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.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

Spring is officially here, so sayeth the calendar. We New Yorkers, however, are still wearing our winter coats and keeping our scarves, hats and gloves nearby.

In Central Park are some areas that are sheltered, and get continuous sun. In those areas the daffodils are fully bloomed out. But in most parts, the daffs are just now coming into bloom, alongside their fellow prophets of spring, the crocuses and forsythia. Tulip leaves are well above ground but the stems with the buds are waiting for more warmth.

I actually prefer this sort of cooler spring, because it extends the blooming season.

My long-lasting cough is still lingering just a little bit, but I have been to yet another doctor, a specialist, who has assured me that the annoying tickle in the throat that causes the cough will be vanishing soon.

At the shop, there are few signs that our clients are experiencing a recession. Our sales consider to be quite astonishing. We now have our April collection on display, and I have chosen a few styles to wear in the shop. (It may be spring, but my choices are still mostly black!) I have a great pair of black Irish linen cropped trousers which will go with everything, and be very cool in the hot weather to come. I also chose an interesting new jacket design in a heavy silk georgette crepe. It is about hip length, and based on a kimono shape, complete with wonderful "lantern" sleeves. I should take a photo of this jacket to show you how swell it is.

The jacket has no front closure, but I fold one side over the other, and then secure it, obi style, by wrapping around a long ecru Fortuny-style-pleated silk scarf, and tying the ends. The ends of the scarf are trimmed with beads, and the weight of the beads keeps the scarf tied round my ... 25 inch waist. I wear the jacket over a knee length black silk dress over long black palazzo trousers. It is fun to be in a "costume."

Now, even if the weather outside is cool, I am warmed up enough to respond to dear UPL's request for seven secrets, or sort of secrets.

1. I am another left-handed person.

2. I am the oldest of three children, having two younger brothers.

3. As a child I loved to help my mother with certain household tasks, such as polishing silver.

4. Being angry will make me cry. I rarely now cry from unhappiness, perhaps because I am rarely feeling really unhappy.

5. I have an old-fashioned rotary phone, and no air conditioning.

6. When I cannot sleep, instead of counting sheep, I remember the Tube ride into central London from Heathrow and try to remember the stops, and the rooftops I would see from the window.

7. I only east tomatoes in the summertime, when I can buy them at local greenmarkets from the farmers who raised them.

This afternoon, I visited my expert hair stylist who has got my bob back into perfect shape. She is a marvel!

Earlier this evening I finished the forms to file the New York state and city taxes. And ... great news is that I do believe I am due for a refund!

On that very upbeat note, I will wish all of you pleasant dreams.