The Weeklies: April 7 - 13

Sunday morning the weather warmed up, sunlight streamed in the windows. Alistair and I spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing for a brunch party in honor of his birthday. The brunch came together quite fast, and we'd only given guests four days notice, so it would be a small group. I Googled Ina Garten's brunch recipes and we decided to do almost everything from her suggested menu. Day-of I chopped celery and with a few other ingredients, blended everything into a Bloody Mary mix. While Alistair cleaned, I made a cream cheese frosting and used the technique I saw the ladies at Georgetown Cupcake employ: a heap of frosting on a silicon spatula, give it a slap on the cupcake, bounce it up and down, smooth it evenly and make sure to lift the spatula with a flourish so that the top curls. Together we made a smoked salmon, dill and goat cheese frittata. Ten minutes before the first guest, Alistair was still flipping pancakes in his pajamas.

I made guests Aperol Spritzes, or Mimosas or heavy-on-the-vodka Bloody Marys. We all sat around the sofa and giggled over typical dinner-party conversation. In the middle of a story we saw one of the guests across the street and yelled out the window at him. Alistair refused to let us sing Happy Birthday and I had so many Aperol Spritzes that I was hungover at 9 pm. 

I was fully recovered on Monday. The weather was just as warm, if not warmer, so during my usually coffee house trip before my writing group meeting I went to Madison Square Park and settled on a bench. There were dogs everywhere. Some chased the squirrels and some sniffed my bare ankle politely. 

Tuesday night Alistair and I had an event on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam, a tall ship that sailed all the way from Amsterdam to New York City. It was cold and rainy, so they put a tarp over the deck and gathered everyone in The Longroom. Most of the guests were Dutch. They told me about their lives till now, and I realized how little I know about the Dutch! Afterwards Alistair and I went to Cookshop for a late dinner. We got a corner seat with a good view of the action. It's a busy, loud place, full of well-dressed people, and business dinners and dates. My first boyfriend used to work there and one of our dates was there. In that way it has always been a key part of my early New York memories. It was only 11-years-ago but it feels like even longer. 

Wednesday night I had to run a few errands in West Village, same as the week before. I found another bench in Washington Square Park but it was cold, and the more the sun sank the colder I became. I walked through the park and noticed everyone had lined up to take a picture in front of the only tree that bloomed. Alistair met me for our dinner at Otto with a friend visiting from London. I was in a rare form, outspoken and tipsy, and feared I left a bad impression. I mentioned this to Alistair on our ride home, this worry that I've become a Levin (Konstantin!). "No babe, I'm always proud of you," he said. 

Thursday night I ran errands in Soho. Friday I left work and immediately headed to midtown to Bibble and Sip. I was a few minutes early so I took time to bathe in in the audacity of Times Square. Then sat on a park bench next to a homeless man.

"Can I have a cigarette?" he asked. As a New Yorker, there's always the moment when you have to size up the mental state of the person sitting next to you. He looked very sane. 

"I'm sorry, I don't smoke," I said. 

"Can I have some spare change?" he asked. 

"I'm so sorry, I don't have any cash," I said.

We sat in silence for awhile. It started to rain but not heavily. 

"Happy Passover," he said reverently. I decided that I liked him. 

My friend arrived and we got lattes (mine with lavender) and took them to a quiet hotel lobby to talk. I enjoyed myself very much and we made plans to meet up again for dinner someday. The rain picked up when I left. I removed my wet clothes at home and realized that I had a cold. I ordered a bowl of ramen, hoping the bone broth would help, and started packing. I would be in Washington D.C. the next day to see Philippa.

Alexa, chimed at 6 am on Saturday. I dragged myself awake, ate my leftover ramen with a shot of espresso and took a Lyft to the Chinatown bus station. Kennedy, my Montauk friend that I met through Philippa, met me there. It took almost 6 hours to get to D.C. I read and slept and looked at the expanse of small towns, and farms, and everything between big cities that I forget in my crazy vortex of New York. It was beautiful weather in D.C. We left Philippa's house around 3 pm for brunch at a Mexican restaurant on the second floor of a building. It was outside but covered by a temporary ceiling so the breeze came through. Kids in their 20s were dancing around in short-shorts and floral dresses off the shoulder.

