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January 19, 2014 / Neurotypical Me.

Cafe on High.

Cafe on High..

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January 8, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

Post au revoir.

We, which I mean loosely – ¬†because basically it was Will who was on fire, cleaned and got the apartment sorted. Marcel and I put our ‘disappointed’ faces on and went back to Best Buy on Broadway and got our money back on the modem we bought ūüôā There was a 30 day return policy and no questions asked so it was an offer too good to ignore. ¬†Then we passed a shockingly good sale on yoga gear. Lululemon had tops with holes in the sleeve for your thumb ¬†– which is my ‘dream’ shirt, and fabulously long legged pants. So I had to spend the money again.

Then we were ready to go. The driver arrived and we went out the front. Then we saw the sky. It had that kind of ‘green and purple’ look we get in Sydney when it is going to hail. In New York those clouds means it is going to snow. The driver, Ibrahim, confirmed that snow was coming and that a blizzard would blow in by the next day. This made us very sweaty as we were ready to fly back and we didn’t want to be delayed, particularly Marz but I won’t embarrass him by saying why he would be devastated if we were delayed. We drove over the famous Simon and Garfunkel 59th Street bridge and zoomed towards JFK airport. Big fluffy snowflakes kept wacking the windscreen but we decided to completely ignore them.

Is there snow in them there clouds?

Feelin' groovy.

We got to the airport and checked in, had good hamburgers for lunch and decided to get rid of our American dollars. We bought really sensible things like cow key rings with ‘I love NY’ written on them (yes, one is for you Helena). Will bought another snow dome. You get the idea.

The trip to San Francisco was dogged by constant attempts to make sense of flight times and time zone changes. None of us could work it out. It was a relief to be gone as the snow continued to fall. I don’t think people flying out the next day would be as lucky. The stopover in SF was quick and painless. We boarded the UA 863 to Sydney. The plane was also carrying the USA Paralympic team who were all applauded as they boarded the flight first. It kind of gave the 863 flight a ‘community’ feel I have never felt on a plane before. We were all very friendly and thoughtful towards each other; helping lift cases, swapping seats so late check-ins could sit together, stuff like that.

Dinner was served, we played a few hands of Diminishing Whists and then we all fell silent. Time just flew, so to speak. By the time we

Very relaxed flight home.

woke up RJ had worked out that the reason that we couldn’t get the flight time and the zones to match was because we were flying against a turning world. To figure it out we would need to add the world’s ¬†turning axis into the equation. The happy discovery was that it took us so much less time to fly back from SF; it was only 13 hours. All that was left was just picking up the champagne in duty free, ringing my dad to say we were home safely, ¬†getting a cab home and picking up the dogs on the way. Mali arrived with croissants and pastries. We added a little champagne and bingo – a welcome home party!

Welcome home.

Every time we feel like nodding off we go out the back and stand in the sun! Marcel is going to go down and get the fourth season of the IT Crowd for when we really start to fade.

I have to make a confession. I just didn’t feel right not doing my blog. So here I am again. Enjoy the lovely sunny day filled with clean air here in Sydney guys.

'Lullah and friend

January 5, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

Au ‘voir.

Well this is it. My last blog. I was sad walking home last night but today I have started to get back into gear and think about packing, booking the pickup and so on and so forth. The boys are trying to keep up with their visual diaries.

What did we do on the 29th?

We decided to keep the last day close to home. We started at Loew’s and watched Sofia Coppola’s new film Somewhere which was excellent in that ‘locked off camera for that bit too long’ kind of way. She is great with characters. You have to see it if just for Elle Fanning’s performance. Then we went to Le Pain Quotidien (The Daily Bread – they are also in Sydney) for lunch so that Will could indulge his desire for coffee and pastries, for the last time. We suffered a little for his sake and kept him company with the pastries. The things you do for love. It was pretty damn delicious. We met some New Yorkers on the next table and got chatting. Will told them that we had gone to the restaurant 8 1/2 for Christmas dinner up on 57th. They said, as we sat in 65th; ‘Oh, we never get up that far along Broadway – we stick to the west side’. We are talking 8 blocks guys. It kind of reminds me of someone I worked with once who said that she would never live ‘further west than Bondi Junction’.

This is Will before he got on his bike and got fit again.

Sunset over Manhattan, from our window.

The sun slowly sets on our building.

