Two movies, more visiting

George Washington Bridge from the Cloisters. The buildings are in Fort Lee, where I used to live.

George Washington Bridge from the Cloisters. The buildings are in Fort Lee, where I used to live.

Friday was supposed to be another visit with Mary. We were going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or go to see The Butler. Life intervened and I was on my own. I went to the Met, photographed some portraits then went to a movie, “The Artist and the Model”. I’m trying to pick movies I won’t be able to see in Pittsburgh. It was a pretty movie, but needed to go deeper, much deeper.

Saturday was a total screw-up. Phyllis and I were going to Governor’s Island. I thought we should meet at the ferry terminal, but I wasn’t too clear about where. I got there and couldn’t find Phyllis. I sat and waited for more than an hour watching a wonderful parade of costumed people going to the Island. It turned out Phyllis got there even earlier, got on the ferry and went to the island. By the time I stopped waiting the line for the ferry was too long. I just left and went shopping. Maybe I’ll try again next week.

Today I met Ellen on the High Line. We walked the entire finished part and looked at the last part being worked on. It was a perfect day for walking up there, mostly overcast, a few drops of rain, cool and pleasant, making for a great visit. Afterward another movie: Storytelling. Good film, could have had a little more editing. Sometimes we are so in love with our creations we fail to see them clearly.

Wednesday, Thursday


Met Phyllis at a bus stop and we took a very long ride to the Cloisters. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, I hated the bus ride and I thought I had seen all the renaissance religious art I ever wanted to see, but– amazing–I found inspiration for my next book. Those heads sitting on the altarpiece spoke directly to me. More about this, probably not until October.

We returned from the Cloisters on the subway; a much quicker trip. I walked around to some bead shops, returned to the apartment for a nap then met C for dinner. I am thoroughly enjoying visiting with all my friends.

Excitement about the new book kept me from falling asleep. Usually I get so tired from all the walking I fall asleep immediately. I am almost ready to go home sooner so I could go to work. Today I’ll go looking for more images.

Thursday was another long visit; this time with Laura. I haven’t seen her for several years. We had lots of catching up to do.

Trying to catch up

Looking at the rain and at the apartments across the street

\ Looking at the rain and at the apartments across the street

Another sunny, pleasant day on Sunday. I went to the 3rd Avenue street fair, which gave me a major disappointment. One reason I loved the street fairs, besides being able to walk in the middle of the street, was food, particularly “Mozzarepa.” This is a made up, probably copywritten name, for an Americanized, non-authentic, Latin American street food–a circle of corn bread (the kind you get in American restaurants), split in half horizontally and filled with yellow mozzarella (not the fresh kind), and grilled on both sides until the read was browned and the cheese melted.

I’ve been eating this high calorie, high cholesterol for years, at least once every summer. I went to the street fair looking for my Mozzarepa fix, and found a new and different arepa with mozzarella, claiming to be made with real corn. I bought one; it was certainly as advertised and probably more authentic, but not what I wanted. I guess I have to forget Mozzarepa.

Met Jean for dinner and had a lovely visit. This is why I come back to NYC year after year.

Another lovely day Monday: brunch and an all afternoon visit with Mary, dinner with Phyllis. Lots of rain on Tuesday morning. I stayed here until the sun came out, then went to see the other two parts of the exhibit about Al Mutanabi. First stop was Poet’s House in Battery Park City at the bottom of Manhattan, then took the subway up to 114th St. to the library at Columbia University. These exhibits have given me lots to think about, in particular integrating content and structure, and I really enjoyed seeing all the books. After a quick sandwich I went further north to Riverdale to Evy’s apartment where my Teaneck friends gathered for a stitch and bitch.

Busy days 2


Saturday morning was sunny and warm with much less humidity; so taking advantage of this fine day for walking.I took the subway to 33rd St to walk on NYC Summer Streets. Three Saturdays in August the city closes Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park–no cars, only walkers, runners and cyclists. It was pretty crowded but lovely to be able to walk in the middle of the street. I walked from 33rd to 45th then over to Sixth Ave to Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore, then back to Grand Central where I boarded a train for Bronxville.

Electric Wire Sheep

Electric Wire Sheep

Sybille picked me up at the station and we went to a wonderful art installation by Federico Uribe–Fantasy River–a re-creation of his childhood in Colombia made of shoelaces, tennis shoes, pingpong balls, old books, electrical wire and other unlikely items.

Shoelace Gorilla

Shoelace Gorilla

I loved the show.

Zipper tree on a fabric-leaf wall

Zipper tree on a fabric-leaf wall

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with Sybille and Howard, mostly looking at and talking about photographs.

Busy days

IMG_5828 Friday was hot and humid again, draining my energy and clouding my mind. I got on the bus thinking I’d probably go to the Natural History Museum to stay out of the rain that seemed sure to come. I walked down Central Park West and noticed, for the first time, a huge rock outcrop running from about 85th St. to about 82nd St. I know that Olmsted and Vaux moved lots of rock when they created the Park but I can’t imagine they moved that one. Tried to find more info but failed. Instead of the museum I got on the subway and went down to 14th St. then walked to the Chelsea Market where I bought some Amy’s bread twists and went up on the High Line to eat “lunch.” There was sunshine, a little rain, more sunshine, more heat and humidity.

I walked to the Rubin Museum, my refuge from nasty weather. It’s cool, calm, quiet, very Buddhist, and filled with great things to view. They had a special exhibit about Naga warriors. From pictures of their sculpture I thought this would be about an African people, unusual for the Rubin, which is dedicated to Himalayan art. It seems the Naga people come from an area of India between Burma and China. They were known as headhunters and were largely isolated from surrounding peoples keeping their culture separate. I found it interesting because of the strong resemblance to African and Papuan art. I wish someone would do a study of how this happens.