"This is very Sloppy Tuna," I said to them, referencing one of the Montauk haunts we only started going to last year. When my Margarita arrived I smiled. "And I haven't had one of these since Sloppy Tuna." We all laughed.

That afternoon I had an embarrassment in the bathroom (our bodies are just louder than we want sometimes), but otherwise, had a great time. We sat in Philippa's backyard the rest of the afternoon and evening by a fire. When the sun went down we made burgers and s'mores. 

The Weeklies: March 31 - April 6

A rare optimism persisted on Monday and Tuesday of last week. I had plans every night on Tuesday through Friday. If only the weather would cooperate -- the temperature dipped into the thirties, I retrieved my winter hat from the closet and frowned. My Tuesday night plans were cancelled. I wrote most of the evening. 

Wednesday Philippa was in town and wanted to get a big group together to see Jordan Peele's movie, Us. I left the office just as the weather was starting to turn for the better: the sun was shining and it was at least 60 degrees. I took a walk in West Village. If you know New York, you know it's a series of forked roads and angles and sometimes you feel like you're walking in circles. I stepped where I pleased just to enjoy the weather more. I reminded myself that my season for Thursday night passeggiata's was soon, and that made a smile cross my face. I had some errands to run so I stopped in the Greenwich Letterpress, then Goods for the Study, a pen and paper shop. I bought Alistair a birthday card and walked to Washington Square Park. 

Oh, how New Yorkers love beautiful weather! Every park bench was full. People perched at the fountain like pigeons. Four different street performers competed for space in the square. I took a seat on a bench near the playground for a moment then walked on. 

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Philippa was already at the theater and we could catch up before the lights dimmed. While apart we spend weeks exchanging girly gossip and silly secrets as if they were the most important information in the world, its such a pleasure to talk in person. The rest of our friends joined us as the previews ran. The next hour and so I was completely engrossed. I loved, loved, loved Us, because the metaphor really felt complex and well done. We left the theater and walked a few blocks to a Greek restaurant for dinner and post-film discussion. I took a cab home.

Thursday was Alistair's birthday. I'd ordered him a button-down shirt from his favorite store and booked a table at his favorite restaurant, an Iranian spot called Sofreh. Dinner was wonderful: eggplant spread, chicken floating in a with Persian plum and saffron sauce, beef with spinach and prunes, saffron and rosewater ice cream for dessert. We had enough leftovers to take home with us. 

Friday I left work early for a doctors appointment uptown and immediately after, took the 7 train to Hudson Yards. Alistair bought us tickets to the opening night concert at a new art venue, The Shed. I'd yet to explore Hudson Yards. There's enough think pieces about it to slightly peak my curiosity, and having a few hours to spare, I found myself wandering the marble shopping pavilion. Everything I'll say has already been written -- but it's beautiful, it's high end, everything sparkles in a flat, vanilla, corporate way. The floors were so clean people were sitting on them, and from the top floor you can look down at walkways and escalators stacked so beautifully you think you're looking at a labyrinth or "yesterday's tomorrow today." But also, it's soulless. 

"Isn't this place so insane?" a girl yelled to her friend approaching from afar. 

"Yeah, totally insane!" he said. I popped in a few stores, and when Alistair arrived, we had a snack at Bouchon Bakery. 

It was still pouring ran when we crossed Hudson Yards to The Shed for the concert. The lights were out in the unfinished concert hall, there were DJs playing and laser lights dancing across the floor. Its nice to have a New York moment like this and be the first audience at the first concert at the newest performing arts space. I gabbed excitedly and drunk in the buzzy feeling in the air. The concert opened with the Howard University Band marching through the crowd and up the stairs of the hall. It was so much fun, I couldn't stop dancing. They had five other performers paying tribute to black music in America. At 10-something we took the train home and had our leftover Iranian food for dinner. 

Alistair planned a brunch for his birthday on Sunday. Saturday was prep day. After buying groceries and doing a little more writing, I took an espresso on the stoop and bathed in the sun. Occasionally someone would pass and look up at me. I would avert my eyes and relax my shoulders even more to make it seem like I grew up sitting on stoops. 

