Category Archives: My Random Ponderings and Philosophications

Random thoughts and observations of day to day life and travels, as I experience them.

Life philosophical-izations

Sometimes I get this feeling, that Life, this mysterious silent “force” has this innate wisdom, that it is, in its range of subtle hints to blatant vivid methods, is teaching me something- helping me to realize a truth from a variety of perspectives so that I slowly absorb this truth or lesson. And then once I “catch on” to this Life and its doings, I cannot help but marvel at the mind-expanding beauty of this truth or lesson, and am immediately filled with this overwhelming gratitude.

I refer to this experience as a “Theme”…and so since the start of this year, I feel like I am going through a theme on self-realization, meditation, visualization, and experiencing each moment with intention and observation. These are a lot of words I know, but I am having a difficult time trying to capture what I mean with one word…but I suppose I could attempt to describe it using what I consider traditional Buddhist thought. And I also am self-conscious that these phrases I may use to describe this theme sound a bit “new-agey” (whatever that honestly really means anyway)– but my feelings are earnest in this and sincere.

The importance of appreciating each moment and savoring the intangible treasures and miracles really of life including the relationships we have with one another, nature itself surrounding us, to amazing meals made with never tasted before fresh ingredients– Looking back I have learned this “theme” of appreciation, gratitude of every simple thing through a variety of methods–From the past 15 years of traveling, the food, the connections with people there, despite them being from an entirely different culture, the take away is awe in humanity and the beauty of how we are all connected. This is a theme that I am familiar with and realized early on – when I read those seemingly cliche quotes I feel this immediate “yeah I totally get what they mean!”

But now, recently I feel like I am embarking on another level of depth on this theme. As if I have up until now just skimmed the surface. Like looking at a beautiful sports car and admiring it from the outside…but now I am in the driver’s seat, and feeling the raw power and taut steering– Bringing a whole other depth and level to my understanding of the sports car.

And taking this idea of Connection further, recently I have dived deeper into exploring this. We started watching some inspiring documentaries and Ted Talks (thats what happens when you no longer have cable and only have Netflix, you start exploring 😉 They make you take a step back and think of your life/world differently or through another perspective. I’ll have to look up the names to share but some of the main interesting themes were on Connection and Energy–And describing and learning about this on a scientific level, (which appeals to my hubbie and I, since we are very curious with scientific backgrounds).

We learned that there is basically a whole field in physical science dedicated to this–Quantum Physics. Here was a science attempting to describe the seemingly undescribable. What made this science so interesting was that it explored the “why” of things, whereas all other sciences explain only “how” and tied also broadly to spirituality, energy visualization – the power of one’s perspective on the actual outcome or reality.

One of most powerful recent discoveries was about your body’s endocrinology and stress- It was shown how you think about a situation can affect whether you experience the negative effects of stress (cortisol release- high blood pressure etc.) or the positive experience from stress (release of another hormone that actually stimulates a “learning” in your brain neuron connections. For so long people write off “thinking positively” as just a nice fluffy thing–but now as we learn more about our body and the truly impactful power of our mind/thoughts, we see that there is actual scientific support why it is practically beneficial to think positive.

Thus, it is not blind, naive optimism, where you just hastily brush any negative feelings under a rug. But instead it is embracing the situation good AND bad, with loving acceptance and a determination to make the most of what you have. Easier said than done at times of course, but it is always something nice to aspire towards and to remind oneself when stuck in a rut or dealing with a difficult situation. 🙂

 

Highlights of Barcelona, Espana: SIGHTS

Barcelona is such an easily walk-able city, with the majority of key sights all within an hour or hour and a half’s walk away. (That may sound like a long walk but that was the furthest point A to point B –seaside to Park Guell. Plus, you’re on vacation and what else is there truly to do but to see and hear and absorb the rich architecture,  the people, the vibe–and I think there is no better way to accomplish this than using your two feet 🙂 (or four paws if you are of the fuzzie persuasion).

This entry will cover some of the random highlights of sights from our walk-abouts in Barcelona. From tripadvisor etc. you can easily find the main attractions (which I include a bit as well), but this is mainly a spattering of random sights that personally made our experience.

As with all cities, there are numerous neighborhoods with each their own different atmosphere that all comprise the overall city of Barcelona. One our favorites to stroll around in, especially in the evening, was the El Born area. It has a lovely bustling and lively vibe with restaurants, shops–and without the overtly jaded touristy feeling that I felt walking down Las Ramblas.

