Wednesday, August 31, 2005

out of town

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate everyone's
thoughts, love, prayers, and support. I will be out of
town for the next couple of days and don't know how
much email access I will have so don't panic and think
I've headed to New Orleans like a fool (which I would
be if I left for home right now) or am raving on the
streets of New York. I'll be with friends in DC and
out of NYC til Sunday.

Please, keep praying even if you don't believe in a
God. I know that is tacky of me to say, but so be it.
At this point, we need all the help we can get. If you
want to do something, please make a contribution to
the American Red Cross or any of the official charity
organizations. I am sure it will be easy to find that
information if you google it. NOLA needs help. It is
truly a tragedy.

Your emails and support have meant so much to me. I am
trying to think of some way to deal with this. I am
considering collecting people's memories and stories
about New Orleans. Not as a memorial, but as a
testimony of the incredible place that it is. If you
want to write something, just let me know and I will
start compiling things.

Much love

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Are you sure this isn't a bad dream?

So evidently the PJ's Coffee Shop near my house (at Robert E. Lee and Paris) is underwater. And by underwater I mean submerged.

That's, oh, four, five blocks away from my house.

Holy shit.

Well, as my brother and Lauren Lastrapes like to point out: just because one block is underwater does not mean every block in the surrounding neighborhood is underwater. I mean, this is a city where the rich people live a block away from their "help" -- it's not entirely as if New Orleans has completely segregated neighborhoods... Except for when they do.


Oh well. So everything but the scant amount of things I have in NYC are demolished. I have the love of my family and my friends. I cannot worry about material things at a time like this.

Except for that whole "now my parents are homeless" side of things.


Well, we'll find out when the water drains in a couple weeks.

Monday, August 29, 2005

just because you need to use it, doesn't mean you know how to use it

Eric Paulson of WWL TV (our CBS NOLA affiliate) reminded people that when you return home, please consider whether or not you know how to use a chainsaw before trying to do so. Same for a generator.

Good to know.


OK. I can't say how weird it is to watch all the news anchors you grew up with while at your computer at work in NYC.

And if anyone knows what I am talking about, I am terrified to see the WWL health editor in a visor and a "Spirit of New Orleans" teeshirt.

Damn, I really want one of those right now.

No new news. Sudha Kailas, you better be okay, girl.

looting at Winn-Dixie, bodies floating in bywater, and more

So evidently people were caught by a WDSU (NOLA's NBC affiliate) news truck caught people looting the Winn-Dixie near the Municipal Auditorium.

There were bodies floating down the street in Bywater.

Mayor Nagin says that 200 people are on their roofs waiting for rescue. 20 buildings have collapsed.

From my friend Natalie

A lot of you know my friend Natalie. She writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer, but we met while we both worked at The Times-Picayune in NOLA. When I called her yesterday to check in on mutual friends in NOLA, she answered the phone by saying, "Hi, I'm in your hometown."

She had just stepped off a plane in NOLA as she had arrived to cover the story for the Philadelphia papers. Here is her first article from NOLA:

Preparing for the worst

New Orleans braces for a monster storm

By Natalie Pompilio

Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Katrina, one of the strongest storms ever to threaten the United States, was headed toward New Orleans and the Gulf Coast early today with 160-m.p.h. winds, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.

President Bush declared a state of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi, while elected officials in New Orleans and neighboring counties urged residents to evacuate. Mayor Ray Nagin warned that the Category 5 storm was the one "most of us have long feared."

The bowl-shaped city lies below sea level and is protected by a series of levees. Katrina could bring a storm surge as high as 28 feet, which could carry water into streets and homes, forecasters said.

The giant storm had the potential to be the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew, with 165-m.p.h. winds, hit parts of South Florida and Louisiana, killed 58 people, and caused $44 billion in damage.

A much-weaker Katrina churned across Florida last week, leaving nine people dead and causing massive flooding. The storm gained strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.

Nagin, the city's mayor, ordered a mandatory evacuation for New Orleans' 485,000 residents and opened the Superdome as a shelter of last resort, bluntly warning those who stayed that they would be at the mercy of Katrina's high winds, 28-foot storm surge, and 15 inches of rain that threatened to overwhelm the city's protective levees.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event," Nagin said at a televised news conference. "The city of New Orleans has never seen a hurricane of this magnitude hit it directly... . We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared."