The Weeklies: March 24 - 30

On Monday morning I woke up feeling fuzzy and hungover. I was feeling low, even after a successful party and a good meal. Mentally, I was preoccupied. However, I had a typical day of work, writing group, the usual lonely hours in Flatiron between work and writing group. 

On Tuesday I decided that despite my emotions (mostly feeling abandoned and sad) I decided to indulge in something rare -- I was going to shop it out. I took the train after work to Soho and stopped in the Nespresso store. Then I walked a few blocks to Barbour. 

When people ask me what I want to be like when I'm older, I always see the same thing: a woman with a mature version of my face, wearing a Barbour jacket with a dog tucked under her arm. I see myself ducking underneath a Park Avenue building awning in the rain, and telling my doorman that "I don't think it'll stop today," or something to suggest that we're familiar. Obviously, I never told people this when they asked. The vision is too embarrassing, too rooted in material things. In my mind it's more about having a dog and feeling comfortable wherever I am. 

But, you see, I've wanted a Barbour jacket for eleven years now. Several times I've had the money to get one but I've booked trips instead. I opened the door to their shop and twenty minutes later and I was handing over my debit card with sweat running down my face. I left the shop feeling lighter. 

Thursday night Alistair and I attended a friends birthday party. His parents have a place on the Upper East side with the most beautiful view of midtown and points south. We left at 9 pm, and went to sleep early like old people. 

On Friday one of my new friends invited me to see Dorrance Dance (a modern tap company) at City Center. We grabbed Mediterranean food in Hells Kitchen and rushed over for an 8 pm curtain. 

"I secretly love midtown," I said to my friend. "I always agree when people complain because they 'had to go to midtown,' but I actually really like it." The weather was perfect that night. I knew I was in for a sublime evening. 

I hadn't been to City Center in ages. It reminded me of the good old days, when I had a dance blog, tons of readers, and I was really committed to being an arts critic. My day job pulled me out of all that, I stopped going to shows, I gave up on being an arts writer or a reporter at all. It's a depressing thought. At some point I had some good momentum, but I took it for granted. The critics I knew are no longer close friends. If I have any great regret in life, perhaps it's this. 

Dorrance Dance was clever and electric and definitely worth seeing again at some point. In the dark, with just my program sitting on my lap, I itched for my notebook. I even craved a deadline! How things have changed and all because of me! 

Sometimes things just fall apart.

Saturday, the sun shown and we were promised temperatures in the 60s. I put on my new jacket and took a walk with Alistair to run errands. Everyone was out enjoying the sun. We dipped into a market for lunch and bought doughnuts to-go for dessert. Later in the afternoon, I went out and bought a chicken and roasted it for dinner. The recipe I know by heart, so chopping the vegetables, stuffing the cavity felt meditative. We left the windows open and enjoyed the breeze. 

The Weeklies: The Past Two Weeks, March 10 - 24

[Ed Note: I skipped a weekly last week in favor of finishing an essay, so this week I'll be covering two whole weeks to catch up.]

Most years, at the end of March, I lose my patience with the almost-spring weather (cold in the morning, warm for four hours of the afternoon, cold in the evenings). I leave town for a week or more and when I come back its consistently warm. It's like a game: force the weather as much as you can. It's funny because I don't actually like spring. It's just another season to get through before summer. This year I won't be going anywhere. I only say this to frame the last two weeks appropriately. Mentally, I want to go somewhere and see something new, besides a potential trip to DC in early April, I'm bound here for awhile. I'll be filling most of my time with parties and outings with new friends, allergy medicine, work, writing and avoiding writing. But underneath these topical feelings (frustration and tasks) I'm dealing with a lot of deeper, harder things from the past six months. I live in a world full of people I don't understand and I'm dealing with a lot of hurt and rejection. I'll expand on it when the right words arrive.  

On Thursday, March 14, I attended a party with Alistair in a gorgeous multi-floor apartment on the Upper West Side. They had all sorts of visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians in attendance. The host put out a spread of cheeses and wine from Switzerland, including the white wine I drank while having my first fondue in Gruyere. I had been nervous about the party all day. But the guests were really great conversationalists. I felt at ease, which is rare for me in social settings.

