What, The Last Month of The Year Already?

It astonishes me how the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, till another year is going to come to an end. Time never ceases it seems till you are caught in a situation where you are trapped in a slow train with people around you conversing in another language, you have missed the last bus at a lonely place where the ocean batters the cliffs, or better still, you are sleeping in an unreserved train compartment with batty coppers and convicts for company. And here’s time sprouting wings, so that autumn’s been too brief a spell. Sparse brown leaves cling to the branches in the park, loathe to leave just yet, dangling in the cold wind like earrings turned to a shade of liquid russet in the soft sun. The park cleaning authorities use their leaf blowers daily to collect them in piles, so that even as they go about their job, I cannot help admiring this pretty spectacle that it makes. A whirligig of golden butterflies in the air.

This is my cheeky last paean to autumn even though the wind outside is frigid and every evening walk and morning run involves filling the lungs with icy air. We caught the last legs of the season in Central Park last month when the colours in the woods had already peaked and there were yellow, oranges and reds in dribs and drabs. When we met an introvert Great Bernese, a big beautiful girl who warned Adi off with a couple of woofs. So that now I can tease my husband in the same vein as he takes off on me. Last summer in Vermont, a golden retriever with the face of a (chubby) angel and the mien of a shrew, had flown at me when I wanted to say hello. Adi has not stopped reminding me of this dark incident since with unseemly glee, saying, ‘You are possibly the only girl who has been almost attacked by a golden retriever.’

These little pleasures have been cemented by biggish birthday pleasures of a sparkler-laden cake turning up at a French restaurant which is an institution of sorts in NYC, where the food made the senses hum with quiet joy; celebrating a new holiday for us (Thanksgiving); meeting a former colleague in the city and going on walks in the tenements of Lower Manhattan where we wondered at the eccentric workings of an artist who bought a synagogue when he had merely stepped out to buy shoes; spotting migratory birds such as a Great Black-Backed Gull by the Hudson; and having my scalp almost lifted one freezing morning by a mob of gulls who were being fed by an old man (because apparently wild creatures cannot continue their cycle of life without our nosiness). That’s all in my tangled web of recollections, and oh, some portly squirrels at work too.

North Woods, Central Park



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Lafayette, NYC
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The woman at the table next to ours and I were both startled when this sparkler tower arrived at ours, and just like that, I was a child all over again. 
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French Onion Soup with beef shank, so full of flavour that you could compose a quick ode to it
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Pasta parcels called agnolotti stuffed with black trumpet mushrooms and topped with shavings of black truffle. Give me a daily diet of it.
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Grilled trout paired with coco beans and saucisson. A time to scoff and grunt with satisfaction.
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Immigrant stories. Strange cocktails, sighted in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. 
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The synagogue of Rivington Street built in the Moorish Revival style of architecture. Once a place of prayer for Romanian Jews, it was bought by a reclusive Jewish artist, Hale Gurland, who lives on top of the synagogue where you can see the four orange windows and flees from any kind of publicity.
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Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse at the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
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I got squirrels and sheep on me desk too.
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The foraging furry ones of Madison Square Park






  • Mad Hatters NYC

    A lovely send off to the short season, with winter just around the corner. And a lot to enjoy here: Central Park (for any reason), Lafayette (croissants), squirrels (of course!), and a little Kobra Street art thrown in for good measure.

    • dippydottygirl

      I think I have taken a strong liking to Kobra’s style. The pure vivacity of it!
      Thank you for the sweet words. Central Park even with fading colours is gorgeous. And I shall have to return to Lafayette for the croissants. The dessert was fabulous as was the food. I spiralled into craziness sitting there.

  • InspiresN

    The scenic views at central park are just incredible , wonderful shots! Loved that cute sparkler laden tower cake and the yummy food at Lafayette , best way to celebrate indeed 🙂 . The squirrel shots are always adorable . Enjoy the last few autumn days my friend!

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you lovely! Autumn has fled *sob. But holding on to the vestiges. I think we did not get to see the colours peak at CP. Only the sad end of it. Even then, it was beautiful.
      Ah, the squirrels, our sprightly friends. Not a single one can be boring. xx

  • Angela

    I feel like I’m there with you ❤️…. I wish I was there with you, love New York in every season but there’s something special about Central Park in autumn!