According to David Miller of the National Hurricane Center, Katrina was on track to make landfall late this morning in southeastern Louisiana, a low-lying area that experts say is especially ill-suited to withstand a direct hit from a powerful storm.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning from Morgan City, La., to the Alabama-Florida border, cautioning that the storm could march ashore anywhere in that region.

New Orleans looked like a ghost town yesterday. Homes and businesses were boarded up, and in the French Quarter, a tourism hub, a sign on one window advised Katrina: "Go East, Miss Thing."

Only bars seemed to be open in the Quarter, and there were not many. Tom Remillard of Boston was at one, drinking the locally brewed Abita beer on draft and talking to new friends. He and a vacationing friend found themselves trapped in the city, so they decided to make the best of it, he said.

"The hotel we're staying at, it's been here since the Civil War," Remillard, 41, said. "It's survived all these years, I think it'll survive this."

Thousands of vehicles jammed the roads exiting southeastern Louisiana yesterday. Bradley and Connie Tompkins, both 28, were getting ready to join the rush, heading toward inland Baton Rouge. The couple took one of the last flights from Philadelphia to New Orleans yesterday morning, eager to grab their insurance papers and photographs from their home near Lake Pontchartrain.

"Essentially, our lives could be destroyed," said Connie Tompkins, a Louisiana native.

Bradley Tompkins grew up in Media, Pa., and graduated from Millersville University. He and his wife had spent part of the weekend at a family wedding in Drexel Hill, Pa. But while other guests danced and laughed, they stood in a corner. Connie Tompkins picked the polish off her newly manicured nails, and Bradley Tompkins found three gin-and-tonics could not relax him.

"This is potentially the best weekend of their lives and we're happy for them," Bradley Tompkins said of his cousin and her husband. "But it could be the worst weekend of ours."

While hundreds of thousands fled, tens of thousands also stayed - trapped tourists, residents too old or unable to travel, die-hards determined to ride out the storm. Many took shelter in county-operated shelters, such as the 70,000-seat Superdome. At one point, the line of people waiting to get inside the Superdome, home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, stretched more than halfway around the dome.

Officials told people to carry enough food and water to last up to five days. Not everyone listened. Tim and Ricklyn Williams, who recently moved to New Orleans, had only a small bag with them - and most of it was taken up by two pairs of shoes and Clinique perfume belonging to Ricklyn.

"We don't need a blanket. We love each other," said Tim, 34, to the delight of his new wife, 45.

Dawn Salmon of Huntingdon Valley came to New Orleans yesterday by choice: to get her 19-year-old daughter, Liz, out of the city. Salmon, 49, had tried to get her oldest child out via plane and train and had failed, as airlines and trains were booked. Liz was too young to rent a car on her own.

So Salmon went to her. The two met at the airport, after Liz had been forced from her dormitory at Loyola University. Together, they went to find a rental car. Poring over a map, they said they did not know where they would go - Houston or Memphis or Little Rock or Atlanta - but they knew they would be all right if they were together.

"I'm not scared, but I would be if I weren't here and she were here by herself," Dawn Salmon said. "I'm a mom."

Contact staff writer Natalie Pompilio at 215-854-2813 or This article contains information from the Washington Post.


Some familiar sights. First is the calm before the storm in the French Quarter as someone walks towards the river. Next is flooding in uptown New Orleans. Last is Royal Street, not too far from Croissant d'Or.

Keep New Orleans in your thoughts.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

just pray

keep watching. I don't even know how to feel about anticipating the loss of my childhood home and my hometown. Losing New Orleans is impossible to believe.

My parents left today and are headed to NW Louisiana in order to stay with friends. They are safe. I worry for my friends who have chosen to stay in the city and I hope and pray for their safety.

I love my hometown so much. If you know me, you know how New Orleans is engrained upon my soul. This is just too much for me to even take in. I have no idea how it will affect me. I feel like I am losing all my memories and the place where I feel I make sense. There is no place else in the world like New Orleans and I do not know how it will ever survive a storm quite like this.