That weekend the most New York thing happened: a slow motion robbery attempt. Alistair and I went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The waiter put our bill on a flat, tortoise shell tray and Alistair put his credit card down on top of it. In the middle of our conversation a man walked in the restaurant, reached for the card, and for some reason in a moment of panic, I managed to put my hand over it before he got it. Then, as if to take what he could get, he took Alistair's glass and drank from it. He laughed and left the restaurant. I had been so focused, I didn't notice that the entire restaurant (just a few tables and three waiters) had watched this in silence. Then the waiter said, "That was weird." They gave us a free pastry. 

That evening my sisters friends asked us to join them for a drink at a dog-friendly bar: Do Or Dive Bar in Bed Stuy. My sisters friends watch "Love Island" so we had a good chat about it and they let me hold their poodle, Cherry, who rested his little head on my shoulder.

There was an electric touch-screen game at the bar. "We're the top scorers at this game," one of our friends said. She put in a dollar and two pornographic photos of naked men came up and you had to touch the screen where there were differences between the photos -- usually a wrinkle in a shower curtain, a long sideburn on one side, extra chest hair. A group at the end of the bar saw all the naked men began laughing and filming us play. "This is amazing," they said. One of their friends arrived to the bar, looked at us and laughed too. "I love that game!" she said to their surprise. Of course, I sat there watching with my mouth agape. 

Sunday and Monday were normal days and evenings. On Tuesday I met Alistair at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, a old Navy shipbuilding facility converted into food halls and a workspace.

"They've done a good job with the Navy Yards," one of the elderly women on the bus said to a friend. 

"Yeah but I used to have the most perfect view of the Empire State Building from my living room, but they put up a condo, and we don't have it anymore." I considered this line as I entered the shared workspace at the yards, which is beautiful and modern and almost perfect. 

We attended a panel discussion on smart cities, sustainable buildings and art in Milan, and on my walk home, I realized I had missed a bunch of texts from a friend who lives on the West Coast. 

"I'm so sorry, I was at a panel discussion that went on way too long," I wrote.

"Thats the most New York thing ever to say!" she wrote back.

Friday, Alistair and I rested comfortably at home and Saturday I refused to go outside. On Sunday we used the morning for relaxing and the afternoon to prep for a dinner party. Its always the same: a four hour frenzy of cleaning and cooking and worries and then an hour before arrivals, some sort of weird elation balloons the room and when the first guest arrives, it eases to a realistic level of expectations. It was a success (I think). 

And now it is Monday. 

Returning to The Beau

I'll never forget that July, when I was at least fourteen or fifteen years old,  my sister, father and I put on our bathing suits and took the elevator down to the Beau Rivage pool. The towel girl sighed, "it'll be open in three hours. Someone pooped in the pool and we're loading it with chlorine to clean it." My father looked at the tableau: grecian style pillars surrounded the pool chairs with bright blue awnings and everyone was tanning and reading magazines. 

"We'll wait," my dad said. We took three pool chairs in the sun. The Gulf Coast humidity was stifling and the sun started to fry us slowly. We lifted the flag on the back of our chair to summon three Shirley Temple's with little red umbrellas. I flipped through an issue of J-14 magazine or Seventeen. 

From far away I noticed a man -- tall, over-tanned, perhaps in his early 40s -- approaching the pool area. He bypassed the towel stand. The attendant was mid-sentence and tried to stop him but he kept going. He took off his white t-shirt and tossed it on a chair and dove gracefully in the pool. Everyone gasped collectively. An elderly woman in a polka-dotted one piece got up from her chair, a magazine dangling in her other hand, high-heeled flip flop shoes. When the man finished his lap she ran to the edge of the pool and began whispering in his ear. He looked around, his face turning red. 

"Oh that's why the pool is empty!" he said. "I thought you were all waiting on me." The silence that had already existed poolside now felt more pronounced. 

"Yuck," said dad. "Let's hope he's having a shower." 

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I went to Alabama in 2017 for the Christmas Holiday. The plan for the day: dinner at home and then a trip to the casino. This was tradition on my trips back home visit my parents. The only question was which casino?