 

Wandering the streets in El Born area--lovely iron work lamps and balconies
Wandering the streets in El Born area–lovely iron work lamps and balconies

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Walking along the Passeig  del Born, we passed this memorial
Walking along the Passeig del Born, we passed this memorial

 

We saw this graffiti bear (Mr. Bear we liked to call him) in quite a few places throughout the walls of Barcelona, and then later on, even as far south in Sevilla and Madrid! So I suppose, were I to regard this like our wonderful American graffiti-taggers, this bear must be this gang’s mascot. Or probably not gang related and maybe a political symbol? Or a random cartoon artist practicing his art…

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When we first arrived in Barcelona, it was Sunday, and luckily we were able to observe the Catalan Sunday tradition after mass, (called La Saldana), right outside of the Catedral de Barcelona (beautiful gothic cathedral in the Barri Gotic area.)

La Saldana (Catalan traditional dance on Sundays after mass)
La Saldana (Catalan traditional dance on Sundays after mass)
Gorgeous gothic architecture, archways
Gorgeous gothic architecture, archways
Stoic looking door
Stoic looking door
The tower (which one I am not sure)
The tower (which one I am not sure)
Catedral de Barcelona
Catedral de Barcelona

After meandering a bit through the Gothic quarter, we headed outside of it along a main street and happened upon the Arc de Triomf (it seems indeed arcs are quite popular in European major cities)

 

Arc de Triomf
Arc de Triomf

 

A refreshing and lovely area to hang out is near the harbor, with rows of sailboats gently bobbing in the water and with the relatively new Rambla del Mar walkway with curving features- further adding to Barcelona’s artistically modern and old features.

Port de Barcelona building with buttery yellow walls

Port de Barcelona building with buttery yellow walls

Rambla del Mar, and the half-arc W hotel on the distant right

Rambla del Mar, and the half-arc W hotel on the distant right

Lovely line of sail boats with a silvery sky

Lovely line of sail boats with a silvery sky

 

Fred loves to fish so of course we went to the Aquarium, and it was actually a very nice one! We saw many a funnie looking fish—I especially liked this funny freshwater blimpie looking smiling round fish. (He is related to the piranha). We tend to assign personalities to things –I think a residual child-like trait we’ve both retained into adulthood (and beyond I’m sure).

The expression these fishes had were also hilarious--especially the one on the right--he looks like he is grinning happily

The expression these fishes had were also hilarious–especially the one on the right–he looks like he is grinning happily

The grumpy slow looking Dusky Grouper
The grumpy slow looking Dusky Grouper
Mola Mola (my favorite fishie by mere virtue of the funny expression on his face)
Mola Mola (my favorite fishie by mere virtue of the funny expression on his face)

 

The next day we walked from our airbnb place in the El Born area, all the way up to Park Guell. On the way we stopped by a charming little Molika Cafe for paninis and and coffee. We sat at a small bistro table propped against the cafe on the sidewalk, with large leafy trees providing shade with speckled sunlight. We observed life going on –people parking their scooters, walking their dogs, or on their way to work, or home with groceries.

Yummie panini snack at Molika Cafe on our way to Park Guell

Yummie panini snack at Molika Cafe on our way to Park Guell

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It was a very gradual but long incline all the way–passing neighborhoods and buildings, in the hot humidity to finally make it at the entrance of Park Guell. We were greeted by two gingerbread-looking homes on either side (of actually the exit). Such whimsical structures, from the bright multi-colored mosaic tiles covering the surfaces of benches, ceilings, walls, to reddish mud colored caves. Higher and higher you can climb and enjoy views out to the sea–the aquarium in the distance. It was a cloudy day, but we were still able to see the city of Barcelona sprawling out below and beyond.

"Gingerbread" houses (Park Guell)“Gingerbread” houses (Park Guell)

Spiraling up--walkways that look like they were whimsically built from sand/mud
Spiraling up–walkways that look like they were whimsically built from sand/mud

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The famous gecko
The famous gecko
The columns look like a cartoon version of the classic Roman columns we so often see
The columns look like a cartoon version of the classic Roman columns we so often see
Tile mosaic benches
Tile mosaic benches
Rustic archways
Rustic archways
The cloudy view to the distant sea
The cloudy view to the distant sea

 

Last but certainly not least, La Sagrada Familia. When I had last come to Barcelona, the interior of this glorious cathedral was unfortunately under construction, although even then walking through the scaffolding and draping plastic tarps, I could see the glimpses of the breathtaking soaring architecture, so seemingly whimsical, free, humorous almost–such a departure from probably 99% of all cathedrals in the rest of the world with their more austere lines and shapes.   But this time, the construction in the interior was complete and it was an amazing space to behold.