  • a mindful traveler

    Central Park is so lovely in Autumn. Gorgeous colours that will slowly be fading as Winter draws near.
    Wow, that’s one large sparkler there on your cake, I would have had a shock too if I was there.
    Beautiful recollections of the past few months Arundhati. Holiday season is approaching. Will you be in NYC or back to the fam?? Xx

    • dippydottygirl

      Hi Lorelle, thank you for indulging my random posts. That sparkler is like a reminder of the big number that awaits me in a couple of years. 😉 That would be a shock I would have to ease myself into!

      We are off to Paris and Strasbourg soon and then Delhi & Calcutta. It will be a happening month or two. How about your plans for the end of this year? xx

      • a mindful traveler

        It’s only a number dear friend. Age is something to be rejoiced each year as we are lucky enough to be here with our loved ones. Big celebrations I say 😉
        Paris and Strasbourg sound divine. And of course seeing family makes it all the more special. We are home for Christmas and New Year and then off to New Zealand for 2 weeks. Very excited and can’t wait to discover NZ. Xx

        • dippydottygirl

          New Zealand for two whole weeks sounds wonderful, Lorelle. You must be so excited. Such beauty to lay your eyes on and conquer with your senses. Christmas at home is the best thing. I miss it now that we have been travelling to India at the end of the year. There is something to be said about cooking and baking at home. Just feels so snug. xx

          • a mindful traveler

            We are extremely excited. I think we will be blown away by its natural beauty Arundhati.
            Yes, I agree. It’s those delightful Christmas smells and tastes that bring a whole new level to the festive season. Xx

  • Megala

    Seems you had a wonderful birthday blast! 🙂
    The graffiti in Manhattan street looks so beautiful, I would love to stop & watch such piece of wall art.

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you Megala. I did have a great time on birthday even though it was overtaken by pouring rain and freezing wind after. Yeah the graffiti was striking enough to make me take pictures on a horribly cold day. Certainly not the kind of day you land up for a walking tour. 🙂 xx

  • Sheree

    Those gorgeous fall colours in your photos makes one’s heart sing. Glad to see you had a wonderful birthdaycele ration. That cake was a sight to behold. I have this theory that time speeds up the older you get. Where have the last 12 months gone?

    • dippydottygirl

      Maybe one tends to live life intensely? I have no idea how I turned 30 and reached the twilight years of it too, so speedily. Cheers! xx

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you Tracey! I shall hop over to your blog to see what you’ve been upto. It’s been some time. Hope you are well. xx

  • lexandneek

    Love seeing those fat sassy squirrels in the park! You look as sparkly as the birthday cake you received at the restaurant. The thought of having one’s scalp lifted by seagulls is pretty frightening – my only experience is getting a little present plopped right on my head – those darn gulls 😉 Hope you are having a marvelous day – Neek

    • dippydottygirl

      Hey Neek, it has been long we have not chatted. How are you both?

      You are kind with the sparkly comment! As for the gulls, I would hate to have prezzies from them as much as I hate the thought of being mobbed by them. 🙂

      I apologise for the delayed reply. It was a busy weekend and today was spent walking around a cold and windy day in the city. Hope the week has started well for you. xx

      • lexandneek

        We’re doing great! Thank you. No problems about the reply – tis the season to be busy! Keep warm and have a cup of something hot and cozy. Happy Holidays my friend! – Neek

        • dippydottygirl

          That is good to hear. I shall check in to your blog and see what you’ve been upto. 🙂 Always a steaming cuppa to keep me going. I am feeling the cold more this year, somehow, yet it is enjoyable.
          Have a wonderful time too, lovely Neek! xx

    • dippydottygirl

      Oh it is, it is, and I could give it a wet kiss 🙂 Autumn being the object of my affections. I caught the last throes of it in Central Park and even though it was frustrating, CP manages to be heartwarming every time.
      Thank you for the wishes, my lovely! 🙂 xx