Please, please, please pray or just keep New Orleans in your thoughts and hearts.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

options for the living room

Last night, T, Nerb and I went out for burritos down Seventh Avenue in the Slope. Afterwards, we walked to Flatbush to play air hockey. Why haven't we been doing this all year? It was so much fun and such a great way to let go of stress after the work week. Maybe we should take up ping pong. Nerb and I could play in the living room. We'll have to set that up along with the Sunbrella lounge. Sweet. Summer forever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

life collapses around iced coffee

I really love summer, but it makes me homesick for summers past. I miss the carefree abandon of doing absolutely nothing. I'd be so happy to hop on a bike and zip around Hanover, New Hampshire. I miss iced coffee dates that bled on til lunch. I miss writing papers with the windows open and lying on the grass talking about speakers and ideas.

I miss picking up my friend Gifford for early morning coffee dates and fighting over who pays the tab. I miss reading horoscopes and bad feature stories in the Magazine Street PJ's courtyard.

I miss walking blocks (miles, probably) to get iced coffee and brouse my favorite Old City shops in Philadelphia. Used cds, used books, used clothes and shoes. I miss the brick sidewalks leading me to matinees at the Ritz theaters. I miss South Philly and all its lack of gentrification.

Last summer, I spent most my time in the Columbia University computer lab, looking for jobs and apartments. I wrote countless cover letters and resumes. I lived on and I watched documentaries and "Dawson's Creek" reruns with Tim.

I miss slacking off. I feel like I'm back in school, only overdoing it with too many social engagements. But the books keep piling up and I revel in it, but it isn't the same. I could use a vacation in Maine to sleep in the sunshine and paw through different farmer's markets to uncover delicious treats.

Next summer. I'm going to be sure that happens. This summer, it's me and the concrete jungle, doing everything I can to keep going, looking forward and hoping all of this is headed where it should be.

Monday, August 22, 2005

More to come

There is more to come, but for now, I'll just say that the weekend was full of treks (to the Cloisters with RJ, to the East Village with Tim, to the Greenmarket with Joe), full of great food (I made an apple pie with Jared's assistance on Saturday night... and all kinds of additional great stuff), movies set in Fiji, plenty of Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Waldron thanks to a certain someone, and reading on fake eskimos.

It's time for the weekend to come to a close and so far next weekend holds the promise of a laundry date on Friday in Brooklyn and a Saturday night in Manhattan. The week is full of knitting, book club, surprise parties and always reading. Is the summer really coming to a close? I want more heirloom tomatoes, sunshine, tank tops, iced coffee and summer hours at work.

At least autumn holds the promise of cooler weather, scarves and sweaters, fall foliage, trips to, DC, Connecticut, and New Orleans, soups, and more? Lots of sappy movies, baking parties, and this year I am ice skating no matter what.

I'll drink up all the green leaves I can while I still can.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

a cover i think everyone would agree is good

Death Cab for Cutie closed their show tonight by inviting the Decemberists back on stage for a group singsong of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." It was all very Clinton '92. I especially liked the way our posse of 10 women belted out the chorus in unison without even looking at one another in the dark.

It's good to hang out with folks who sing along (and know all the words to) with Fleetwood Mac.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

two good things

1) Angelica's Kitchen. I really enjoy coming here. I think it's a bit pricy as far as vegetarian food goes, but if that's what it takes to make it such a pleasant experience, I suppose I will go that road. I've only been here twice, but both were with lovely friends and you cannot help but have a warm experience. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, everything is good, the tea is delicious (and you get a refill... so you can hang out just a smidge longer with those friends of yours). I really need to go back more often. I want to try the peach pie next time. And I want to try a sandwich, eat some mashed potatoes, and most of all, try the cornbread with the tahini spread. MMM. I love me some almonds. And I love the good service. Clio and I sat there for an hour and a half tonight and no one rushed us along. I like it when people want you to stay.

2) Jamie Cullum. Okay, admittedly, I really didn't care for him when I first heard him over a year ago while living in Philadelphia. But maybe it was just Philadelphia. Jamie Cullum has the guts to cover Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should Have Come Over" (which is about one of my most favorite songs) as well as Radiohead's "High and Dry" alongside standards like "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "Singin' In The Rain." I wanted to blow him off like Josh Grobin, but listening to Jamie Cullum again on my ipod while on the subway and walking to work is such a pleasant experience. You cannot appreciate his arrangements when you really just want to hear the original... But while in transit, there is something so intricate and amazingly simplicistic to his take on these familiar songs. He's completely grown on me. NXP, you were right!

Hey, where's my ring?

There has to be a first for everything.