"Let's go to The Beau," father said, referencing the Beau Rivage by its casual nickname. I spent many weekends there in my preteen years, 19 years ago. It had such a high honor in my memories and I could count off my stories in a list: the one long lunch when mother sent back a dish and the chef came out to see who insulted his "seafood sampler"; the evening we walked from the casino along the beach for dinner and my sister had her first soft shell crab. The pool in all its Grecian-style glory! It was four feet deep all the way around, perfect for kids like us. The rooms were to die for -- floral bedspreads in a provincial style and the bathroom had a yellow and cream stripped wall paper that I adored and a separate room for a shower (which I thought was rather fancy at the time). 

Then, like much of the Mississippi coast, Katrina destroyed it. It was rebuilt, but by that time we'd moved on from Biloxi vacations to visiting New York City instead. 

"No one wins at the Beau," my mother said last winter. ROI was a major factor in picking a casino. For Biloxi casino's, ROI was basically determined through anecdotal word-of-mouth.

"You won $500 once, I think," I said. 

"When? I don't remember it." 

"The night you left us in the room and went to the casino. We danced around the room and played the radio. You called us from the lobby to check on us. You said you'd won some money."

"I left you alone?"

"We loved it.  We were so happy we didn't know what to do first." 

That night was the first time we got a taste of an adult-free world. My sister and I were the children of close range helicopter parents who only loosened their leash in hotels. We relished small things like walking to the ice machine alone. So being in a hotel room alone was a big moment. 

"I must have gone crazy," mom said as she remembered it.

Dad stood up and stretched. It had been decided. "Lets go to the Beau." 

At sundown we drove west. I was nervous. I didn't want to see the Beau Rivage through my jaded, adult eyes. I wanted to always remember it the way that I remembered it as a preteen: a beautiful, lush place that transported me from the Redneck Riviera to the south of France. I never thought I'd go anywhere equally as majestic. 

But now, you see, I've travelled. I know that on the matrix of beautiful world locations, The Beau is in the cross section of "beautiful in comparison to its surroundings" but also adjacent to “corporate” and “gauche”.

After forty-five minutes of driving a curving off-ramp dropped us right at the entrance. By god -- I craned my head out the window of the car to look up -- it hadn't changed. 

We rode the elevator to the lobby and I couldn't stop pointing to make note of a memory in a specific spot then suddenly doubting myself, Finger to my chin: “was this the spot where? Well, no, maybe it was over there instead?” The ice cream shop still sits in it's corner (we had a magical night once having ice cream on the front porch in the evening). They used to pump the same Jessica Simpson song through the loud speakers and pause it to play the theme song to their resident entertainers: Cirque du Soleil. Now? Top 40 and smooth jazz. I admired the flower boxes on the floor, a design maneuver meant to bottleneck crowds from one spot and squeeze them out into the casino. They always irked my father. Once he pulled over a bell hop and said: “can’t you do anything about the flower boxes?” And the man shrugged. “I’m giving you an idea so you can get a promotion!” he joked.

I beelined past the poker tables to the ATM. There was a delicate little Japanese restaurant with tatami floors and bamboo walls that we adored was replaced by a sports bar. "Shame, ain't it," dad remarked. Must everything change? 

I put $100 in our favorite machine. I sucked in the familiar smell of cigarette smoke and the beep-beep-cha-ching of the neighboring players. Every time I made a play on a slot machine a jolt of excitement and suspense filled my body and disappears instantly when I lose. My mother and I kept losing so we moved to a cheap machine then back to the $1 machines and lost my father somewhere. Hours went by.

Defeated we dragged our feet to the gift shops. I think at some point in my adolescence I had a Beau Rivage mug. Where did it go?

We decided to go home, but we were all stalling by the entrance, trying to think of something else to do. It was like the last night in a new city, no one wants to go to bed because then the trip is officially over. We hit the road again and crossed all the bridges I knew well. No, things are never as magical as they are when we are children. The more we leave home, the more adulthood makes snobs of us. 

