Friday, June 29, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Friday Night from New York.

I cannot figure out how to begin this blog. Well, probably just begin it and the thing will take on a life of its own.

Last night, after returning from a long, totally engaging, profitable for the company (and maybe a bit for the staff as well, day, I as usual took my time to prepare a really supper, pour myself some red wine, sit down to relax. In my line of work I do not often sit for long.

Yesterday was the first day of our major summer sale. My shop is understaffed for reasons explained in prior blogs.

For probably 4 or 5 hours straight yesterday, I was like a racehorse with blinders on. I operated the sales register computer, with a colleague to my left folding items that customers wanted, and a colleague to my right doing the final packing in tissue paper and into the shopping bag bit.

This was without a bathroom break. Adrenalin ran. Customers were happy with bargains.

La. la. la.

Turns out that our shop had sales results yesterday way above what anyone expected. We "beat" other much bigger shops in our district. We were beaten by only one other shop.
"We" need more staff. Possibly beating the other more staffed shops will stand in the wayof our getting more staff.

But enough of the small talk. I am slurping down my pasta last night, and as I often do, listening via computer to a radio talk show from London. Cabbies are calling in, asking colleagues to try to go to Haymarket to help people to get away from that area. I was so impressed that this could be put out onto the air waves. It would never have been possible here in NYC.

Not long after, I cut my lights out and slept the deep sleep of the exhausted. It was not until this morning that I learned via cable tv what had been discovered in Haymarket. And then ... not long before I had to go to big-sale-day-two, I heard of another alarm in Park Lane.

All this in a way helps me to sort my priorities. I know that I am devoting way too many hours to my job. I have yet to figure out a way to enlighten the company to restructure the staffing of the shops. All the same, tonight I am safe. I have traveled to and from work via the subway, with the usual bums sleeping on a range of sleeping, tourists from midwest USA wondering if they are in the right car to get to the Statue of Liberty, Friday night lovebirds on their way to a night of ... could it be love, tired immigrant- and native-born workers looking tired on the way to work and on the way back, folks with their heads in tabloid newspapers, folks with their ears full of sound distribution units, folks consulting various forms of cell phones/blackberries, folks with little children (some in strollers) and all sorts of other folks.

This city is so full of energy brought daily by its inhabitants.

Today was another very busy day at the shop. We definitely will get our monthly bonus. Don't really bother with it, but know that some of my staff really do. Had a rather good actress, Blair Brown, in this evening. She is lovely, and low key.

I keep wondering where my energy is coming from. This morning when I awoke I felt so tired, and thought I saw great bags beneath my eyes, but as the day wore on, I totally forgot about that and just got on with it.

Tonight I feel glad to be living here in New York, but so very tired, and wondering how I might be able to reconfigure my weeks to get some time off. Still no good news from my assistant, the new mother.

We had rain last night (not like the rain that many of you all have suffered) but it cooled the air, and this evening is almost pleasant.

It is just possible that I may get a day off on Monday.

Please wish me luck! Or maybe just wait to see if I do take that day off!

Pleasant dreams.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Saturday evening from New York.

When I last wrote, I wondered about entanglements that I would discover upon my return to the shop from my jury duty stint.

Now I am aware of the entanglements, and wonder what would have happened if Fate had put me onto a jury panel.

My current job as a shop manager is, in a way, the easiest job I have ever had. Prior careers have required more education, more verbal and written skills, have paid more, have had their own level of stress. I still laugh a bit to think that I once thought that a position in retail that connected me to the fashion world might just be fun.

On my first day back at the shop, I was approached by one of my staff, a staffer who in the past months had been on the verge of being let go. Many hours were spent meeting with him, trying to get him to realize that he did need to improve his performance. My company is very benevolent and tries to draw the best from each employee. Well, this staff member has found another job, and has given his two weeks' notice. This leaves me just further up the creek.

I am pleased for him, and (if I were not already missing my assistant manager and the other staff member now on personal leave, related to domestic abuse) would be glad to have a chance to re-fill his slot on our schedule. However, right now I am about to be down three people. Yipes!!!

Remember all, that I already have had difficulty in finding time for days off for myself. Well, perhaps this will be the watershed that will turn the tide. (That is a lot of water-words, please forgive me, I slip in the moisture, but am dry myself and still standing.)

Other staff members now know that they really do have to help each other. So far, some have actually contributed more than they have done previously.

