Friday, April 25, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Spring is really coming to New York. The flowering trees are flowering, the daffodils in the Park and in some streetside garden plots are just about spent. We still can enjoy the colorful parade of tulips.

Park Avenue on the East Side, like our own Westside Broadway, is a wide north/south avenue, with space between the two directions for a bit of ground with trees, and seasonal plantings.
Some eastsiders only admit that spring has arrived when the tulips in the middle of Park Avenue have bloomed. Well, they have done so. And ... we westsiders can report that tulips in many beautiful colors have also performed over on our side of town.

On my own little block we have see the magnificent tulip magnolia tree that gets the sun near the Broadway corner has fully bloomed, and now is in its first green leafing. (Last year's strange weather led this tree to actually produce three generations of blooms. We had never seen the like of it, and despite deploring global warming aspects, really did like the show.)

We also have had the white flowering pear trees' spring announcement, and currently have several beautiful pink cherry trees in abundant bloom. All this really does soften our urban concrete and press and stress.

Note the segue. That cough that struck my throat back in February has not left. I am so tired of the hacking that can overtake me at certain times of day. My staff at the shop keeps begging ... go see the doctor, Again.

The shop has been amazingly busy. The financial news indicates a recession has our country in its grip. The recession does not yet have our customers in its grip. In fact, we have a beautiful spring collection, that really does appeal to real women (as opposed to some females who may appear in the adverts in the glossie fashion mags.) My staff and I can barely keep up with the demands of each day.

Our company prides itself on our wonderful customer service, and that is what we do endeavor to deliver, even when we are so totally exhausted, stressed, etc. It is up to me, as manager, to try to keep up the esprit de corps, and so far I think that has been accomplished. We just keep on exceeding our monthly sales goals, which means that we get some very good bonus checks. Tomorrow is the final day to our April retail month, and we should go way, way over that month's goal.

I remember back when I began as manager of this shop about two years' ago, and the atmosphere was so very different. I hope that you all will allow me to say that the two years really have marked a change. We have a happy staff now, who take care of each other, and the customers love our shop. Since we are located very close to the offices of the company's design team, we have benefitted from having access to that contact. Hoping that the future will continue this positive expansion, and that we do not get caught in recession's web.

Ah, but let me get back to that cough of mine. I will have next week off, and will be attending to various overdue medical appointments (dentist, eye doc) but today I tried to connect with the specialist whom I saw last month about this persistent cough. He is on vacation until May 5. Undaunted, I called my gp and got to see him this afternoon.

He assures me that the cough will go away. That he sees nothing serious. But he has gotten me an official request for a chest x-ray. I will do that next week. When I told him about all the renovation work being done in this apartment building over the past months, my doctor said that could also be a factor.

So. Right now I am not coughing. Before the hour is out, I am sure that I will have another big spasm of coughing, ejecting stuff that I will not trouble your dreams by a description. Awkward sentence that one, but still you won't get a description.

Tomorrow, it is back to work for that one last day before the week off. I have left my assistant a long, long list of things to do, think of doing, wonder about doing. I so hope that next week lasts longer than a week.

I want to see friends, do some artwork, have that x-ray, see my dentist and eye doc, and get out to the park, and just relax.

Pleasant dreams to all.


  1. You really seem to be due for a wonderful refreshing spring break.
    Sounds as if the weather is excellent.
    We just spoke to our son in Tappan who says the weather has been lovely.
    It was 98f in Marrakech yesterday - too hot.
    See you in June.

  2. Frances, please, please, please, look after yourself and sort that cough out...
    Working in a happy retail environment is so rewarding and your description brought back memories of my last job - happy work force means more productivity and a strong, skilled manager will achieve that great mix of 'buzz' and work satisfaction - so you deserve your pat on the back. :)
    I loved your story of the autograph hound, have never heard of them - maybe they are due for a re-launch!

  3. Oh Frances, it is time you went to your DR. I'm so pleased you will have the week off and can fit in all these very important things.
    In the intervening time, try to get some rest, feet up, head resting on lovely lacy pillow! and steaming cup of tisane is what I reccommend.

  4. Glad to hear spring is progressing in NYC. I think we've all been beguiled by an early Easter and are expecting things to be ahead of their time.

    Do take care of yourself and that dratted cough. It may well be the dust from the building work causing the problem.

    Congratulations on making your business such a sucess - you must have the golden touch. Have a good week off.

  5. You have totally changed my view of New York. I never imagined there would be any space for grass let alone tulips.
    Do take care of your health. Hopefully the return of fine weather will be an enormous help, meanwhile keep well away from the dust thrown up by that renovation.

  6. Yes, make sure you do look after yourself - it's so easy to put those essentials off. The reason the shop is happy is because of you - another reason why you should nurture yourself. And please may we have a photo of the beautiful jacket you describe in your previous post?

  7. Interesting post Frances. Sounds like you've done a lot in your two years at the shop. You really do need to get that cough sorted out - its been a while. Keep on til you get the right treatment. Best wishes and enjoy your deserved break.

  8. Dear Frances,

    A happy shop because of it's happy Manager, you Frances, and all due to your hard efforts of creativity.

    So sorry to hear that you still have that cough Frances, let us know how X-Ray results go next week.

    Enjoy your week's vacation from work Frances, to walk in central park, paint, and to enjoy the company of one's friends.


  9. You make Spring in New York sound so beautiful. Big a on the back I think for you ,for keeping your troop upbeat and exceeding sales so where are you going to travel with this bonus you have so richly deserved..a short trip to Marroc perhaps? London? Paris? Rome? Go woman go, bit of clean foriegn air is what your chest needs..

  10. The fact that your shop at the other side of the world is busy gives me some hope that all will be well with our new ventures. I will be doing some of the big fairs soon now that i have my insurance and marquee, i just need stock to fill it.
    Now you dear francis go to your appointments but above all rest and relaxation is needed and switch of your phone xxoo

  11. Wow Frances your tales of your work always fascinate me and you have clearly achieved alot and not least in pulling together a happy workforce.

    You deserve a break, but yes please please get that cough checked again.

  12. Oops, I missed this one Frances. Can't believe you still have that awful cough, you poor thing; sounds like a proper rest is needed (if only I can hear you sigh!) xx

  13. Do hope your cough gets better soon, Frances. Maybe the warmer weather will help - and lots of vitamin C.

    Glad the shop is doing so well. Elder Daughter was a manager with Body Shop for ten years and she managed to increase the turnover in every store she took over. She is very good at motivating people and she says retail is all about giving people a good customer experience in the shop, smiling and being there and positive for them so that they feel welcome and happy. Sounds as if you two could compare a lot of notes.

  14. Caught this way too late..... Would love to see a pic of your magnolia - it sounds wonderful.