Lost between the moon and New York City?

We’ve all at one time or another felt lost unexpectedly explored a new neighborhood. One wrong turn coming out of the subway station, or one station too far, and it’s a whole different planet. The stores don’t look right, street vendors look hostile, even the pigeons look aggressive.

So what’s a traveler to do, besides keep a full charge on the cell phone and update the map applications? Depending on the time – especially at night – here are some survival tips that might be useful.

  • LOOK FOR: people with dogs. They’ll know the neighborhood well enough to explain shortcuts, and friendly businesses.
  • LOOK FOR: people with children. If the adults misdirect you the children will likely interrupt with a correction.
  • LOOK FOR: restaurants, laundries or movie theaters. Chances are, someone can quickly give directions. Also, very good chances at getting food or a quick drink if the “one stop” detour turns out to be more like 10 New York City avenue blocks. Bonus points if there’s a clean bathroom.
  • ALSO GOOD: churches. Regardless of denomination. Remember the tradition of churches as sanctuaries.
  • AVOID: businesses that have very little activity. If nobody goes in – or even scarier, nobody comes out – there might be a good reason to stay away.
  • AVOID: loud crowds where possible. Very rarely groups of people can be helpful. Trust your gut.
  • AVOID: looking lost. Even if there are no landmarks, walk and act as if home is just around the corner.

Most important: if you stop to check your phone, be mindful of your surroundings. Being disoriented is bad enough, without dropping or losing your phone.

Do you have any other suggestions for exploring, without looking like a (GASP) tourist? Share below.

Rita’s Ice – First Day Of Spring … FREE ice (and photo contest)

If you have a Rita’s Ice shop nearby – lucky me, there’s one a short walk from home – remember today is free ice day. Also, Rita’s has a photo contest you can enter on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Basic information: free ice from noon to 9 pm at participating locations, follow Rita’s on the social network you use to enter the contest, remember the # (hashtag) to enter the contest. Exact details are at Rita’s website -> Rita’s Ice – First Day Of Spring.

See you after 12 noon!

Remembering a Friend

Almost four years ago, in the town where I grew up, we mourned the loss of a man who everyone knew. A man who left his mark in the school system, the municipal court, and in the hearts of many people. Depending how you met him, you might have called him an activist, advocate, loudmouth, major pain, poet, politician, translator. What I remember best is that he shared his opinions without hesitation.

We met before I had Lesli, then when he met her he became her friend too. He gave her a nickname, listened to her, never interrupted. She always felt important around him, walked a little taller with a smile.

When he passed, Lesli and I decided to skip the public viewing and burial. I couldn’t imagine having Lesli say goodbye in public. The crowd, the emotion, the thought of having to turn our backs on the Big Guy – it was too much to face. We decided to honor his memory by blocking off time without distractions, as he had always done for us.

 We cooked the dinner that had always been postponed, and sat at our kitchen table to laugh, cry and hug each other as we repeated his stories. It was a simple menu. Pre-made pizza crusts, pre-packaged cheese and fresh herbs. We talked, laughed, smiled and recounted how the Big Guy had taken us out for a long walk. A walk which I knew had caused him pain, but he hid it for the sake of a child. When our meal was done, we got up and tried to continue our day with smiles.

Every once in a while, when Lesli and I hear certain words, or when an adult speaks to a child as if the child’s opinion matters, we think of this activist, advocate, loudmouth, major pain, poet, politician, translator. We smile to each other and whisper his name so as not to disturb the memories. To many people he was many things, to us the Big Guy was a friend.

No Stress – It’s Under Control

This is one of my favorite scripture passages in the Bible.  Every time I see sparrows flitting around on power wires, it makes me smile (see verse 26), or wildflowers growing on a mountain (verse 30), it gives me comfort to know that some things are not supposed to be controlled.
Matthew 6:25-34 (King James Version)
  • 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat , or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on . Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
  • 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
  • 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
  • 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin :
  • 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
  • 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is , and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
  • 31 Therefore take no thought , saying , What shall we eat ? or, What shall we drink ? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed ?
  • 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek : ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
  • 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  • 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

And I repeat – some things are not meant to be controlled. At least, not by me. *exhale*