Today at work I received a letter addressed to me as "Mrs."

Not "Ms," but "Mrs." In case you were curious, as suspected, I kept my name.

That must have been one wild, drunken ride to Vegas and back again. Surely I would have remembered the long ride on the A train back from JFK. I must have really been out. So much so that I lost the ring!

Maybe that will turn up in the mail tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

par avion

While it's a hassle to tack on one more morning task to the routine of waking, showering, dressing, collecting all the various things you need for the day (oh wait that last one is probably just me...), making one's bed provides one of the world's best payoffs.

I never really made my bed until I moved to Paris and my host mother shamed me into doing so. I was sick of hearing about how Americans were slobs. And by Americans, she meant me. Yet, just as I was sick of hearing about how much more fabulous her Harvard and Princeton exchange students were, I also didn't feel like making Americans look bad in her eyes... And I wanted those Ivy's to one day hear about that great little Bryn Mawr intellectual (as they deemed me because I received - on average - 8 hand written letters a week in the mail and read like a crazy person).

I honestly think I sleep better when a bed is made. It adds to the ritual of sleeping by crawling into an envelope of sheets. As if you're placing yourself in a letter somehow. And to me, that's always a comforting place to be.

Monday, August 15, 2005

say it loud: i like fiona apple

I was really happy to see that Fiona Apple's album is finally going to be released even though it adds to the list of albums I want to buy:

Sujfan Stevens
Death Cab for Cutie
Liz Phair
(among others)

So I listened to FA's "Tidal" on the way to work today and am now listening to "When the Pawn..." which I always did like. I must have gotten this senior year of college. I like FA for her unique voice, interesting lyrics and creative music. I always thought she was the real thing and am glad to see that after years off the radar, she's back which has to prove somehow that she has genuine talent and wasn't just popular for that heroin chic music video for "Criminal."

seasons turning

I haven't dared to leave the office because I'm afraid of getting hot again. I'm finally cooling down after this weekend's meltdown. I did end up reading a TON, but when you are reading, in part, to ignore the world around you and the obvious global warming, maybe that is not the best way to spend a weekend.

But suddenly, the world looks cool again. The view from my boss' empty office is crisp and verdant. Central Park is sharply focused under a slate gray sky.

I may need to take a walk to Whole Foods just to explore what is on sale and see if I can't find something to go with the zucchini and eggplant that I found at the Farmer's Market yesterday.

A quiet night is in order. The rest of the week promises to be social and full of time with friends. Tonight, I hope to make many pots of tea and sit on my couch happily reading.

I had been aching for a vacation, but now it appears that New York is just how I like it: comfortable and empty. The subways are less crowded and work feels haunted by empty desks. I'm all for it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

smothered 27 year old leaves behind... a lot of books

I'm trying to be very Pollyanna about all this, but last night, the heat was literally making me crazy. At 2 am, after who knows how many showers and after consuming who knows how many liters of water, I really didn't know if I would make it through the night. I literally thought I would be smothered and show up on "the Today Show" with Katie Couric talking about "another fatality due to this summer's intense heat." Not only would I never make it into "The New Yorker;" I'd end up on "Today."

Part of the feeling of desperation comes from reading two entire issues of "The New Yorker" along with 230 pages of Monica Ali's "Brick Lane." When will things improve for Nazeen? I hate being tortured by characters who appear to have no way out of their wretched situations. I am hoping for a good payoff in the end.

Also, those "New Yorkers?" Nothing makes you feel worse than reading about Iraq, conservative maniac, a Mormon from Nevada who is leading the Democrats in the Senate (!). And even Jonathan Franzen is making me panic about Global Warming which is exactly what I need to hear when I am about to smother to death in Manhattan.

I gave up when I got to Philip Gourevitch piece on Sri Lanka. I had to draw the line at some point. Who knew I was leaving the Tamil Tigers only to stumble upon the Bengal Tigers in "Brick Lane." In the morning light, I'm surprised I didn't crack myself up thinking about Muslim Lousiana State University football fans (Bengal Tigers? Get it? Geaux Tigers!).

I guess the heat did smother one thing: my absurb sense of humor.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Things I will do in lieu of complaining about everyone else's pending wedded bliss

Look into Italian language classes for the fall.

Read the new issue of W

Anticipate hanging out with a very jet-lagged friend this evening

Dinner at Mango.