Soaring and gracefully curving columns, everywhere curves, light and shadows playing at first glance carefree and inspiring fun imagination –but after reviewing the museum at the lower level, I realize that the eclipse and curving interlocking joints of the structure all have precisely calculated meaning. Overall La Sagrada Familia is a perfect juxtaposition to St. Peter’s Basilica in Roma–One ancient, austere, formal and with gravity—this one a fantastical, playful, curving light and shadow imagination–but both absolutely awe-inspiring, inducing one to feel “religious” even if they are not–both inspiring an ethereal heavenly feeling.

I especially loved the vibrant stained glass–so vivid, bright and full of life–the glass seeming to glow and splashing its colors on the smooth marble floor.

 

La Sagrada Familia--The sun came out at last (while we were waiting in line it rained-highly recommend buying it online instead of waiting in line.
La Sagrada Familia–The sun came out at last (while we were waiting in line it rained-highly recommend buying it online instead of waiting in line.

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These graceful spires look like branches
These graceful spires look like branches

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Out of Boredom

I know this about myself…or rather I have become aware –and realized this about myself: I tend to get bored easily. Or actually to be more accurate, if something is not intellectually stimulating…and doesn’t have perhaps a larger application, philosophy even on life, then it is not as intriguing to me, and hence I will lose interest.

Now, I do not approach every hobby etc, with this in mind, calculating if it has a “greater application on life”– but in retrospect (20/20 vision and all 🙂  this is more of a recent realization about myself, in this case, regarding “exercise.”

So I used to do quite a bit of spin class and SPX pilates–very challenging classes that give a dripping sweat–sometimes want to throw-up–type of hard work-out.  And these classes are great and lots of people benefit from this and love it.  However for me, after about a year of this, I noticed myself mentally starting to check-out…maybe it was just the pattern…it was the same classes over and over (to be fair, the instructors always did a great job mixing it up with different moves etc–but it was overall the same).  I would start to question myself why am I not as into it anymore? I slowly started regarding attending class as a “have to” and did not find,  for lack of a better description,  a sense of fulfillment.

As a result, I recently stopped–and started up yoga as well as martial arts (kung fu blend of shaolin kempo, tai chi (combative version) and wing chun). Just in this past month, after each martial arts class, I am consistently blown away–amazed–at the amount of nuance, complexity, philosophy that I learn, from not just body movements—but connecting that movement with your mind and with an overall philosophy (i.e. center line in terms of wing chun, or outward energy with tai chi). I feel excited by how much I have to learn–by the infinite ongoing learning/honing of the mind, body and spirit (cliche trio, but I see why its so often used!).  I also feel an immense sense of satisfaction, a deeper fulfillment from learning while at the same time getting some exercise.

With yoga—to be honest–I used to be skeptical about it. I had the narrow-minded mentality that “ahh yoga –how do you get a workout from that?” (I see now in retrospect that I had this very one-dimensional perspective about what it means to exercise—that it has to be this sweat dripping, bicep curling, squat and lunge-to death work out in order for it to qualify as a “good workout.”)  But now, in another fashion, it is somewhat similar to martial arts, by combining your mental focus, body, and this ties into a larger philosophy on life.

Overall I think martial arts and yoga represent a more holistic approach to exercise than I have experienced previously, which I am thoroughly enjoying.  After just a month of this, I feel the most healthy and happily-fulfilled about myself than I can remember. This experience (and it is an ongoing one!) has completely shifted my perspective on what it means to exercise–it can be so much more than that–its not just for your muscles, its for your overall being…spiritually and intellectually.  Cheers!

 

Ugly ah-MER-uh-kin

Every year, I attend a lovely dermatology conference in NYC–It is my favorite one to attend (great intimate meeting, compelling content, down-to-earth derms etc.)–but a huge part of why I so enjoy it, is because it is located in the heart of NYC. Cliche as it sounds, New York makes one feel more “alive”–or at least it does for me. Since it is filled with such a broad and beautiful spectrum of humanity, walking (which is my favorite activity there–at once meditative and stimulating to the senses) allows you to become immersed in it all. Also, being there by myself, it allows me to focus on observation–just soaking in the environment–and hence I think it feels a bit meditative.