Upwards on the corporate ladder, others now realize that they have to swing into action to get my shop properly staffed. The coming week features a special promotional event day centered on petites sizing and also a big summer sale. If either day attracts the quantity of customer response that is wished for, we will be quite overwhelmed! I actually hope that this is the case, since I have been asking for more help for months.

I am going to have a longed for day off on Monday, and will therefore actually not go to a meeting of my fellow store managers planned for that day. Let them send me the notes! That could be the day I get that elusive camera.

Meanwhile, a bit of New York scene reportage. Tomorrow is the annual NYC gay pride parade. The route, down Fifth Avenue, passes right past our shop. It is quite a visual and aural spectacle. I remember seeing the first such parade many decades back, that resulted from a police raid on a bar in the West Village. That parade was not a spectacle but more an opportunity for many gay men, mostly, to walk along a route and thereby declare that they were gay. It took some courage to do so. Now, it is sort of a Carnival parade, with outrageous costumes side by side with quieter family members, or more subdued people who want to declare their status. As decades pass by, the contingents that take HIV/AIDS as their cause have to find ways to continue to ask for support.

As I recall, last year's effect of the parade on business in the shop was minimal. We saw and heard amazing stuff pass by our front window, but also had many customers pop into the shop and try and buy our current styles. We shall see. I only have three folks, including me, scheduled to handle things tomorrow, so hope that will be enough.

Do you see how I meander?

What I was trying to write about this time around, was the notion of how we do get off course. How sometimes trying to do something that we thought that we wanted to do, can turn out to be not quite so wonderful.

I still do like many parts of managing a successful clothing shop in New York, but so miss the freedom to pursue my drawing and painting. I have no clue now how I may be able to find time to return to my real interests and still be able to support myself. I resist morphing into a revised version of myself. I want to still recognize the version that I value. We cannot control change, and should welcome it, but even so....

Maybe I should not have read "Diary of an Ordinary Woman" while on jury duty!

Do enjoy your Sunday! I envy you your gardens, lanes, sunsets, pubs....

Pleasant dreams.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Another late good evening from New York.

Jury duty has now been completed, and I am assured that I will not be called to the courthouse again for six years. When I consider how much older I will be, by adding 6 to my current age, this is an alarming notion. I will be way past the outskirts of middle age by then. May no longer be in New York for that matter.

Do I feel nostalgia for this possible valedictory visit to the criminal court house. Possibly. As I sat during the many hours of waiting for a name, my name, to be called as a potential juror required to report to a designated courtroom, I was able to read the entire "Diary of an Ordinary Woman," by Margaret Forster. Reading that book, quickly, in such circumstances, had a profound effect on me.

Ms. Forster's ordinary woman is like me, never married, and like me, the possessor of more dramatic history that would appear from her surface. Like me, she wonders as the years of her diary writing go on, about life, purpose, beliefs, faith, family, truth, fate and so much more.

As regular readers of my blog know, I work very hard nowadays, and wish that I did not, but right now do now quite know how to change the channel, so to speak. I have had the luxury of almost two days at the courthouse to be quiet and to think.

Also while at the courthouse, my name was called, and I was called to a courtroom to hear a judge (female, possibly my contemporary) and a prosecutor, who resembled Mr. Bean, and defense attorney who had another attorney on his team who looked like the famous photo of O. Wilde, attempt to assemble an impartial jury to serve on a murder trial.


Well, possibly in self defense, so reduced to manslaughter. Victim, a priest. Knifed to death. Defendant claiming that he was sexually attacked. What amazed even me during the voir dire process of jury selection was the matter of fact way in which these facts were presented. Also, the matter of fact way in which various potential jurors answered the questions posed to them by the judge, and two attorneys. Laid many extremely personal facts before everyone in the courtroom.

This aspect of contemporary life disturbs me. A young man in a neat shirt and tie sat at the defense table. He may have killed someone. Around him circled words, technique, and some sort of anesthesia that may come from television and other modern improvements. A potential juror actually was an actress who has played various bit parts on the "Law and Order" show. She was worried that her emotions would get in the way of her evaluating the evidence, saying it is different when she reads from a script. Indeed.

I am thankful that fate did not require that I be one of those required to answer the various questions. I got a reprieve. I got to leave the courthouse today at 1 p.m.