The Weeklies: March 3 - 9

Last Sunday afternoon I took the train two stops to a coffee spot in Brooklyn to meet another new friend from Vina, Julia. There was a sunny nook at the front section, she got a tea and I got a latte. We talked until 2 pm, and she said: "there's supposed to be a snow storm tomorrow." I was skeptical, but she was right. My office closed on Monday for the snow day. I worked from the sofa and the window seat and the dining room table. A busy week was upon me; it was nice to have an easy day.

The rest of the week unfolded in a series of surprises. I knew that I would be at the doctors office on Wednesday, a gala on Thursday, dinner out on Saturday. But none of those things went exactly to plan. 

Tuesday night I found myself at the Westfield shopping center. For the non-New Yorkers, it's a beautiful shopping pavilion adjacent to the old World Trade Center site, but filled with high end stores. I was in need of a dress for Thursday night's gala. I'd purchased something plaid and matronly over the summer that I suddenly hated. I went into three stores empty handed, then shuffled into Smythson, my happy place. 

"Do you have the bordered correspondence cards?" I asked the shop keeper. It felt especially good to know what I was looking for and ask for it confidently, as opposed to circling the floor at Cos, sweating and telling people that it's "dressy but not too dressy," "long but not too long". The confusion of the abstract. At Smythson, I could be direct. The shopkeeper showed me their newest color: marigold. I took a box and inquired about their leather notebooks. 

"They used to be on sale," he said. He pointed to a box covered in DHL stickers. "The sale ended, all of that inventory is going back to the UK." I frowned. Then I sighed. It would just be the cards then. 

Wednesday evening I left the office and immediately walked downtown to an appointment with the ENT. I've been struggling for years with ear congestion and eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) but my old ENT had no solutions besides sending me to a pricey audiologist who told me to "watch my salt intake." There was brief period where I was told I was most likely going deaf! 

My new ENT held up a nasal endoscopy tool -- thing a big metal thing with a hose coming off of it and a camera on the end. "We'll stick this down your nose and see what we can see." 

"Can we not?" I asked. "I'm afraid of throwing up." 

"It'll just feel like a piece of spaghetti going down your nose," he said. 

"But I don't like the idea of spaghetti going down my nose," I crossed my arms. He sprayed my nose with two solutions and my throat began to numb. I squirmed when he put the tube at the opening of my nose. Then he paused. 

"Let me get the pediatric one. It's smaller." 

A little dramatic tear ran down my face and when he finished, he said: "Your whole system is inflamed." 

He prescribed me six medications (steroids and nasal sprays). 

"Can you chew the medicine?" I asked. The doctor looked up from his computer. 

"You don't swallow pills?"

"No, I can't," I said. The pediatric tubes and the chewable medicines! I'm always struggling to look older and feel older but everything I do infantilizes me further. 

Thursday evening was the big company fundraising gala. I worked the front desk (in that matronly plaid dress I'd picked before). The night went by in a flash and the new meds made me extremely drowsy (even while not drinking). Around 10:45 I left the event, hopped in a cab and went home, where another party was already in session: Alistair was having his coworkers over for dinner. I had a few glasses of Italian wine and they left at one o'clock in the morning. When I woke up for my o'clock in the morning for my French lesson, I was more tired than I had ever been in a long time.

"Weren't we such a New York couple that night?" I asked that morning. "Me popping into your dinner party straight from a fundraiser." We laughed. 

We both were in bed that night by ten o'clock. We relaxed and recouped Saturday with a light sushi lunch and dinner with a friend at a Cambodian restaurant. It was warm on Saturday and so I walked as much as possible. Sometime on a sunset walk down Broadway between Houston and 14th Street, I realized my nose was opening. 

The Weeklies: February 24 - March 2

If not for the snow I'd be grumpy about the weather. But the snow! How I love it, how magical it is, how it adds a new dimension to otherwise bitter cold. I was envious, last week Alistair was in warm Paris and all my favorite bloggers in Europe were basking in the sun. Crunching snow under my feet made it easier for me to accept that we were due for a long winter.

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Wednesday evening I took the train uptown and felt so nervous I couldn't breathe. I had an appointment to get a crown put on my tooth. I imagined the pinch of the syringe in my gums, the loud whir of a drill. I was so afraid of this appointment that I'd put it off for forever. 