So it was during an evening where I had the luxury of enjoying dinner all to myself, that I found the Japanese izakaya-ish restaurant, Sakagura.  (i will write a separate review next ;), and was also able to observe an interesting interaction that has led me to the topic of this post: “Ugly American.”  “Ugly American” is a phrase that my husband and I coined after traveling internationally and from unfortunately observing poor behavior from our brethren (not saying that only us Americans are guilty of this, but we happened to be the most frequent nationality exhibiting this behavior).

Seeing that Sakagura opened at 6:00pm, and that it tended to get crowded (reservations difficult etc.), I decided to mozy on over early. From the Yelp tips, it sounded like it might be a bit hard to find, located in the basement of a business (vacant?) building–hence why I made sure I arrived early as well. Upon arriving however, it was actually quite easy to find, with a doorman and with signs guiding you along the few turns and down the narrow stairs of the building.

I wander down the stairway and come upon the Sakagura entrance door with the closed sign still showing. Since I was about ten minutes early I decided to take a seat on a nearby bench. While scrolling on my phone, the elevator doors open and two very classically American ladies step out.  “Oh! They aren’t open yet! They say when making reservations to be exactly on time, but here they’re not even open yet!,” Lady #1 indignantly exclaims in a shrill voice. (In my mind’s response, I think “well thats because it is not 6:00pm yet, and it clearly says they open at 6…”)

I look up and notice there is also an older Asian gentleman with them (I later find out he just happened to show up at the same time as they did–and was not apart of their group). Lady #1 continues, including the man in the conversation, going on and on about how very difficult it is to find this place! (Again in my mind’s response, I think, “not really–there are clear signs directing you from the sidewalk all the way down here—the previous Yelp reviewers did not have that, and hence for them, it would have been an accurate statement to say it was hard to find).

Upon closer observation, I notice the man’s demeanor–he has this quiet and resentful countenance–I could sense his disdain towards these women, which thus made me realize that he was not apart of their party.

Lady #2 imperious that they are not yet open (the closed sign is still on the door, and again, it is not yet 6:00pm), barges open the door to the restaurant, and from where I sit, I hear their conversation. Lady #2 informs the staff that they have a reservation at 6:00pm, to which the staff politely responds, “It is not quite 6 yet, please wait…”—Lady #2 snaps “yes it is”—(and Lady #1 mutters “actually no it isn’t, we still have 4 minutes.”) Lady #2, unsuccessful, returns back out to the foyer and huffs “what poor customer service! They don’t know how to treat customers.”

Witnessing all of this, the Asian man, asks “how did you find this place” (read: how did your kind of ignorant, rude, oblivious and disrespectful people find this place??) Ever oblivious, Lady #1 cheerfully responds, that she found this place on the internet. To which the man responds with subtle contempt, “Ah, because of that it is now more popular. It is not as good as it was before–it used to only be Japanese workers and the customers were only Asian,” he pauses here, and pointedly gazes at her and Lady #2, but ever clueless, both ladies continue to complain shrilly about how hard it is to find this place, and how shockingly poor their customer service is, instead of just shutting up and patiently waiting for their originally agreed upon reservation time, and the already-established restaurant opening time: 6:00pm (i.e. not 5:53, 5:56 etc.).

Thus, observing this brief interaction and conversation of people, it brought to my mind the phrase “ugly American.” There is the obvious ugly which the women represented, and there is the more subtle and elitist ugly, which the man represented.

So a moment here on what I mean by “ugly ah-MER-uh-kin”…because indeed, I myself am an American. But what puts the ugly in front and the accent in “ah-MER-uh-kin”?

Specifically “ugly” embodies the following: It is this attitude of entitlement; it is the lack of regard for another person’s time, space, cultural differences–it is the blunt, callous imposition, the forceful “well I want it my way, or this is how it should be, and how dare you (other country, place, culture), not fit into the narrow box of my expectation;” it is the absolute lack of awareness or care, to acknowledge–to RESPECT another way of life, another way of thinking, another -period.

Indeed, the “ugly” in “ugly american”, is the choice to see and understand other things only through the narrow pinhole view of one’s own ethnocentric perspective.

