Saturday, April 4, 2009

Coffee, Chocolate, and City Hiking

My wonderful dear friend Tanya Robie came down to the city from upstate for a visit. I met Tanya during my MFA work at Spalding University. She is a radiant soul, and for any of you Julia Cameron readers out there, a “believing mirror” extraordinaire. She was only here less than 48 hours but it was an inspiring time! Thursday was one of those gorgeous days that demands to be appreciated. We met up with wonderful dear friend Sam Zalutsky (on faculty at Spalding) and spent a sunny afternoon in Prospect Park sipping our first iced coffees of the season. All of us are going through changes—new jobs/no job/finding time to write—and it helps so much to know there are others out there not living the 9-to-5 life and making it work just fine.

After Sam had to head back to Manhattan, Tanya and put on another layer (once that sun dipped down, it was chilly), then trekked through Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Brooklyn Heights and reached the Brooklyn Bridge right at true sunset. Gorgeous. There were dark comic-book clouds all over Lower Manhattan so it looked very dramatic. We then trekked back to Faan for a wonderful Thai dinner. Tanya likes to hike. We've had great hikes in her upstate town of Rosendale and at my Connecticut autumn home. This was just city hiking.

It’s a good thing we did all that hiking on Thursday, because Friday was the biggest rain I’ve seen yet in my time here. Tanya made great French press coffee, I ran down the block to Blue Sky Bakery for the best muffins in the world (blackberry plum, blueberry peach, and pumpkin apple walnut), and we wrote for hours with the dime-sized raindrops ping-ing on the fire escape.

Midafternoon, the skies cleared, the air smelled so fresh and clean (a rarity here, at least in my limited experience), and we even saw a rainbow. We did a little fun shopping, had decadent Cafe Torinos at The Chocolate Room (a cup of bittersweet hot chocolate and a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk. Oh. My.), then “discovered” the rooftop of my wonderful building (it’s been too cold until now to go up there). A deck, permanent tables and great benches. Really nice. Stunning views of Downtown Brooklyn and even the Brooklyn Bridge!

We met up with Tanya’s friend Jeff who was hitching a ride back to Rosendale for his brother’s birthday and were joined by Mikey C. for dinner at The Olive Vine before Tanya and Jeff hit the road.

Was it really only two days? My throat was actually a little sore from all the nonstop talking! Fortunately, Tanya left behind a bouquet of lilies and buckets of inspiration!

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