Will is in the laundry basement showing those Latino women how to fold washing, hopefully! I am sorting everyone’s ‘stuff ‘up here in the apartment and sitting on cases so we can close them. Tomorrow we have the morning to put the apartment back into shape and then we spend close to 24 hours travelling back. Please let me know if anything happens on Friday the 7th as we lose that day completely. We fly in, having come from 27F in NYC, to 27C in Sydney.

Your trusty blogger, trying to get the slow release working on the camera.

I want to thank you all for reading this blog, sending your messages and words of advice, and even scolding me from time to time ūüôā

It has been fun and I hope you guys will take me on holidays with you next time on your blogs?

Blogs (Haiku)

Blogs, windows to worlds.

Laughing at silly old friends.

Warmer, cheaper too.

January 5, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

A Visual Feast.

MET addicts.

This morning we discussed whether to make the trek to Brooklyn and Coney Island. A lot of the attractions are closed at this time of the year but I think Coney Island would look beautiful with the wintery beach. Will did his little ‘google map directions’ thingy and we decided that it was a long way to go for a good shot.

I jumped into the void and announced that I didn’t care how ‘touristy’ it was, I really wanted to go back to the MET. I apologise in advance for being so mainstream but the Van Gogh Sunflowers 1887 has got under my skin. I had to see it one more time. Everyone was happy to do that so off we went. I think I stood in front of it for 30 minutes. Do you think it is cool to be able to photograph it? I am in two minds. I wanted to look at it and put my camera away, but then I did take some snaps. There is something so intimate in being able to see his brushstrokes. You can hear the smoosh of the thick paint.

Sunflowers 1887, Van Gogh

Just to distribute the passion, I will add that Will stood in front of Seurat’s Circus Side Show 1887-1888 for a very long time and Marcel kept appearing and disappearing looking for the Egon Schiele sketches. He is also quoting to us all the guiding notes we have until now treated as secondary to the works. Cezanne is quoted as saying, ‘with an apple I want to astonish Paris’, and he did.

RJ really actually does love calligraphy. I photographed some from the twelfth century for him so he can copy them when he gets home. He wants to use them in his own poetry book.

We had a sushi lunch and got a train downtown to SoHo. Will had heard that there was a Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (www.moccany.org) on Broadway. It was run by an eccentric fellow, no big surprise, but it was great. They had three exhibitions: Al Jaffee (Mad Magazine), Denis Kitchen and Liza Donnelly (New Yorker cartoonist). I read Liza’s biography in cartoon form. It was in a really simple style but refreshingly funny. I am the right audience for her cartoons: clever and successful….just joking, I mean I am old enough to have supposedly sorted out what ‘feminism’ actually means, but not sure if I actually have. This is what a lot of her work deals with, humorously.

Will was disappointed that there were no Warner Bros cartoons, ie: Daffy, but there was a wall showing exhibitions to come and one work was an original Dr. Seuss as you have never seen him before.

Dr. Seuss

You kind of had to think ‘boffin’ while you were there but it really was interesting. We ended up buying a book parodying literature in comic form. Waiting for Godot done in Beavis and Butthead style.¬†Crime and Punishment done in the style of Batman. I am sure you get the gist.

Marcel and I picked up some beer and went home to play cards and do our diaries/blog. Will and RJ have headed out to hear Kurt Rosenwinkel at The Village Vanguard via an Australian-themed restaurant called “Kingswood” which is owned by an old Cranbrookian. Let’s hope they make it home before they turn into popsicles.

Village Vanguard happy patron.

January 3, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

I remember you well…

…at the Chelsea Hotel!

The Chelsea Hotel

We started the day on a train to the United Nations. A clever friend of mine emailed me this morning and asked if today was a public holiday in NYC, thanks Tania, and I smiled and thought…ah! New York never shuts down…surely? Well this was true for the millions of store owners of Manhattan but no so for the UN. It was nice to see the building and the location on the water, but it was annoying that it was closed ūüė¶ We did find a fabulous atrium inside an office block just up the road. It was as big at the building itself and full of trees and a water feature. It was a little oasis.

Ford Foundation Building Atrium.

We walked back up to Grand Central and caught a train to Chelsea. I haven’t been to Brooklyn yet but so far, if I were to live in New York, Chelsea would be my suburb. It is not just because of the Chelsea Hotel and the Leonard Cohen link. It has fabulous French cafes with real coffee and great pastries. It has huge and wonderful vintage stores. It has shoe shops with excellent names. It has galleries that you could just visit instead of museums. They house artworks by Warhol, Arman, Basquait, Indiana, de Kooning – just to name a few. Many had price tags over US$20, 000. Some had no prices. We all know that if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.