Look forward to reading this.

Begin to think of what to cook this weekend.

Start to think of things to do while stealing away to DC in September.

Work on my mossy green sweater.

Look for blue yarn for someone's Christmas present.

Knit myself a pretty little hat with the varigated yarn mom got me at the Greenmarket this Spring.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Single registry?

Lately, I've been doing a lot of things that make me feel freakishly grown-up.

Like leaving work at lunch to walk to Time Warner Center to buy bridal shower presents from Williams-Sonoma. First of all, it still makes me shiver with surprise that I work in Manhattan. I feel like I'm an extra in a Kate Hudson film about being a fabulous working gal every time that I wave my ID over the sensor in order to reach my elevator bank at work. If that kind of act is a rush, I think walking towards an altar would cause me to swoon.

That said, I felt like I was whispering a secret when I told the salesclerk that I was shopping for a bridal shower and what do I need to do to be sure what I choose is marked on the master registry list. It's disconcerting to then let the person at the register know that this gift is on a registry for someone with whom I feel like (just yesterday) was at 7th grade soccer practice with me.

I remember when this particular friend was in college. She went a little crazy in the home supplies department and started getting things like ravioli molds for her 19th birthday. Um, I think I wanted Radiohead: "OK Computer" that summer. Williams-Sonoma was not on my radar.

So she probably doesn't find it weird to have a five page list of desired gifts, but I can't imagine buying super nice things to use in my communal apartment.

Then again, this friend already owns a house with her husband to be. She's not agonizing over who used her nice coffee and how annoying it is to buy nice things when other people use it up.

Maid of honor to be, Helene waved the printed invitation for the bridal shower at me last night and said, "Do I have to do this for my sister?" Not only are these things intutively expected of us, we're not supposed to be surprised by it. I think I stared at the invite and its suburban New Jersey return address for 10 minutes when I received it.

These are the reasons I know I cannot get married despite the fact that everyone makes it seem totally normal. I'm not being critical or jealous. It just feels like an out-of-body experience to realize that you are still on some level not unlike your 13 year old self when everyone else appears to have signed up for adulthood and the Williams-Sonoma care package that came with it after Freshman year of college.

Suddenly, amdist the All Clad pans, fancy olive oils, teak salad bowls and delicate glasswear, I wanted to play dollhouse and be married, too. But I know that marriage is not a schoolyard game that ends when recess is over. After the sugar shock of presents and attention is over, you're back where you started, looking at the same person that got you into that year of engagement madness. You better hope they are all you hoped they would be and not the marzipan figurine on the top of the cake.

Which makes me wonder, what do I want?

I like having dates with my boyfriend in the middle of the week. I like having a boyfriend and not a husband. I like long, chatty, wine-fueled girl nights with my other very unmarried New York girlfriends. I like not having to tell someone I won't be coming home because I've decided to see a movie or make a Target run. I admire the clean look of my naked left hand.

I wouldn't mind a new crepe pan, though. Can't a single girl register?

all boys club

one of my co-workers made me two mix cds of nothing but male singers and all-male bands. It's really nice and oddly comforting to listen to boys croon in my all-female office.

Monday, August 08, 2005

because i like to be in pain

Here is an interview with Miranda July from The Believer magazine. I really thought Me, You, and Everyone We Know was an exercise in pretention (cute kids aside). But she's hailed as a genius in some circles.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

empty city, meet changcheng

I learned how to say the Great Wall of China in my Mandarin class yesterday. It's strange that it took me several months to learn because I am sure the GWC was probably one of the first things I knew about in China. "Changcheng" breaks down into "chang" meaning long and "cheng" meaning city. That description is a lot more exciting than a wall, even if it is great.

Friday, August 05, 2005

empty city

the subways are thinning out as everyone has left the city except for me and the other assistants of new york city. i stayed at work til 2, trying to finish up stuff that I wouldn't want to deal with at 9 am Monday morning. How considerate of myself, I guess.

I just want to take a nap and daydream of Rufus Wainwright's voice as he sings me to sleep.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

In France they kiss on Main Street

I've decided that casual Thursday is the new casual Friday. I'm wearing jeans and an oversized off-white oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I also decided to forgo the minimalist look of late and wear lots of jewelry today. Big shell earrings, button stone necklace and silver bangles.