I treated myself to another lunch in a favorite restaurant and returned uptown. I returned the now fully read "Diary" to my library, went grocery shopping, came home, dusted and vacuumed my dusty apartment. Briefly considered e-mails regarding the shop. Fearing lots of potential difficulties. Ignored them until tomorrow. Wrote up, on the computer, my notes from the five staff reviews that I have so far completed. This took two hours. Three more reviews to schedule, including that of the staff member who is on leave due to domestic abuse. (Her boyfriend could one day be a defendant, but I do hope that all stops before that point.) Called my brother and left him a happy birthday message. Called my assistant manager, the new mom, and spoke to her husband and learned that the baby is fine, and that my colleague's health is improving gradually ... she can now take clear liquids.

You can see that I am in what Jane ex might call a pensive mood. What is the meaning of all of this? For now I can see the importance of doing good, not harm, and the wisdom of chosing happiness.

Last night, after jury duty, I did return to the shop to be a responsible manager, and to catch up on the day's events. All was not well. More complications had arisen during the day, some involving additional staff health (broken tooth, nail in foot.) One cannot make this up.

Today, I refrained from checking in. I just know that tomorrow I will find all sorts of tangles, but have given myself the afternoon and night off.

Just to lighten this a bit, I do have to report that I detected not a single Prince Charming amongst anyone that I encountered at the court house. My hopes live on. Fashion note, far too many women wearing camisoles and shorts, men wearing tee shirts and shorts. Lots of people brought their laptops with them. There was a brief electrical power failure this morning that plunged part of the building into warming temperature and a dimness lit only by windows. In this city, that sort of thing can still trigger alarm. But the lights and air conditioning were restored within a half hour.

Pleasant dreams to all as we prepare for mid-summer nights.

Monday, June 18, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Monday morning from New York.

According to various magazine horoscopes that I have recently read, this is a time during which I am encouraged to go against my nature and not make plans.

Right now there is so much on my plate, that I may not have a choice...the phone has just rung and yet another member of my staff will not be able to come into work today, due to a strained back. She is off to the chiropracter.

This was to be my day off. My jury duty starts tomorrow, and I hope will last only two days.

Since my last blog, it has been arranged that my staff member with the domestic abuse situation has begun a leave of absence. So...counting the maternity leave, we are now down three people. The store continues to have lots of customers with big purchases.

I had planned to go to the store this afternoon to help in setting up the sales floor with the new July collection. Now, after the phone call I just had, I need to hit the shower, get dressed, and head on into work.

I really cannot believe this.
This blog is not well written, but surely does indicate my state of mind right now.

I am a strong person, but ....

Friday, June 15, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Friday morning from New York.

The past days have been quite full. So full, that it is now difficult to remember what actually happened when. Keeping a daily diary helps to record proper sequencing, but when time gets squeezed, daily writing gets squeezed as well.

We have had very cool weather, and at times, very wet as well. One of my favorite pairs of espadrilles are still sort of damp in the ropey sole area after an unexpected evening walk through the rain. Today looks to be a beauty, and I do hope to get out doors.

It's a day off, but work has already entered the arena, with an early morning phone call from a frightened staff member. She had already missed a day this week, and the reason is a boyfriend with big anger issues. This morning the police are involved. It is ironic or maybe just a true reflection of statistics, that our company should have recently benefitted an organization that helps people troubled by domestic abuse. Once again this morning, I have urged my employee to contact the organization and do hope that this time will be different than previous incidents.

Other serious developments, but with a happier result. I have heard from my beautiful assistant manager, and learned that she is now the mother of a 8 pounds-and-counting boy. However, she is back in the hospital herself having had a very close brush with the danger of eclamsia. She told me a chilling tale of what she has been through during the past ten days, that let me know that my instincts were correct that something was very wrong. All of us continue to pray for her recovery and that the child will be strong as well.

Another little drama for me arrived on papers slipped under my door yesterday. Sometimes when I arrive home from the shop in the mid-evening (say around 8 or so) I will find a take-out food menu has been slipped under my door. I never order take-out, but the delivery men who visit my neighbors do not realize that and still hope that I will call their restaurant/cafe.

Last night's papers were announcing that the apartment building has indeed been sold, and letting us know who the new owners are. It is a corporation with, so it seems, nation-wide holdings, including five other properties in New York. This is very different from the family-corporation that were the prior owners and may mean changes that will not please tenants like myself. We shall see.

I am a tenant somewhat protected by our rent stabilization law, and recently signed a two year renewal of my lease. So...I am entitled to stay where I am for the stated rent for that period. Seems a long time, but as I said above, time does speed past.

I did a little research on the new owners' website, and discovered that their asking a market-based rent for "my" line of apartment within this building that is almost double what I pay. Very scary. Sometimes I just cannot imagine where the money that fuels our city's real estate comes from!