So here, these ladies represented what I have seen countless other times in other countries during my travels, the cringe-inducing loud, lack of respect, entitled attitudes of mah fellow ugly ah-MER-uh-kins. When approaching a new and unfamiliar situation (i.e. seeing the closed sign, when it was definitely not yet 6), instead of respecting that hey they are entitled to be still closed since that is what their business hours state, they instead think NO all others must bend to my will, I get what I want, and I want it NOW…not later! Hmm come to think of it, very much like a spoiled little child.

And of course, the “ah-MER-uh-kin” accent aspect is merely poking stereotypical fun at an accent where one might typically find such pinhole perspectives.

On the other end of the spectrum there is the subtle and elitist “ugly American” represented by the Asian man. His language was dripping with derision and self-superiority (or maybe he sounded that way simply in response to his disgust with the woman’s rude behavior, which I could understand). But the real issue with him was his exclusionary statement (only all-Asian clientele at an Asian restaurant–and any “mixing of races” makes it bad), showing a lack of openness, a lack of respect for those that just really don’t know (although she was justifiably utterly annoying).

Openness & Respect–I think that is really what it comes down to, and what would help with both types of Ugly. Because Lord knows when traveling to somewhere totally different, one is bound to make a cultural blunder and indeed there are things that are so far out of one’s comfort level it is hard to have a good attitude all the time—But if one retains their basic respect, instead of relying on entitlement, then I think it’d help them act in a more gracious manner when faced with “not getting their way.”

So for the ladies, perhaps a little level-headed respect towards punctual people conducting business. If they want to open exactly at 6pm, you shouldn’t hate. And no, that isn’t them being rude or having poor customer service–it is about you not being patient and wanting them to bend their rules just to suit you.

For the man, representative of extreme “purists” or elitists that only 1 kind of ethnicity should be allowed to eat this food or experience this or that–be more open and respectful that they are curious enough to want to learn something new and try something different.

 

On Writing (random blurbing)

I imagine words as an amorphous mass, that are shaped and created, volumes curving swelling into a novel. How to shape this and create a unique theme of thought connecting ideas and painting existences into light. How interesting it would be to write of people, of characters and to create what one might imagine another to behave, what they would say…how they would react? But isn’t this character just a fruit of your own mind? What seeds from your life experiences did this character come from?

I imagine my xanga postings still exist somewhere. They contain my passionately learned philosophies on life–eyes blinking, opening on their own, in the wide vast world. Uncovering the mentally pre-disposed, pre-assumed, pre-formed, constraints that external entities, society mainly, put into place–a cage around my head. Unlocking the cage, removing it, throwing it down, cursing its hold or former hold, on my views of happiness, of living a fulfilled and grateful and appreciative life full of amusement and joy about the simple things—the important things. The true valued things. A steep learning curve that was…21 to 25…in just four years…the number of years that high school took place..that college took place…and hence this, my very own graduate school. I have a PhD in life…the philosophy of life…I’ve learnt it well, on my own, and I defy those crumbling conventions that once seemed as strong as steel beams, stone pillars upholding the falsity of mankind. Alas no, not mankind per say –that just sounded better hehe.

 

Adversity: becoming more human

So this whole fires experience –I am still going through it. Weds, watching the news was like watching a horrible sports game, –rooting for the firefighters and against the fire, but the odds were like the underdogs vs. the national champions. The odds were set dead against us. “May the odds be ever in your favor” a la Hunger Games…indeed were they in our favor.

Its hard to explain–its a mix of feeling despair and then dread…and tension…and then thoughts running through your head as if trying to brace yourself mentally, and prepare yourself for the worst, our home burned down by this sinister persistent fire. We are absolutely, unequivocally fortunate. Our neighborhood was set fully in the path of that fire, and it was just the whimsical chance that the winds didn’t blow north west, that we were spared.

Reflecting on these kinds of tragedies, I realize that it opens your heart, your ability to empathize, expanding your capacity of compassion towards others—because instead of just watching on the TV with a detached feeling, an almost numb feeling, intellectually recognizing that yes, that is horrible, yes, that sucks…but to actually be there, see the full devastation and awesome power of the fire, the destruction, it punches you in the face. Going through that horrifying experience of flipping through each news channel, hoping to glean something more, anything about the status of those horrendous flames voraciously eating the plentiful vast canyon of brush behind our home, like a drug addict desperately trying to get every last drop of drug–that is how we perceived each news development. I suppose its human nature to protect ourselves, to easily go back to being numb and detached. But I believe after having gone through that, when talking to someone who is going through this, you, having been through this too, are able to tap into a deeper ability to relate–sympathize. These things bring out the best in people–the unconditional selflessness that in today’s cynical society is so rarely purely seen or appreciated.

