30 May 2008

Looking Back

Some silly moments from London 1998...as we approach the tenth anniversary:

From top, left to right: They Call Me Sinead, What Do You Think?, Bowtie, Catwalk in Covent Garden, I Hate Money, Where the Heck Did I Go?, Ye Olde Kensington Market, Freckles, Hello How Are Ya?

I know most people seeing this are gonna say, huh? Sorry!
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27 May 2008

Sunday in the Park with Gata

Anyone who was in NY this weekend must agree that the weather could not be improved on. It was perfect! I wasn't feeling too hot on Friday morning, but I forced myself to take a walk. My reasoning was that all year long I complain about the weather, and here my ideal climate's just waiting for me outside - there's no excuse to stay indoors. I must say I felt better afterwards.
On Sunday, I checked out the Superhero exhibit at the Met. It was a little crowded, and you couldn't touch anything, but it was still fun to see. The concept was the influence of superhero/comic book costumes on fashion. I failed to see the relevancy as all the translations into fashion were unrealistic anyway. Anyone wearing such items would be pelted with eye-rolling if they tried to ride the subway. In short, you'd better be able to fly or run really fast if you're caught wearing these outfits.
After such contemplations I took a breather in Central Park. I found a lovely tree near the Great Lawn that had vast amounts of shade - its branches nearly reached the ground. I spent at least two hours sitting there, reading, writing, resting...and realizing you don't always have to hop on a train to reach a relaxing destination. I guess I picked a good time to be there. It wasn't crowded at all, but not alarmingly desolate. I heard the distant sounds of a softball game going on, which was accompanied by the haunting barks of two bloodhounds nearby, but nothing penetrated my sanity. In lieu of having my own backyard, this was pretty acceptable. I ended up walking down to Columbus Circle - must see Borders whenever possible - and I still had energy to do some housework in the evening.
Sure, it's grossly humid out today, but I'm truly grateful for a peaceful weekend in my own City. Yesterday was fine too, but at that point I felt kind of spoiled with all the free time.
(Isabelle, and Mango Indica)

Yeah, me too!

The same weekend Marie had a family reunion, I did too. Here's a few highlights.

19 May 2008

I guess it had to happen

Pammie informed me that Lush closed down in the Queens Center Mall. Dag Nabbit! Now I have to go to Manhattan every time I want my fix.

I'm not completely surprised. They'd placed the store between Bath and Body Works and The Body Shop. There was a bit of scent blockage, so the average person may not be drawn in straightaway. Besides, the economy being the way it is, people are probably sacrificing a bath bomb here and there in favor of another gallon of gas. I personally haven't been frequenting Lush the way I used to - simply because I wised up and decided to actually pay some bills!

Lush is still opening all over the US. I doubt the Manhattan stores will close anytime soon - but now I'm considering popping down to Union Square or something and getting at least one of my favorites, just in case.

(Kira, and Orange Pekoe)

16 May 2008

I Feel So Accomplished!

No, haven't got my driver's license yet...but I did finish Middlemarch at long last. It look almost fourteen years, but today it's been done. I bought a copy of this book during my first trip to London in 1994, for only one pound. Back then that was worth less than it is now. It's actually one of the few things I still have in my possession from that trip, beside the photos.
I never thought it would take so long to finish Middlemarch - after all, it only took a couple of months to read Les Miserables, and that's even longer. The problem was that I was beset by the Ownership Curse - for years I would rarely finish books I actually owned - there were too many books borrowed from the library that I needed to finish before they were due. In the past year, though, I've been able to get over this problem. I think the new bookshelves had something to do with that. Also, for some reason in the past decade I've read an immense amount of books, but they've rarely been the classics. With the completion of Nicholas Nickleby, it seems I'm back on track.
I'm happy to report I really enjoyed Middlemarch! It's my favorite George Eliot book to date -so far I've read The Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede, and they were kind of depressing in that Thomas Hardy way. Middlemarch was not cheerful, but not miserable either. For those of you that don't mind reading books that are divided into eight books, I recommend giving it a shot. 781 pages later, I feel satisfied in that booknerd kind of way.

(Moofer, and Darjeeling)

08 May 2008

Spring and a Lovely Book Jaunt

Besides a yucky soppy Friday, this week has given New Yorkers some of the best weather days of the year. Even when it came close to 80 degrees, it was perfection. There were pleasant breezes all around - and I'm happy to say my feet held up pretty well with all the extra walking I did.

Most of the week I had lunch al fresco. Bonnie and I have covered a lot of territory in midtown Manhattan in the search for decent outdoor lunch areas, and it's not been in vain. Well, Bryant Park is a no-brainer, but if your nerves are a little frazzled it might be avoided. As soon as the climate is lovely, everyone gets the same idea and they crowd the Park, annoyingly loud yuppie conversations included and cigarette in hand...not the best atmosphere for a wound-up lady like myself. As an alternative, we found a quiet little park near the United Nations building that was sparsely occupied. It wasn't empty, but certainly airy enough. Plus, there was enough floral activity going on in there to please the eyes as we ate. The only problem is that it's over a 10 minute walk - good exercise but not enough sitting time. Not the biggest roadblock, of course. Anything is more tolerable with a spring breeze surrounding you, in my opinion. I first realized this in Junior High School. I was sitting in math class, the year before it became my worst subject, but nonetheless not my favorite place to be. It was springtime and I sat near a half-opened window. This fresh slightly warm breeze blew in and it was like I was flying. No, nobody was smoking weed outside, I enjoyed the little wind on its own. From then on I was a firm believer in spring and early autumn.

It used to be when the nice weather came along I'd hit the shops right away. Since I've been able to curtail by shopaholic tendencies this doesn't happen as often. I did, however do a little bookstore browsing in my spring promenading. As a result, I finally visited a bookshop I can't remember every entering. This is the Argosy, a used/antiquarian bookshop on 59th Street. I've passed by this place before, and I even had a book from there - an old book about London which was a gift from a very thoughtful coworker. I never had the guts to in on my own, because I figured it would be expensive and stuffy. This week, though, it occured to me that I cannot possibly leave a New York bookshop unvisited, and if I can mosey around the Met on my own - oh, and go to a Broadway show all by myself, oh yeah, and do afternoon tea on my own, then what's a bookshop? Well, this didn't all pop into my head at once, but it's true. So in I went, and I was enthralled. It was a little bit like how I'd pictured Marks & Co. in 84 Charing Cross Road - full of old, dusty books (I sneezed frequently), and old prints and pictures. And speaking of 84 CCR, I noticed in one glance a number of books Helene Hanff requested in the course of the famous correspondence. Love was all around me! Sadly, the shop was closing for the day, so my browsing time was cut short. I'm glad I saw it, though...so many prettily bound books - especially those little hand held books one might see a character in a Jane Austen adaptation reading. My guess is I'll be back there before long.

Zenobia. (I had to mention a cat at some point didn't I? Oh, and tea - oolong?)