the weekend

31 July 2005

Michael, it seems you and Alicia, Steph and Billy are relaxing and enjoying your Sea Trail weekend. It also seems that a nice group can make a business trip into something more. You’d be the first to say yes to that.
I spent Saturday apartment hunting with Natalie (for Natalie) in Jackson Heights, Queens. Wow! What a change from the time I was last there as a naive girl from NH. There’s a big Indian population and as you walk past some of the neighborhoods there’s a wonderful curry fragrance in the air. We discovered fun markets and Italian and Argentine restaurants which have to be experienced in the near future.
Natalie had an appointment with a realtor who brought us to her Forest Hills office, after which we discovered an excellent bagel, danish and good coffee place. Of course, we had to test the big blueberry danish because of the need to alleviate stress due to walking and apartment hunting in July’s high humidity.
I stayed in Panama City and Boquete, Panama for four months and don’t remember feeling the humidity as I do now in Manhattan. Is it all the concrete? Or a failed memory?

Note to self: Just enjoy the rest of the summer.

Two questions to ask of the day: 1. If I could live anywhere in the world, where would I choose to live? Why? 2. If I could do anything in the world, what would I do? Why?

Michael, what do you mean by “ride people?”

ireland can sometimes be wet

Around the year 2002, I began traveling with lots of anxiety, lots of inexperience and a big suitcase. I took off into the friendly skies and headed for Ireland. I decided to go there for the simple reason that I had to make a decision, and, at that time in my traveling life, it seemed one place was as good as another. It’s a weak reason, but as it turned out, it was a good choice. I liked Ireland; the public transportation is efficient and convenient, English is spoken, Irish people are friendly and they are great storytellers, and there are stunning sites in Ireland. How can one go wrong? I’ll tell you how: not paying attention to the weather.

People would say, ‘Why didn’t you come last month? -That’s the best time.” Luckily, my hooded, long raincoat and a pair of shoes that could stand up to any downpour were perfect – most of the time. I will always remember Galway and Connemara for the times I was caught in heavy winds and buckets of rain. I was whipped into traveling shape with those experiences. And I remember exactly where I was when Venice popped into my mind. I was facing Galway Bay, walking from town to a B&B when the rains came. There was no place to go, and it felt like a beating. I was soaking wet, and when the worst was over I continued walking to the B&B. Along the way, I remembered reading about Venice in a thin book I’d bought at a shop in Galway, and I grabbed onto that thought. Venice? Why not?

I came through that traveling experience in Ireland intact, mostly due to the kindness of people I met along the way. Not that I made any effort to meet people. No. I was too busy keeping myself together dragging a big suitcase from one B&B place to another. The B&B package I’d bought Stateside made the trip a bit difficult because tourists from other countries had a similar package, and the owners of the B&Bs wanted money in hand, not a voucher. I don’t blame them. But because of this, I had to spent a lot of time on the phone inquiring about availability.

Maybe someday I’ll return to Ireland; it will be when the sun is shining, the days are warm, and people say, “You’re lucky. This is the best time to be here.”

zabar’s and the apartment hunt

It’s a hot Monday. And a humid one. I promised to help someone find an apartment within the next six weeks. And so I will; I think. Manhattan in the summer with its concrete and crowds can be trying, but with its cafes it’s quite tolerable. The upper west side where I am now has many small interesting shops and really good eating places. The trick today is to focus on looking for an apartment and not fall into any shops. I watch one man walking pass me dressed in a suit jacket. He’s fading fast.

After a sixteen block walk, my shirt is soaked from the humidity, so I slip into Zabar’s at 2245 Broadway @ 80th Street, and buy a “$4.98 Pastrami on classic rye, mustard, and mayonnaise on the side, a pickle and 70 years of experience.” That’s what the wrapper of my sandwich says. It also states, “New York is Zabar’s Zabar’s is New York” I linger a bit before purchasing the sandwich letting the air conditioning revive me. I think, yes, Zabar’s truly does belong to New York. Its customers know how to shove their way into any area to get what they want, and the cashiers give the customers a touch of service and no more. It’s all all right because where food is concerned, Zabar’s does it right.

I decide to not eat at Zabar’s corner cafe. I walk to 86th Street, then stroll east at Broadway checking in with the doormen along the way to inquire about apartments. The first doorman tells me that the rent begins around $2800 a month for a studio. I tell him that I will think about that. (Laughter is good for the heart. And now I have something really funny to laugh about when I get back to where I’m staying). After speaking to a few more doormen, I walk to Central Park and find a solitary bench where there is not much foot traffic. I open the wrapper and eat the pastrami sandwich. It’s tasty, but the sweat dripping down my back forces me to vacate my bench immediately after eating.

I walk west again on 86th Street and realize that I’m going nowhere fast. There’s a Starbucks on Columbus Ave and 86th Street. I open the door, and true to form, most of the customers have either a book, newspaper, computer or pen and paper in front of them. I buy a San Pellegrino water. I’ll be out the door in ten minutes, I promise myself as I sit at the one table left. It feels so good to be right where I am.

I hope that whatever you’re doing, you’re absolutely fine, too.


July 9, Saturday, was a perfect day to go to Strawberry FIelds. A steady stream of people, mostly tourists from many countries, strolled past and took pictures or sat quietly. A guitar player sitting on a bench steadily played the Beatles music. And I was surprised to see so many people staying to enjoy the stillness and the music. So, I sat and watched and stayed for a long time. A man in his thirties got up from time to time to rearrange the roses and remove any little leaf or paper that fell. I wondered whether he appointed himself caretaker of the area. I stayed because I didn’t feel like leaving that pocket of quietness. Pictures continued to be taken and when the guitarist played “Imagine All The People Living Life In Peace” we sang, we hummed, we reflected. I was so glad to be in this place at this time. It was a fine place to reflect on peace for our world.

A second guitarist arrived to play, and the one who’d been playing placed his guitar on the ground. I didn’t want to leave, but it was time. It was a lovely peaceful Saturday afternoon in Manhattan. And the peace was felt by all those who were there. And that’s very good.


This is an opening… An invitation to all curious minds, readers & writers journeying around the net, day or night in search of a creative connection. What better combination than a mother & son with different views & styles but one common goal: to write, provoke thought, and entertain.

Welcome to our little humble abode.

Frances & Michael