  • We Travel Happy

    I loved reading your thoughts once again. I could read everywhere, too, that autumn seems to have turned to winter so suddenly. Was that really your cake? That’s one special cake! Happy belated birthday, A. 🙂

    • dippydottygirl

      It was a faux cake, Amor. The French know how to add glamour without adding to the waistline it seems. 😀

      But the desserts were decadent and I could not complain. I am resistant to the quick passage of time. I want to hold onto all this beauty longer. Greedy as always. And thank you for the wishes, lovely. xx

        • dippydottygirl

          You are a bean! Non non, my lady. A bit of the goodies will do You no harm. I have had to up my workouts to balance out all my dietary profligacies. Also, I made up with real desserts right after the faux sparkler cake. 😉 xx

  • TheresaBarker

    Love the murals and the sparkly birthday tower! Welcome, also, to Thanksgiving. 🙂 We made Cornish Game Hens instead of turkey and each diner had their own chicken. Our tradition! 🙂

    • dippydottygirl

      Cornish Game Hens are so perfect! 🙂 I love their compact goodness. The perfect tradition, Theresa.

      Thank you for the lovely words and the warm welcome. I quite enjoyed it, a new tradition. 🙂 xx

    • dippydottygirl

      Right? And now the last few days of the year. Thanks Amelia. The days have been so packed with all our travels that not got to the blog yet. Central Park is an all-season beauty 🙂

  • TheresaBarker

    Dippy Dotty Girl, your top photo of Adi and the yellow leaves reminds me that this week my spouse and I went to stay for a couple of days just north of Seattle, just a small getaway before the college quarter starts and he has class every day. Super-quiet in hotels this time of year! We just went to an inexpensive lodging in Edmonds, Washington, but it’s next to salt water estuary with reeds and cattails, and this time of year it was very very brown. Everything’s in dormancy. We walked along the public boardwalk that had interpretive signs about the importance of the marsh for migrating birds, and especially the salt-water/freshwater mingling aspect of it for the birds. The interpretive signs were all lushly summer views with the birds in the background, and then when you looked up at the actual marsh, all you saw were tall brown rushes flopped over in big waves, awaiting the spring. It was beautiful in a stark natural way, of course. Thanks again for this reflection on winter and the end of the year! 🙂

    • dippydottygirl

      I have been to Edmonds because my sister-in-law’s favourite Mexican eatery is there. How very lovely it sounds…you describe it so evocatively and I can remember the way we shivered there along the water on an otherwise hot summer’s evening. It was nippy! I have a weakness for those tall brown rushes. Thank you for the generous words. I babble for the most part.

      Is your husband a professor?

      • TheresaBarker

        Yes, the brownness did not make it less beautiful, in my eyes. I can see how you would also think so, knowing as I do your gift for seeing the gorgeousness in all kinds of locations around the world. 🙂 And the wind off the water – brrrr! They have that great underwater dive park on the north side of the ferry slip, which is popular all year around, I guess maybe because divers have to get into protective suits for the Puget Sound’s 60-degree or colder water even in summertime. I remember when my oldest son was young, maybe about 10 years old, going for a picnic along that beach in nicer weather and watching the divers go in and out of the water. Fun to imagine what they get to see beneath the surface!

        Thanks for asking about my husband. Actually, he’s taking classes at the Univ. of Washington these days. They have a program where you can take any class with space in it for $5 (plus tech fees, etc., so more like $25, but still a bargain), when you are above a certain age, so seniors. He started a couple of years ago, mainly because I insisted that because he was semi-retired, he needed to do something that would spark up our relationship more than sitting around the house on his computer. Hah! To his credit he totally stepped up, and now he’s taken classes in history, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and – starting this summer – computer science, which is his field. Usually there isn’t space in the C.S. classes but for some reason in summer there were a few openings. He totally bonded with the prof, who I think was glad to have someone closer to his age in class and also someone with so much industry experience, who he could call on occasionally to talk about obscure old computer systems, etc. Then this fall my husband took another class from this same prof, and now I’m delighted that he is starting to think of becoming an open-source computer programmer, which would be a great hobby for him and also gives us plenty to talk about. We met over computer programs, so that’s a fun thing for us! 🙂

        I’m actually the (former) professor at the Univ. of Washington in the School of Engineering, and while there were many satisfying things about teaching undergraduate students, I also found that it did not leave me much time for writing. But I learned a lot while I was doing it, and I had a few students who really seemed to enjoy the classes I taught. xxx

        • dippydottygirl

          The diving sounds like a frigid but rather wonderful experience. That is something I have not experienced there. I am a hippo-sized wuss when it comes to venturing into any waterbody!