Let me see if I can raise the mood of this blog.

It is a cool and clear day. I will go out, visit the green market to see what fresh food and plants may be available. I will again try to get ahold of the elusive digital camera. I will connect with my friends. I may see a movie or go to the ballet.

It will be an enjoyable day for each of us.


Monday, June 11, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Monday evening from New York.

Do you all think that a week begins on Sunday or on Monday? I can take either view, but since I always seem to work on Sundays, I tend to look forward to Monday for my fresh start on the week.

My work schedule, prepared by me, gave me a day off today. Last night I watched a bit of the Tony awards on television. These are our major theatre awards, and are a blend of artistic and commercial recognition. During the past year, I regret that I have not been to the theatre.

In general, my best remembered visits to dramas have occured in London, since for most of my adult life the ticket prices were much more reasonable in the West End, and also the plays and performances were superior. (Seen Olivier, various Redgraves, Holm, Massey, Smith, Richardson, Jackson, Rigg, Pinter, Finney, Dench, Guilgud (spelling ??,) Courtney, O'Toole, Price, Rickman, Ashcroft, and so many other fine actors.) With the dollar in the basement, I cannot travel, but also find that our Broadway ticket prices are just outrageous.

Makes me so angry to realize that I have quite lost the connection to superb artistry. Simultaneously, I do wonder if commercial interests have taken over more artistic and intellectual goals on the stage.

So...watched the Tony awards program without even knowing what the plays might have been like. I do not like musicals, even though my first New York play was the original "Oliver" and I did see Angela Lansbury in "Mame." Give me a dark, engaging drama any night.

Woke us this morning, determined to relax. How revealing is that use of the word determined. How optomistic.

I knew that it would be necessary to go out to the neighborhood bank to get quarters (25 cent coins) to do my laundry, and planned to join that jaunt with a grocery run. But before any of that could occur, my phone rang, and I heard one of my staff members angrily complain that I had scheduled her to work on an upcoming Saturday.

Let me skip past my dark thoughts about why this person should be very glad not to work on more Saturdays. What followed during that call, and many others I made trying to revise the troubling week's schedule, was a reduction of my day off, to an almost half-day off, intermingled with settling troubled waters.

Sometimes I do get quite tired. I had an hour-long nap. I went out in pursuit of my digital camera purchase, only to discover that the model I had picked was out of stock in my neighborhood discount store. More may arrive on Friday, my next day off. I will get there eventually.

It is this repeated putting off of goals that tend to make me impatient. And to wonder why I do work so hard.

Finally got the schedule re-arranged with the whiner. Think she may, or actually may not, realize that the shop is short handed with the absence of our assistant manager. Still no news of the baby, and I am getting more concerned at no news.

In late afternoon, I had a warming phone call to my younger brother, and it was so good to get caught up with him. He is off to the beach next week with his girl friend, and will soon be celebrating his birthday. Since he is the youngest, it is so difficult to realize that he is no longer young. On the other hand, it is lovely to realize that he is a pretty mature man, with a good view on life.

Today's mail brought the annual report that our U.S. government sends us about the status of our "Social Security" benefit. This is what we are to receive when we officially retire from employment, or reach an age that will entitle us to receive the benefit and still keep working.

This September, I will be eligible to receive the benefit, but delaying my filing for that benefit for a few years will definitely increase the monthly payment. I plan to delay my filing, but all the same, on a day like this, it was fun to see that another option was soon to be available. That I would not have to spend another bunch of years of days off on the phone sorting off shop responsibilities.

I have gotten the Margaret Forster "Diary of an Ordinary Woman," checked out from the library and have read about 50 pages while traveling on the subway. When I am waiting around as a prospective juror next week (for what will most likely be two days of jury duty) I very much look forward to taking the Diary along with me. Also may take the sketchbook.

Right now my days and weeks seem to pass way too quickly. I do not feel that I am achieving anything of real value, and that my dreams just drift away. I do not mean to complain, but since this is my diary of sorts, do want to lay down a marker of sorts. I wanted to draw today, but did not.

Again, the expected thunder storm has passed us by. The air has changed while I have been writing these words.

Pleasant dreams to all.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams...Eight Things

Good Sunday morning from New York.

From the silence that I sense in my building, I may be the only person awake. That is probably an overstatement, but it is very peaceful.

I am honored to have been invited by UPL to come up with eight interesting things about myself. Eight bits are not difficult, but the interesting part does slow me down.