Thats the root of it…thats what gets me all emotional every single time without fail; the gratitude and thankfulness, appreciation to these firemen. They worked so hard and succeeded in protecting our precariously perched neighborhood. Thanking them, shaking their hands yesterday when they were leaving our cul de sac…then later when walking down El Camino Real, seeing a line of fire trucks drive by—I couldn’t see the people inside the truck, didn’t make any eye contact, but I mouthed Thank You…and to my relief and delight, they waved at me, acknowledging that they saw my expression of gratitude–that they knew that I recognized all of their efforts –and that made my heart swell.

So, adversity. All the eloquent phrases and quotes already said, about how it shapes you, makes you stronger—but from this experience, I’d add that it makes you also more human. And I mean human in the most positive shining way–as in our unique ability to feel compassion/unconditional care towards other humans and to feel more…our previous limits of feeling, expanded. Like a limb going through physical therapy, we may start off only having a limited range of motion…and with each adversity we can reach a full range of motion (E-motion 😉 And that, is truly a beautiful thing.

Walking around NYC

 Cafe Little Collins

Small space–New Zealand accents sprinkled in with the rush of cars honking, life bustling outside. A lovely pause in the day—cup of creamy flat white with a buttery mini cookie, alongside the aqua cup and saucer. Thick wheat toasted crispy, piled high with a smash of lush avocado mixed with feta and sprinkled with rich nutty sunflower seeds, red chili flakes and bright fresh pops of mint.

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I squeeze onto a small perch of a stool next to the narrow table. A local woman asked to share the table, gratefully–and happened to order the same thing. When I gathered my things to leave, she thanked me again graciously, and I thought to myself how kind!

Walking up Lexington towards Central Park, brisk breeze, clear sunlight filtering through swaying branches, reflecting off of high rise windows, the tint resulting in tinged yellow or blue reflections and shadows on the uneven pavement. Crossing over to Park Avenue…I understand now perhaps why so named…organized rows of vibrant red, yellow, orange tulips–Cherry blossom trees with their branches overflowing with great round fluffy bunches of pale pink and white blossoms. The petals gently scattered on the sidewalk, dancing with a breeze, gathering in larger cracks. The nannies of different ethnicities than the children whom they are pushing. French, German, Chinese, Italian–language spoken all around me…

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The Met was closed today for some reason–same as last year–and realized that it was the Met Gala–hence i continued up to the Guggenheim for some Italian Art, the current exhibit being Italian Futurism. This period of art took place from 1910-1944, and interestingly embraced war as a means for change–they were anti-stagnation and all about constant motion–bold revolutionary even. One dissonant aspect was the anti-feminism view, which they regarded as simply “cowardice opportunism.” But, by and large the influences of this period as I observed the paintings, were familiar. The imagery of robots, mechanics…I found intriguing as well was a series of photos by Weems, documenting her life as a black woman in love, out of love, a mother and single mother.

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A brief break, at the third floor cafe- lovely view of the green trees in Central Park with the gorgeous vivid blue sky in the background. A lovely shot of espresso–slowly sipping–while watching the wind blow gently the branches. Sun shining brightly…a little to bright so I jump into a kind cabbie’s cab–good hip hop playing…down 5th avenue we go, passing the large commercial shops…down down to Bleeker, West Village where the shops are smaller, streets are narrower.

Down to Ellery’s Greens–delicious curly kale salad with a vibrant apple cider vinagrette–cubes of sweet kabocha squash and marinated mushrooms–with oval firm grains sprinkled throughout. I drink the De-Tox–something much needed from the past weeks of traveling. Interesting people watching as ever, Chinese girls chat nearby, then an older gentleman with an English accent..waiting…then meeting a young bohemian type young woman…Perhaps daughter? Then I see them kiss–and think otherwise. Gazing out the storefront window, I see the fluttering shop overhangs with yet another vibrant green tree.

Before walking my wonderful 40 blocks north, I stop by a small quaint bookshop. Despite the conveniences of my Nook, I love bookstores…something about physically holding the books, seeing the book covers, is much more satisfying. I add a few more titles to my “to read” list…State of Wonder (Ann Pachett), and then Dear Life (Alice Munro).

 

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