          I am so impressed by your husband’s enthusiasm in studying all over again. It must be something he is enjoying a great deal because as one grows older one starts to appreciate the knowledge we acquired in school. I for one hated all kinds of science studies, except for biology. Maybe now I would want to understand them better.

          It is a great suggestion of yours to him. I am sure you are learning new things and brushing up on old knowledge through him.

          How lovely it is to know about your former profession, Theresa! Always adds depth to a person, is it not? My father is a retired civil engineer so the most I have seen of the profession is through his drawing table and sketch pads. I am glad that you have found something you enjoy more than teaching engineering. Your students must have missed you after you left!

          Lastly, I apologise for this quite delayed reply. Just got back home from India and it is taking time to get back into the groove of life! xxxx

  • TheresaBarker

    Dippy Dotty Girl, I am no swimmer either. My family used to try to get me to swim and I just don’t like the feel of water over the face. It’s strange, I suppose. On the other hand, if it’s hot and the water’s warm, that feels wonderful. But maybe it’s from growing up here in Puget Sound, where the water is ALWAYS in the 60s F, not much enthusiasm for it.

    Oh, you just got back from India! Wow, long trek. I have friends from my old work at Microsoft (speaking of former careers) and also from grad. school whose family is in India. Takes such a long time to travel there, they often stay a few weeks. Glad you’re back!

    Thank you for the note about your father’s civil engineering profession. What type of work was he involved in, was it hydrology or roads or buildings? Just curious!

    Always lovely to hear from you, I think of you at times when I’m running – back to my baby running program after a little break over the holidays, but I’m finding I can do as much as 20 minutes with a scatter of intermittent walking breaks. Feels good! xxx

    • dippydottygirl

      Baby running/any kinda running/walking is an excellent way of engaging the happy hormones. I feel that halo of goodness every time I finish a workout/run, especially when I head out for the run.

      My father was engaged in various kinds of public works. Airports, buildings, roads… The vast body of his work was in Oman where he worked for years. I wish I had inherited half his talent when it came to portraiture and calligraphic writing.

      The journey from India to here is like a strand of the stretchiest cheese you have seen. And then some more.

      I am not a water baby. Period. We have something else in common clearly, Theresa! The last time I swum was probably in my teens and I know that I have forgotten how to. :-/

      Have a great week ahead. 🙂 xx

      • TheresaBarker

        “The journey from India to here is like a strand of the stretchiest cheese you have seen. And then some more.” Love this! Such a great phrase, very poetic! Thanks for filling me in on your father’s work. Have a really wonderful week, hope it is not too cold. 🙂 xx

        • dippydottygirl

          Hehe you are just too kind 😀 It is not too cold. Just about -8C and the walks are fabulous. As you can imagine I have shifted my running indoors. Pacing myself for my usual runs outside soon. xx

          • TheresaBarker

            Brr! -8C! Crispy, I’ll bet! I stayed in Alaska for a few days in October some years ago and it was in the teens (fahrenheit), as long as you’re bundled up when you go out, it wasn’t as bad as i thought! Here in Seattle we shiver mightily if we get anything below 32F. Hah!

          • dippydottygirl

            I hear that from my sis-in-law too. I would love to experience the Alaskan cold. Just with a warm coffeeshop in the vicinity please. 🙂

          • TheresaBarker

            That coffee shop idea is perfect. I was staying downtown at the Marriott where all the government offices are (Anchorage) and there was one coffee place right across from the main govt. building that was cute and funky and everyone in it seemed to be enjoying themselves. I remember now – it was Halloween! Many customers in costume. 🙂

          • dippydottygirl

            How fantastic! Halloween and costumes in Anchorage. I see a story there. 🙂 Hope you are having a lovely weekend. xx

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