After looking at two exhibits and having a lovely ice tea I walked to the Center for Book Arts, another favorite place, this time with books and broadsides about the bombing of the street of booksellers in Baghdad. Usually when I go to an exhibit like this I am as interested in the structure of the books as in the content. In this case the content was so strong I found books with unusual structures to be distracting and actually preferred reading the broadsides, which were very well done.

Julia joined me at this exhibit and we went back to her apartment to visit and have dinner. A very full day.

Picture above is from Saturday’s adventures, which I’ll write about tomorrow.

Photomerge (Adobe Photoshop)

The blog has slowly been changing into a book. I got to March 27 and found five small images and the following: “The first sight of the park is jaw dropping. When I get back to my other computer I’ll try to put together the photos above to show the entire first view.” In the past I’ve done these merges manually. This time I decided to let Photoshop do it for me. To say I am excited by the result is an understatement. I can’t wait to find the next set of images I shot with a merge in mind.


Suizenji at Kumamoto

Suizenji at Kumamoto

Information about making a merge can be found in the tutorial section of Photoshop help under “Reshaping and Transforming”.

No excuses

Nine Mile Run

Nine Mile Run

IMG_5701 IMG_5703

I just didn’t feel like communicating. I’ve been working on my photos, remembering the gardens I visited and working on two, or maybe three new books. I’ll write about them when they are further along.

Flowers above are from a wonderful place in Pittsburgh called Nine Mile Run, at the south end of Frick Park. I walked there last week with Friend #1 and went back today with Friend #2. I’m trying to do more walking. We went to a new entrance to the park; one I didn’t know about, and took a long walk. Getting back to the car we drove to Duck Hollow where the run flows into the Monongahela River. More pictures soon.

April 21: Another flea market and window shopping

I have reached the end of my garden viewing. I’m sure there is something I am missing, but it is becoming too difficult to find. The gardens I haven’t seen require more travel time and much more walking. So, today and tomorrow, my last day in Kyoto, will be shopping days.

I started back at Toji Temple for Kobo-san, the mother of all flea markets. It was hugely crowded with people just pouring in. I’ve been at markets at Toji before but I don’t think I have ever seen so many vendors. There were produce stands, food stalls with places to sit while the food cooked, and even a flower and plant market in addition to all the antiques, kimonos, clothing, bags and lots of other stuff. The food intrigued me; many are things I can’t identify and would love to know about.

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When I finally had enough (I never bought anything) I went to the main Kyoto shopping area to visit paper stores. Much as I love Japanese papers (washi) nothing intrigued me enough to cope with getting it home. The sheets are usually about a square meter, which means carrying a tall roll and making sure it doesn’t get bent. I did it in 2007, but the papers aren’t as interesting this year and I am not prepared to deal with it. I will just have to bind my books with the stash I have at home.

April 19: Three more gardens and an unexpected lunch

As hot as it was yesterday, today had sunshine and a bitter cold wind. No wind, you were hot, wind or shade, very cold. I always feel like I have dressed the wrong way; today there was no right way.

i bought a book about Kyoto gardens that lists them by area, making it easy to figure out where to go. First on my list for this morning was Ryoan-ji, a famous zen dry garden. Although I saw it years ago, and I don’t especially like dry gardens, I decided it would be good to see again. Never know when you can learn something new. I arrived to find mobs of school tours and immediately decided to leave.

The next place on my list was Tojiin. I looked for a bus stop and found a sign for a train that stops at Tojiin. I never found the train but finally found a large sign with directions and continued walking. Tojiin was a wonderful garden. No surprises but the usual beautiful, peaceful scene.

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I had no clue about where to go when I left Tojiin. I started walking, looking for a bus stop again. I have a good bus map, so given a stop, which always has lots of info, I could figure out where and how. I continued walking, finally finding a busy street as opposed to the lovely residential neighborhood of Tojiij. The wind was blowing very hard and I was tired, cold and needed to sit down.

I walked into a small restaurant, where no one spoke English except for one customer. He helped me order and get lunch and then sat with me and talked. He is a part-time lecturer at a local university but his primary interest is photography. He is using an old Rollei, shooting 120 film and doing his own darkroom work. He gave me a copy of a beautifully printed brochure showing his work. It was probably done for a show. Nice work, very subtle. After lunch he walked me to Keishun-in the next garden I wanted to visit. I’m sure I never would have found it without him. I almost never found my way to the bus stop afterward.

Keishun-in is one of about 50 sub-temples of Myoshin-ji, which also includes the more famous Taizoin-en I visited earlier in this trip. Kaishun-in is the only other sub-temple open to the public on a year round basis. The garden was pleasant but doesn’t come close to the spectacular Taizoin-en.

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My lunch companion gave me casual directions to Taizoin-en, which would have made leaving easy, but I was not able to follow them and spent an enormous amount of time trying to leave the temple complex. Finally got to the bus and decided to visit one more garden: Shinsen-en, a small urban garden connected to a shrine, with entertainment provided by fish and ducks competing for food thrown by visitors.

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April 13: Shosei-en

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Shosei-en never appeared in any of the garden lists; I just happened to notice it on the map. It was great–another favorite.This is a stroll garden with several tea houses, a large pond and a waterfall. Originally constructed as a retreat for the chief priest of one of the two large temples in downtown Kyoto it was peaceful and wonderful and I loved it.

After I spent my time in the garden I went over to the museum where I had seen the wonderful show last Saturday when it rained. I wanted the catalog but didn’t want to carry it in the rain. I think it weighs more than 5 pounds and I didn’t think I could cope with it, the umbrella and the wind. In the bright sunshine I bought the catalog and got it back to the hotel with no trouble.