. Some of those corners dip suddenly, and we're just waiting for the day when someone launches over the sides or the glass gives way.

This great rolling expanse of green (or brown depending on the season) across the way has been closed for the winter and for the spring so that the grass could grow. [For a New York Times article on the special art of this particular lawn's care, click here.] One day earlier this month, however, we noticed a flurry of activity near the entrance stairs. With a big red bow, it could only mean a grand opening! YIPPEE.

This wasn't just a normal grand opening, with human beings cutting the bow. Nope. This year, the giant puppet war horses from the production at the Lincoln Center Theater made it a synergistic opening. Not only were the two featured horses there, but the teeny tiny ballerina girls from the School of American Ballet were there to frolic together on the lawn. Seriously, all they needed was Brunhilde from the Wagner opera at the Met and fancy canapes from the seriously overpriced restaurant to overload on the cross-constituent promotion.

But, more to the point, it was a fun view minutes for all of us peering through our windows. Tickets for the show are selling out very quickly, so this was probably our only opportunity to see the stars of the production. Those puppets are amazing. When the 3 puppeteers are manipulating the horses you almost can't believe that they aren't real. They snort, prance, and rear just like real animals, and if you don't think about it too much, you can believe the illusion. (Also a point of pride, a few of those puppeteers are Big J trained actors.)

Anyway, here's my pictures of the great lawn opening of 2011, as snapped via the zoom, from across the street and through a large dirty pane of glass. Better media can be seen here, courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater, or go to http://lct.org/showMedia.htm?id=199 or http://youtu.be/qw8ruoIqGxI.

I also have to report that standing barefoot in that grass without having to be concerned about what real horses would leave behind is very nice indeed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo of the Day: UFO Sightings

New York Botanical Garden, Late April 2011

Dateline: Now. Location: The Bronx. The headline: UFO Sighting in New York

A UFO, an Unidentified Floral Object, was seen landing at the New York Botanical Garden in late April 2011. According to witnesses: "The mothership landed and then sent out 'pods' to cultivate." Other ships were seen landing within the vicinity of the first sighting. Authorities report that most sightings have occurred in lush tropical rain forests or other humid regions. Visitors are warned to approach the landing sites with caution or else they might be probed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Recipes from Aunt Flora -- Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Cook together:

2 cups sugar (white)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cook until it forms a soft ball in cold water; add the vanilla and beat until creamy. Add nuts. Pour into buttered pan and when cool cut in small squares.

So I have a candy thermometer, so I cooked this until about 240 degrees, removed the pot from the heat and added the vanilla until it looked creamy and added the nuts.

I let it set up for a couple of days, and when I tried to cut it, it more crumbled, than cut. I tried a bit of this and its was "grainy" in that you could really taste the sugar. It might have set too long and crystallized or something. Plus the sugar to peanut butter ratio was more in favor of the sugar.

I warned my IT test tasters that this was the first try of this recipe, and that it was really old-fashioned rather than the really fudgey stuff they might be used to. Just to curry favor, I added some left-over brittle from another project to the goodie box for the boys.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo of the Day: Pretty in Pink

New York Botanical Garden, Late April 2011
You know what was the biggest bummer about this?
The "No Walking on the Grass" rule!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Photo of the Day: Mother Nature is a Liberal

New York Botanical Garden, Late April 2011
Example A) Bleeding Hearts - which are only attractive in botanicals

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: Windmills of my mind

I was totally stuck on what to post today, when a clipart picture of a windmill on my cellphone triggered the need to find this.

It almost perfectly captures my state of mind these last two weeks of the semester.

Can be found at: http://youtu.be/Xu_6hdGZ6gU

Why is that you can always find the perfect Muppets segment for anything?

In other timely notes, it has been 21 years since Jim Henson's untimely passing.

Here's a clip of one of the Muppets Tribute numbers:

Can be found at: http://youtu.be/olHV1o9TE-8

I will admit, I got misty. I bet you did too.
Rest in peace Jim. You are missed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Forays with Friends: Oheka Castle April 2011

It is not often that I am able to offer my friends something as lovely and as wonderful as they can offer me. Take my friend Christine, for example. Thanks to her, The Shushing Librarian and I have had adventures in Newport, Montauk, the Cape, and stalking - er- attending a-ha.

I know that friendship is not a series of keeping track, evening the score, or checks and balances, but sometimes you just want to try and keep the karma in line.

As one of the benefits of membership in the New York Botanical Gardens, I get offers about special classes, trips, and other special insider treats. One day, an outing caught my eye.
Oheka Castle!

This may or may not be the actual e-mail conversation in which two grown, responsible women colluded in playing hooky from their jobs:

AN: "Can I entice you play hooky ... to go to Oheka?"
CB: "COOL! I've never been there but have always wanted to check it out. ... I have to laugh about the date...again two days before the Cabaret benefit. LET'S DO IT!"
AN: "But wait .. you are agreeing to play hooky with me .. before the CABARET? REALLY!? Well -- hot damn. Seriously?"
CB: "Sure...why not? I'm allowed a personal day."
AN: !!!! (with dawning realization) HOLY COW! I finally corrupted her -- A special events person, right before her special event ... for a special event!

I never thought that it would actually happen, me finally being able to treat Christine to something, even if it was a day trip in the middle of the week. The months, weeks, and days passed so slowly until the morning of the trip.

Unfortunately the morning and early afternoon weather was ... awful. Not surprisingly for one of our forays, it rained. Heck, there were dogs and cats, poodles and wet rats, and the occasional flying monkey. Why were we surprised? It rained when we went to Montauk. It was a near nor'easter the weekend we went to the Cape. It has POURED on many a Gala and Festival concert that we have worked, so we're used to natural disasters. (We'll work on the transportation issues later.)

Not unexpectedly, aside from our counterpart in the NYBG Membership Office (hi and thanks Melanie!) we were the youngest people on the trip. It was a workday midweek, and we are not independently wealthy -- to our chagrin.

We talked and talked and talked all the way down, and all the way back. I'm sure we annoyed some folks on the bus. Too bad.

Oheka was lovely. So so lovely. My pictures don't do it justice. These first 8 photos are some of the best shots, just some snaps of some things I would like in my future abode: a grand entrance, landscaping, gardens with child-friendly swings, a private balcony patio, and lots and lots of swagging and crystals.

Christine on the bus and the bus

Front Sign and Tennis Court/Landing pad?

This is the only shot where I have "ghosts" in the entrance hall.
View from the garden

View from the Gardens

Views in the Library

View from some of the rooms/in the rooms

Dining Room with "Tea" for Visitors

Exterior Entrance to Indoor Lap Pool

Exterior Shots

After our tour of the Castle, tea at high noon, and the trip back to the Gardens, we spend the rest of the day leisurely exploring the Conservatory, having a yummy lunch in the Garden Cafe, and doing a bit of Christmas shopping. (Yep, I have finished my office Christmas shopping! Scary, no?)

The skies finally cleared as we made plans to play hooky later - perhaps some time when it was guaranteed to be dry and sunny. What else might or might not have been discussed, gossiped about, or plotted is never to be discussed under a codicil of the Game Night Holy Oath!

Thanks for playing hooky with me Christine. You are the best!