My calm dentist told me that it would be easy as pie, I wrung my hands and asked him, "What's the exact procedure? I'm afraid of the dentist." 

"There is nothing to be afraid of," he laughed. Twenty minutes later my new crown was snug on my tooth, needle and pain free. I was so happy I bounced to the subway and took the train home. 

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Saturday I woke up anxious and excited. I'd had another meeting with a friend from my friend-finding-app. We made plans for tea in West Village at Luv Tea, something I'd been dying to do for awhile and too afraid to bother anyone about it. It was the perfect afternoon. We both ordered date and ginger tea, a table cleared as soon as we needed one. We had a lot in common, both having spent some time living in Florida. 

On my walk home I passed a psychic who was sitting on at a table on the sidewalk. 

"Hey can I talk to you?" she said. 

I knew this shtick. 

"Ah, no thanks," I said. I gave the New Yorker wave -- a dismissive shake of the hand down near your waist, and a shake of the head -- and kept walking. 

"But, you have a very strong energy, I can feel it," she said. I looked at her more closely now. She had her coat and scarf on, but she didn't look older than nineteen. 

"Just for a minute!" she said. I laughed, people on the street were beginning to watch. I kept going east.

Eventually I turned south and aimed for the grocery store. I saw a familiar face coming towards me on Spring Street. My ex, also nicknamed on this blog as Alistair (among many other nicknames for complicated reasons), looking giddy and smiley (most likely about something running in his head). Thank god for my winter hat, which goes to my eyebrows and covers my hair, the big coat that hides my figure, that makes me a mystery woman. Sometimes people I know well don't even recognize me this way. I popped in the grocery store feeling relieved about the lack of interaction. I pilled my favorite decadent foods into my basket: prosciutto, salmon, and coastal cheddar, and this delighted me. I'd had a good week. I had things to look forward to. 

The Weeklies: February 17 - 24

The highlights of last week: my two French lessons, the delicate snow that fell mid-week, and meeting a new friend, Madeline. 

Vina is one of my favorite apps. It's the platonic version of Tinder. I've had it almost a year but never met anyone from it. I've done a lot of messaging, but everyone I had made plans to meet flaked. Last week I matched with a girl who lives not far from my new home. We made a plan to meet halfway between our places Wednesday night at a German bar called Black Forest. 

The Girl-talk was delightful. I drank a large wheat beer (and told her the story of how my father discovered wheat beers). I had a few bites of a soft pretzel but without dinner I grew tipsy fast. I walked home in the dark recounting every stupid thing I'd said. When I got to my place, the two resident sidewalk rats, Merrill and Sandy, were tussling underneath a car. I startled them and they startled me, and all parties ran in opposite directions. 

I wrote voraciously Thursday and Friday. For the first time in awhile I felt my ideas mesh in an agreeable way. 

Saturday I stayed in and complained about the usual ailments. I woke up in the middle of the night with a stiff neck and shoulder. There was so much pain radiating down my arm that it took twenty minutes to sit up. I took a BC Powder, rubbed my shoulder with IcyHot, and microwaved a buckwheat heating pad and applied it to my neck. Then, like a mummy, lay stiff on two pillows until I fell asleep again. I had a nightmare that a man with no face was circling the bed, "Wake up! Wake up!" he hissed. I woke up, sweating and afraid. I was up till the sun rose and somehow, drifted back to sleep again.

Sunday I was determined to overcome everything that had made me sad at the end of the week. I took a hot bath filled with a half a bag of epson salt. I sunk down into the water till it touched my chin and felt the pain easing in my neck and shoulder. I could even turn my head. I dressed, had breakfast, and took the train to Soho. I had a long list of things to buy and I hoped to have solo tea at the Boise Tea Parlor. (I've been dying to have a tea service but I've been without a companion for it.) 

Because there was a light rain, Soho was empty. I browsed and eavesdropped. (I heard one man tell another man, "Because you're never fully dressed without the spring 2019 collection.") When it came time to go to tea I walked in the opposite direction and took the train home. I was having a good day and felt like a solo meal would be pushing my luck. I had a glass of wine at home and watched "Shetland” instead.