1. I tend to take many situations more seriously than some people do. Some times this is good, but often I wonder if I can re-train myself. (If I cannot reach eight, may I stop at five?)

2. My home phone is of the rotary dial type. I have owned it for over 25 years and it serves me well.

3. I can be quite thrifty, but can also splurge when the mood strikes me. I am not acqusitive, but love knowing that very special things to buy and things to do and things to know do exist.

4. I am left-handed, but used to be able to use an iron better with my right hand. Nowadays, I rarely use and iron with either hand, since I can used the steamer in the shop to deal with creases.

5. I have had several bouts with skin cancer on my face. These required work by an expert surgeon, and decades later, one has to really look to notice the "seams." Since those experiences, I am a devotee of shade and sunscreen, and remain pale year round.

6. When I was much younger, I received proposals from three men. I turned them all down, and have never been married. I have also suffered a broken heart. I have no children. I do wish that I did not live alone, but as time passes along, it begins to seem that my solitary life may continue. Do any of you have an older brother, uncle or friend who is also eligible and hopeful? Here in New York, my friends always say they would not now introduce me to any men, because they don't think that the eligible ones in my general age group are still hopeful.

7. I used to know how to make etchings and drypoint prints, but think that I may have totally forgotten the skill. I also used to make my own clothes via sewing and knitting. Also baked bread every weekend. I still try to do some knitting, but the rest of these activities fade into nostalgia.

8. Summer is my least favorite season. I was raised in the southern part of the States, and do not like the mix of heat and humidity. Even so, I do not have air conditioning, but rely on an efficient fan to cool my flat.

That is the eight that I can manage today, before gathering my strength for another day at the shop. It is possible that I might write more of a blog this evening. Time is increasingly precious to me, but I really do enjoy this site.

Best wishes to all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

A very good Tuesday evening from New York.

Weather forecasters told me this morning that I should expect thunderstorms.
Those storms seem to have passed us by. The air is breezy now, and it is still a while until sunset.

This was my longed for day off. Last night I stayed at the shop while the monthly crew cleaning took place. This morning, when my little alarm clock did its beeping, I decided that I would get up...after a 30 minute re-entry from dreams ville.

Then, up and to the shower, and then down to the basement laundry room to take care of much overdue laundry. All done, folded, and put away before 10 a.m. Just about then, my phone rang and I had the immense pleasure to having a dear friend tell me about her just completed trip to Paris, Venice and some other spots in Italy. It is almost as good as traveling there myself, to hear what she saw, experienced, ate. (All of you, from your various locales, also help me to not feel too badly about working long hours in New York. I do thank you!)

I did a bit more apartment improvement duties, followed by grocery shopping, and lunch. Then ... it occured to me that a nap might just be the luxury that I sought. It was. In a few hours, I did wake up somewhat refreshed, and went out for a walkabout, taking my umbrella along just in case. The wind was definitely up, and the air was marvelous. My hair was blowing all over the place, not tangling mind you, and it felt wonderful.

Got home in time to do some reading, messing about in my new sketchbook with pencils, ink and paints (just trying to keep my playful visual creativity flowing without editing) and then fixed myself a delicious pasta meal, followed by scrumptious strawberries in cream. Just ate the last strawberry. Got more left for tomorrow! I do love this berry season.

Let us back track a bit. Good news on the work front. All the noise that got started at our managers meeting, seems to have taken hold. Now the former official line about "making do with the shop budget you have" has transformed itself into "lets err on the side of over-staffing, etc." I do have to laugh a bit. It is great to have one's strongly held opinion transferred to the powers that be. I do not mind a bit that someone else may champion this notion as his/her own idea. I just want the extra staffing.

My return to the shop was full of catch-up, and lots of stored up problems to be dealt with.

Some of you all asked about what I have selected from the current collection for my "clothing allowance." So far, just one light-weight ribbed linen pullover sweater in a blue-purple that we call iris. It is an easy to wear mixable piece. My allowance still allows my choosing ca. $400 more worth of items, but I am not sure what else I may take this month. It is always possible to hold the funds over to the next month and have a real splurge.

It is quite difficult to do the store managing without my assistant, but as of June 10 I will have the loan of an excellent sales associate (not an assistant mgr) from another shop. She will be with me for the summer, and I will be able to mentor/train her with the idea that she might wish to eventually become an assistant manager.

Right now, the work is strenuous, but I do feel that my staff realize (for the time being anyway) that we are all in this together. This is a major change from the atmosphere in the shop when I joined them a year ago.

