Archive for April, 2005


Saturday, April 30th, 2005

We were due some rain in the afternoon, so Maria and I thought we’d go for a walk down to the Amish market while the weather was nice in the morning.
We walked along the Hudson, our usual route. Where a month or so ago there were snowdrops now there are pansies.
The parks are starting to look really nice. Maria moaned a bit but I just couldn’t resist doing a bit of climbing, (well I’d been cooped up for a few days).
Bear in a tree
After we got back, Maria got on with the bear she was working on (she seems to be working pretty hard at the moment) and another friend was born. That makes 5 now.
Tipped panda
I don’t think she’ll be making any over the weekend. There’s the Cherry blossom Festival, and then if that’s a wash out or we have time left over there is a Spring Craft Fair at Grand Central. A busy weekend ahead.


Friday, April 29th, 2005

Last night after John went to bed, Maria was watching The Merry Widow ( she has a thing about operettas) when we heard some very, VERY loud bangs outside. There was a fantastic firework display on the Hudson, it seemed to be coming from a boat partway between us and Liberty. We still don’t know what it was for, but it was superb. Maria even woke John up, he seemed to be pleased to see it.
Today has been a strange day weather wise, lovely sunshine and then sudden storms. John says they even had a thunderstorm and hail at work. That’s only about 3 blocks away, and he says the hail was only around one side of the building?!?!
We spent the morning doing basic house keeping, tidying up, washing up and doing the laundry. Plus finishing off the head of a bear, and then went off to Trinity church for one of their free concerts.
Trinity church
It was the Harvard Krokodiloes, a group of 12 Harvard undergrads who did akapela singing. Their repertoir was very varied ranging from Jerusalem to Run-around Sue, their presentation was excellent they seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. As usual it will be available on the web in a couple of days.
Krokodiloes video
The web is a wonderful thing, we can listen to the breakfast show and all the comedy shows etc from radio 7 while Maria works on her bears. She finished another one today, he’s rather sweet.
New bear
I don’t know how we’re all going to fit in her suitcases.

Girl Scouts and a thunderstorm

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

It’s been raining most of the day. We had a brief bit of sunshine mid afternoon, but then just as John got back a storm started up. It’s quite spectacular watching a thunderstorm way up here. Things have calmed down again now but the foercast for tomorrow and more importantly the weekend is not too good.
Still at least it has meant Maria has worked hard and finished 1 and 1/2 bears. She seems to be going for the wacky look. She ordered some fur from Intercal and it arrived late yesterday so she’s very keen.
John came back with some cookies from work today. Apparently there were Girl Scouts selling them at work. We’ve heard of the concept but didn’t realise it really happened.
Girl Scouts
Of course he had to buy some, back home Maria was Akela of a cub pack for about 10 years and John was Group Scout Leader. I wish I’d seen them camping, I’m having a bit of a problem trying to imagine it. They still know some strange songs, I just wish they didn’t insist on trying to teach me.

New bear

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

It’s been a quiet day in New York. (We’ve been listening to Garrison Keillor’s Radio Show).
Apart from a quick trip to Gristedies Maria has been working all day, it has paid off and I now have a new friend.
New bear
The weather is still a bit cool but bright. The view from the window is lovely in this weather. Tomorrow is due to be rainy but we’re not too fussed so long as it’s nice at the weekend. There is a Japanese Cherry Blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens we’re looking forward to going to. Maria is particularly looking forward to the dollmaking.


Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Since the maid was coming today Maria decided to get out from under her feet and we went uptown to Bloomingdales.
It’s a good job she had me with her, the subway station leads straight into the ladies wear dept. and what with silk dresses at $300 and Ralph Lauren shirts etc she would have spent mega bucks if I hadn’t talked her out of it.
Of course she then had to go upstairs to the shoe department, (shoes again!!!), but luckily they didn’t have the ones she really wanted in her size. In the end we managed to leave with just a bag for me.
Bloomingdales Bag
She is threatening to drag John and his credit card back there.
We then picked up some flowers and Godiva chocolates (to make up for the lack of shoes) and went back to the apartment.
Since we got back she’s been wallowing in Brad Pitt etc. We’ve watched Troy, The Last Samurai and we’re about to watch Mission Impossible.


Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Well, John got his picture of the Queen Mary 2 leaving for Southampton yesterday. She really is big!
Queen Mary 2
And Maria got her picture of her new bear. She really is fluffy!
Fluffy bear
Today we had a great afternoon, we went into Chinatown, 50 of the restaurants had set up tasting stations where you could get samples of food for $1 a plate. Some of the plates were quiete substantial.
We tried sweet and sour pork, ginger chicken, vegetarian dim sum, spring roll, assorted dumplings, steamed buns, some things where we couldn’t decide if they were sweet or savory, (but they were definatelly crispy), plum tea and of course Peking duck pancakes. I was stuffed!
Chinatown crowd 1 Chinatown crowd 2
It was very crowded and John had to queue ages for the Peking duck. But it was worth it.
Peking duck
We were lucky and saw a dragon/lion dance.
Dragon Lion
We also bought a wok, more slippers for Maria (you wouldn’t believe she only has one pair of feet), some prawns, some dried mushrooms (well we were told they’re mushrooms) and at last I got some firecrackers!!! Wheee….!!! John says I’m a menace, I don’t know why he bought them for me if he didn’t expect me to use them.
Firecracker bombing


Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Talk about contrast. There are many events here in NY, in particular music events. At lunch time we met John for a concert at Trinity Church. It was performed by I Giullari Di Piazza and it was the story of the Black Madonna an Italian folk tale in song and dance.
They frequently have lunchtime performances at Trinity Church which they stream live on the internet and then leave up there for a while. Video of performance.
Of course since Borders is right next to Trinity we had to go and visit, Maria can never pass a bookshop.
We spent the rest of the afternoon around the apartment and Maria finished a bear, at least I think it’s a bear, mostly it just looks like pink fluff, I’ll have to get John to take a picture.
In the evening we were off out again, this time to the World Financial Center for a concert given by Julian Fleisher and his Rather Big Band. A very different type of musical event altogether. There were tables with tablecloths and romantic lights set out and they were serving Mocktails and Appertisers.
Julian Fleisher
The music was great, a mix of jazz, lounge music and elements of the Great American Songbook. A real contrast to lunchtime.
The Winter Gardens
By the time we got back home it was late and all John and Maria had energy for was a quick Thai takeaway and sleep. They refused to set up the computer for me so that’s why I couldn’t post, I wish they’d give me my own password, then I wouldn’t have to rely on them.
Today the weather has taken a turn for the worse and Maria and I spent the day in the apartment working. John’s home now but not really with us, he’s waiting for the Queen Mary 2 to pass us, he’s watching the webcam of her leaving the dock and getting ready to go out to the Hudson to get a photo of her passing.


Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Hottest day yet, in the high 80s, very unseasonal. The weather is due to start changing tomorrow, cooling down with a bit of rain on Saturday. A shame really ‘cos they are having a restaurant tasting day in Chinatown. I think we’ll just have to brave the rain.
Still back to today, we’ve actually put the airconditioning on as it got warmer and warmer. It was lovely.
We’ve had a quiet day, Maria did the laundry, (the laundry room was stiffling), ordered some fur for some bears, worked on a bear and on some embroidery. She has been doing some embroidery which she is intending to make into a handbag when she gets back to the UK. She has based the design on some Hungarian Kalocsa embroidery (going on about her roots etc.) I must admit it does look nice.
handbag embroidery
While Maria spends most of her time making bears she does make occasional forays into other areas, painting, doll making, embroidery etc.
She received a package from Dollmakersink today so we had to spend some time drooling over her purchases, I swear you could sell her anything so long as you made it in lots of great colours.
Tomorrow there are a couple of free music concerts at Trinity church and the Winter Gardens I hope we can go to.


Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

What a difference four weeks make. The grass outside the apartment block looks so different. Both these pictures were taken from our balcony.
We spent the day doing bits and pieces, Maria had something she needed to post. So first of all we had to find a box to fit it in. Staples didn’t have the rigth size and the one we could have made do with they only sold in packs of five. A bit of a waste since we only wanted one. So we located a post office (there’s one near Wall Street) and bought a box, some tape and bubble wrap. We were surprised at the post office, it was nothing but a glorified warehouse. Shops etc here seem to come in either real classy, wonderful fittings, fantastic changing rooms (you should see the changing rooms at SAX, 5th Ave.) or very, very basic, nothing in between.
We then had to go back to the appartment and wrap the parcel. There is a mobile Post Office outside the World Financial Center so Maria was hopeful, but of course they don’t do parcels. So back to Wall Street. When we got to the counter we were told we should have filled in the form for the insurance before we queued. Since we wanted is signed for we should have filled in the form for that before we queued. And of course we had put the senders (our) address in the wrong place, so despite the fact it was clearly marked as ‘from’ as opposed to ‘to’ our parcel would have in fact been delivered to us, instead of the person we were sending it to. Luckily the man behind the counter was very nice and sorted us out.
Tomorrow promises to be an even hotter day but I think all Maria is intending to do is a bit of sunbathing and working on a bear. I’ll just try and keep cool.


Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

A very warm day with sunshine. Maria seems to be enjoying it, but then she isn’t wearing a fur coat. I don’t think her suggestion of shaving me was very helpful at all.
We did a bit of light shopping, (her leg is still giving her some problems). Maria wanted a hat to protect her from the sun so we went to South St. Seaport, you could realy smell the fish in the hot weather. I’m not sure a straw cowboy hat is what I would have bought but then not everyone has good taste like me, and I suppose at least it is appropriate.
Tomorrow is due to be another lovely day but I think we’ll have to get down to some work.