It really is that easy!

We had a fairly trouble free train ride back. Thank you to my dear friend, “Slippiani” who applauded us for not intervening during the train altercation yesterday. He emailed me and said that he did not take his own advice and tried to help someone in a similar situation once, and had a gun held to his head. We want to pause right here and thank you all for your advice, assistance and support, bloggees!

January 3, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

Carl Heidenreich

Winter street scene.

Modelo Prison, 1938.

The artwork in this apartment is amazing. We have found a book on the artist and realised that there is a strong connection between the people who have so generously given us this apartment and the artist himself. When Heidenreich had his works destroyed by the NAZIs he fled to Spain (where he fought in the Spanish Civil War and was caught and tortured), Paris (where he enjoyed some success as an artist) and then New York. Charlotte Sempell, daughter of a Westphalian industrialist, had married Russian-Jewish writer Chanan Klembort (Ayaldi) in 1937. The Klenborts¬†looked after Carl and other artists , even to the point of feeding them and communicating with their families back in Germany. This all happened ¬†in this apartment. ¬†Heidenreich’s¬†works are abstract expressionist. Please see the Modelo Prison painting. He paints himself in on the far left. My personal favourite is the balcony scene. It has a Chagall feel to it for me. I don’t have all the paintings in the catalogue so I can’t name them all. A lot of his earlier works were destroyed by the NAZIs but he painted into the 1960s.

The Balcony.

Street scene.

January 2, 2011 / Neurotypical Me.

Get the Spirit!

Okay, I know….I did go back to Harlem with the Dizzler. The boys wisely slept in. When we got there we discovered that the one and a half hour service was really going to be two. We left after two and and three quarter hours. Will is going to fill you in on the details but before he does, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all the wonderful experiences I have been lucky enough to have due to his pursuit for ‘roots’ music. Sigh….with that off my chest, here he is:
Can I get¬† a witness? A-men! The Convent Avenue Baptist swung into action at 10:45 am with a group of church elders warming up the congregation with “Your grace and mercy brought me through” (in 3/4 no less!) – no harmonising but certainly spirited. Robert Wilson on organ and leading vocal was smooth and soulful and skilled in his segue for the call to prayer. The Sanctuary Choir up above the pulpit (in blue smocks) were led by an old school organist – they were well-rehearsed but sounded a tad white, singing as they were from the standard Baptist Hymnal. The offering music was the real highlight though where The Voices of Convent Choir (in mauve smocks) from down on the floor gave us two classic gospel songs,¬† “God is” and “Bless me” Great lead singers and velvet harmonies from the rest of the choir – well worth the more than 2 and a half hours of sweltering in the awesome heating of the church. Hallelujah!!

Thanks Will. May I add that the theme for the day was ‘hospitality’, which I think explains why we were there for so long!

West 144 and Convent Avenue, Harlem

One Faith, One Church, One God.I want to also say that there were some seriously well dressed people in that church, which included feathered hats and red suits – and I am not just talking about the women.

We bought lunch back for the boys and then we all went up to Lee’s Art shop to do some damage and then went to Lincoln Plaza for some boring shopping. Will hadn’t see the Dali’s there yet.

A new idea for posing next to that sculpture.

In closing I want to add that all the spirit we absorbed in church this morning got literally blasted out of us by a very large and loud man in the train on the way home. We all got onto the carriage and the doors shut before we realised that the voice in the carriage was not a friendly voice over, as all public transport has, but a guy absolutely ripping into this woman and being racist and sexist and horrible*. It went for the entire trip from Lincoln to 66th. When the woman got off the train, the people who got off with her, which included us, gathered around her to see if she was okay. It was very intense. We got the spirit pushed into us at the beginning of the day and then almost ripped out on the way home.

* I need to add here, due to the concern people have shown, that the woman had been engaging this out of control man and trying to get him to stop abusing people, which is why he turned on her. The people who got off the train with her showed support for her and two guys actually went with her to the cop at the station. There is usually a cop on most stations. I have seen them step over homeless people and pull up young African American men to check their ticket – so what they will do about our Chinese American woman’s situation sits under a very large umbrella.