Tonight is the Rufus Wainwright concert in Prospect Park so I thought I would go for the whole boho chic today, channeling Joni Mitchell circa "Hissing of Summer Lawns" but without the turquoise.

Speaking of turquoise, I was thinking on the train today that I would like to someday go back to New Mexico. I was eight years old the last time I was there. That's almost twenty years. I think it's time to plan a trip back to Bandelier National Park.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

what happens when I hit shuffle

genetic: sonic youth
anything you need but me: nanci griffith
prisoner of mars: stereolab
every angle: ani difranco
let the wind carry me: joni mitchell

silly things

I realized tonight that it takes the same about of time to go from RiRi's apartment to T's apartment as it does for me to go from RiRi's apartment to my apartment in Brooklyn. She is the midway point between Morningside Heights and Park Slope. I mean, we knew this was in many ways an emotional reality, but literally as well? The same could pretty much be said for RJ and K's apartment on the UES.


I am at T's apartment in the sweet chill of air conditioning. Ah, do I have to go to work tomorrow? Can't I stay up near Columbia, sleep in, get iced coffee at Oren's and do research at Labyrinth Books and Global Ink? I wish...

I'm making new friends at work. This is not shocking because I love meeting new people, but also, there's a 100% chance that everyone I meet at work is as huge a dorky reading addict as I am so how can I go wrong?

Oh and there's a really cute girl on the cover of "The Knot" magazine... it almost makes me think... that I should set her up with D.

(you thought I was going to say, "get married.")


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

a new day

my friend's father survived the operation and things are looking up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

how do we pray?

Tonight I came home after working for just about 10 hours and heated up the leftovers from lunch's stir-fry. I boiled some water for tea in my new "ginger pot" looking teapot and thought about the cook trying to convince me to come to his church today in the cafeteria. I tried to just say, "sure, sure," and I kinda felt bad for not taking him seriously, but when it's past 2 pm and you're only just getting around for lunch you don't have time or energy to get into a conversation that goes something like, "I'm really happy you found something that is positive in your life. For me, that isn't church."

So I smiled and told him to have a real nice day as I took the styrofoam container of brown rice, veggies and tofu.

Long after dinner, I lit some candles and read an interview with Shirley Hazzard (If you haven't read The Transit of Venus or The Great Fire yet, you are truly denying yourself some serious literary dark chocolate treats) from The Paris Review. It made me hungry to just sit around all day and read. I come home from days like this and feel flustered and incapable of doing more than flitting around from magazine to email to magazine. My ears are giving me problems, too, and that could also contribute to my restlessness.

But I got an email from a friend I met last fall on a train cutting through Long Island. I was on my way to a friend's wedding shower and he was off visiting a friend for an early thanksgiving meal. He overheard D and I talking about someone we'd known in college who happened to have volunteered with him in Indonesia. Small world. Not surprising given our crazy lives.

But he had just quit a job that I had applied for... and he had sent me the rejection letter. I figured it out from the place he worked, his age... and his name. He was floored. Coincidence isn't too shocking to me, but I like it when it happens.

We ended up meeting for coffee not too long afterwards and hung out talking for hours talking about all kinds of things you spill out early on in a strong, thick friendship. I hoped I would spend more time with him, but he ended up moving back to Tennessee to take care of his ailing father, suffering from cancer. I wrote him a letter months ago. A hasty one that was fueled with caffeine and the desire to recapture those eight hours on Sullivan Street.

I never heard back from him and assumed it had to be because I was too open, too candid and excited.

I heard from him tonight in the form of a group email. He's in Houston with his dad for last ditch efforts to save his life. His dad has a very grave operation tomorrow morning and everything is in the balance. He was writing to ask for everyone to think of his dad or pray if you believed.

I wrote him back and said he would be in my thoughts and in my heart. My prayers, too, even though I don't pray the way I used to when I was much, much younger. Nightly prayers were the ritual that got me to sleep. I used to have trouble sleeping, but now the city does the trick for me. Wearing me down with little quiet moments of chaos everyday.

He wrote back almost immediately and said he'd adored my letter. He wanted to find time in the next week to write me about everything and asked for my address again because they'd come out to Texas rather quickly.

We can't feel bad about not sharing the same faith, but we have to hope we all believe in enthusiasm and joy, in the desire to live and the urge to protect our loved ones no matter the odds.