That digital camera purchase cannot be too far off, so begin to prepare yourselves for an onslaught of visual imput. I know that I will need lots of tech help, and also know that I can count on you for that help when I call.

Every day when I read various postings and blogs, I continue to be encouraged by what a generous bunch of people have been gathered together here.

Pleasant dreams to all of you!


Friday, June 1, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

Good Friday Evening from New York.

Is there not a song about Summertime, when the livin' is easy?

How can I enter into the pre-summertime mood so set?

Hereabouts, the weather has left spring weeks before the calendar will announce the change.
All spring flowers have vanished. We are fortunate, however, that roses have joined the parade.
Some New York neighborhoods have streets that feature only concrete sidewalks, ugly streamlined lighting fixtures, trees that just hang on, hoping that they will survive through autumn.

I am so fortunate not to live on such a street, or block as we call it here.
At this time of year, the pear, apple and tulip magnolia trees have shed their blossoms and are in full green folliage. They are joined by mimosa, maple, ginko, and others.

My street is a mix of four/five story brownstone houses (some housing lots of tenants, some housing very lucky rich families, plus perhaps one tenant,) and a smattering of larger apartment buildings from 14 to 20 plus stories tall, built at anytime from the 1900's through the 1980's.
We have been used a film sites for movies and tv shows, like Law and Order.

Around the bases of these urban trees are often planted hardy flowers like begonias, impatiens, and colorful bits of coleous (spelling!) and ivy, etc. However, some of the brownstone owners take it a bit further and go for roses and rhodedendron, and ferns and other bits that really soften the edges of our sidewalks. The birds like it as well.

Wait a minute, I have lost my thread. I was going to say that I am working every day of the week and am so longing for a day off without guilt. Today was to be a day off. Perhaps by mid-week next week.

Meanwhile, I did go out of town (city) to attend yet another round of manager meetings at the off site location that we visited a month ago. This is an hour away on the train, and is in a direct flight path of a suburban airport. Sealed inside the conference center, one looks out the huge windows at manicured lawns, golf courses, where no one plays golf.

As one gazes through the sound proofed windows (letting the attention drift from the meeting goingin the flourescent lit room inside the huge window) one sees a quick, dark shadow. This is followed by a muffled, yet still loud sound. The low-flying jet passes across the sky to the horizon. Pause for ten minutes and repeat.

Because of this take on nature appreciation, during the two day sessions, I tried to always take a chair in the various conference rooms that allowed me to face away from the huge windows.

Enough of this criticism. Actually parts of the meetings were quite helpful and informative. I used every opportunity to lobby the power brokers for more staff for my store. In one meeting, we had a sort of break through moment, in which other shop managers divulged that they, also, work incredibly long hours, and feel that we need lots more staffing help.

(For some time I have felt that I was carrying that call on my own, and wondered if I was doing myself a damage by carrying that flag. But after these meetings, all the cats are well out of their bags, and I think that the company will be upping the staffing.)

It was so good to get out of that sealed atmosphere, and get back to the beautiful main hall of Grand Central Station last night. Even the nasty air of the subway was welcome, because of its realism.

And to return to my block, and smell the roses, and see how the impatiens have grown, and to ride the sloooowww elevator in my building up to my floor, and to unlock my door and lay my suitcase down, and remove the dirty laundry, and the heavy shoes and reports that were take-aways from the meetings, and to take my shoes off, and to wash my face and hands. Bliss to be home.

I slept so well last night. Today, I worked a long day at the shop to catch up on my missed days.
Since it was technically a day off, I tried not to get involved in customer-related activities on the sales floor, while concentrating on back office duties, but once a customer catches your are hooked! We are delighted that our spring collection is so successful; it remains difficult to fit in all the other shop duties. Today, I made sure that my staff knew how much I appreciated their holding the fort during my absence.

Everyone was encouraged to select her June clothing allowance (this means picking out some styles from the June collection that will be pretty much free clothing --- idea is that we wear clothes we like and look good in, so that the customers will want to emulate us.
We will all look freshly good in our new outfits over the weekend.

But again, I returned home in late afternoon, rode that slow-moving elevator, unlocked my red door, and entered my sanctuary of sorts. I know that I am quite fortunate to have my life and its daily events, but also feel quite comfortable in remarking on where the aching lodges.

Certainly this rambled a bit, but sometimes I do want to give you all an idea of what city life could be, knowing that it will make you appreciate your breathing room even more.

Back to work tomorrow.

Pleasant dreams to all,