i attended an alumni social event this evening. my expectations were low, so i wasn’t disappointed. i left early only to find out it was pouring rain, i did not have an umbrella. there’s no duane reade near the plaza hotel. i think the closest one is at 6th and 57th.

i huddled under the scaffolding waiting for the rain to stop until it seemed like it wouldn’t. i decided i would try to hitchhike my way to lex and 63rd. (it’s closer than lex and 53rd from the plaza hotel.) made eye contact with a guy wearing some pretty fly headphones and more importantly carrying an umbrella.

i asked where he was going. he said lexington. i asked if i could walk with him. he said sure.

i told him it’s okay if you want to listen to your headphones. he said, nah.

we walked. under his umbrella. it was still raining.

i asked what he was listening to on his headphones. he told me some house.

i asked him if he’d ever hitchhiked before. he said no. i said me neither. he said but it’s a crazy city ya know.

i had a big smile on my face because it was my first time hitchhiking. he seemed to be enjoying it, too.

he asked me where are you going. i said lex and 63rd. he said i’m going to zara.

he said that was a fun experience. i said thank you so much. we shook hands.

it was only a light drizzle at this point. he crossed the street. i walked to the end of the block and crossed.

i love new york.


ordinary delightfulness

cleaning up tonight i found a list of ordinary delightfulness from last fall:

puffy clouds

the smell of rain before a storm


mochi for breakfast

lounging with a lover

stringed quartet

homemade pancakes

making chocolate chip cookies with my mom

striped socks

socks with stars

socks that climb all the way up to my knees

glittery goodness in the sky

hello moon.

hello magic wand.

the smell of lilies, white or baby pink, roses, gardenias

running into an old but not forgotten friend

a big hug, both giving and receiving

laughing so hard my cheeks hurt

realizing something wonderful has come full circle

exchanging a smile with a stranger

coloring eggs


the smell of freshly cut grass

reading kurt vonnegut

reading an amazing poem for the first time

finding an umbrella corpse after a rain storm

a pot of brown rice cooked perfectly

the express train pulling up just as i make it to the bottom of the stairs

hearing a story of ordinary magic

freshly laundered linens


a handwritten letter in my mailbox

a dog wagging its happy tail


hearing foreign languages on my way to the train stop

falling in love with new york all over again

the smell of fresh pine

camping in a tent under a million stars

finding a beautiful rock on a hike


sharing a sunset

witnessing the power of people coming together

a cup of hot chocolate when the first cold front of the season rolls in

having an epiphany

snuggles from a cat

hearing the laughter of children….

i can definitely expand this list, but at least now i can recycle the paper that was sitting around my room.


full circle

last week when we were at the wtc memorial, my father mentioned that someone from the church where we belonged in new jersey was a survivor.  he couldn’t remember his name.  he said my mother would know.  since we left new jersey when i was 5, i didn’t think much about it.  i was certain i didn’t know him.  over the past week i’ve spent some time watching videos on youtube with survivors telling their stories.  i’d pretty much avoided most of it over the last 10 years, but since visiting the memorial it seemed to be calling me.

i’ve found the stories of survival and healing to be inspiring and rich.  it also helps me to understand human emotions and behavior.  it reminds me that all people deserve compassion all the time.  you never know what someone has experienced.  the videos i watched presented stories of compassion and love, resilience, will, struggle, triumph, loss, anguish, pain, confusion, horror, fear, bravery, anger, relief…this one moment in time had it all.

last night i came across this one, told by brian clark.  i clicked on it because he was speaking in mesquite, texas, a suburb not far from where i grew up.  i thought, mesquite?  really?  anyway, he rescued stanley praimnath and they became fast friends, brothers.  he tells a profoundly beautiful story of his experience and what he learned from it.  i started sharing part of his story with my mom today and she said, “brian clark?  he went to the reformed church in wyckoff.  he was in our young couples group…”  i found it amusing that it all came full circle.

kindness from strangers – 1

walking (on crutches with a boot on my badly sprained ankle) up my block to catch a cab to the grocery store, i stop halfway to rest.  i hear sirens.  i get to the end of my block, cross the avenue to see two fire trucks blocking the southbound (direction i want to go in a cab) side of the road.  i see cabs are turning around, not passing.  i walk down a block where the traffic is one way going the direction i want to go.   i can feel my foot swelling.  a few light cycles pass.  all the cabs are full, strange for a sunny beautiful perfect spring day.  i cross the avenue again hoping to catch a cab going northbound.  i stand for what seems like a century on the corner of 81st and york.  tons of cabs pass, all full.  there’s no way i can walk all the way to 3rd avenue.  i wait.  and wait.  and wait.  finally, i flag one down.  from behind me a woman comes rushing.  “i was hoping you would get one soon,” she says sympathetically.  “let me get the door for you.”  amazing.  i thank her.  she makes sure i am securely inside, shuts the door, and tells me to feel better soon.