American artist Edwin Lord Weeks (1849 – 1903). An Open air Restaurant In Lahore.
went to #sunkenmeadowstatepark this morning. just 20 min from our place and such a wonderful beach and boardwalk! boardwalks are one of my favorite things in life, pretty much. but there were too many people there so we changed course and walked through the park. there was this broken fence in front of a fragrant bunch of wilderness and its heady scents of nascent spring took me back to my childhood in brussels, when we would wait for such a sunny day to go explore and stay outdoors for as long as we could. magic.
in #nyc to drop off our son at his apartment. sad empty streets everywhere but walking and biking are fire and spring is here. #chelseamarket #hudsonriverpark #newyork
ramadan mubarik everyone!
getting back into working out w Julie Zobel. first workout today after our move. we used a small space in my bedroom but wow, do i feel energized!
yesterday we were trying to thaw some chicken and i didn’t change the setting to ‘defrost’ on the microwave, so it got pretty cooked. my husband wanted to throw it. as usual, i wanted to salvage it. i added some yogurt, salt and pepper and tried to cook in a bit of oil but the chicken fell apart. what could i do with a bunch of shredded chicken? i added some grapes, an apple, toasted walnuts, mayo and honey mustard, scooped it on top of brioche bread and voila, delicious chicken waldorf sandwiches #quarantinelife
the apartment is coming along, slowly but surely. gone are most of the cardboard boxes, folded flat and placed in storage. the kitchen is fully functional. artwork just went up on our family room walls. next project: bedrooms:)
first walk together since moving. lake ronkonkoma just 5 min away from our apartment. it’s reassuring.
so i had hired a local business to move us from rochester to long island on april 8th. then cv-19 hit and our movers backed out of driving to nyc, right in the eye of the pandemic. the owner is a small businessman, with young children. he said he didn’t want to take chances. i understood. so the movers came by and loaded our trucks yesterday. yes, we ended up renting two trucks instead of one – my bounteous artwork, packed in some 20-30 large boxes, is partly to blame:) this morning we traveled as a caravan – my husband driving a 26 foot truck, my son managing a 20 foot truck, my daughter in our sedan, and yours truly forging ahead in an suv. all i can say is, it’s good to have grown-up kids:)
navigation was easy all the way – empty highways, not more than 2-3 cars in service areas, a few people scurrying around wearing masks, no toll tickets, no delays on approaching nyc. the george washington bridge seemed haunted. just two cars in front of me. in my 27 years of living around and traveling frequently to nyc, i’ve never seen anything like it. it felt disturbingly quiet, unnatural, somber. throughout the trip signs on highways urging people to stay at home, limit travel, stop the spread, #flattenthecurve.
my brother called to find out how we were doing. the car picked up his phone call. he told me his ex-neighbor in NJ, the guy they lived next to for a whole decade and who saw his kids grow up, just died of corona. he had an allergic reaction to something, went to the ER, got infected, died within a few days. in his early 50s. i am not one to panic but this piece of news shook me.
so between these misgivings (could we have delayed the closing on our house?), the thrill of living next to a city i love, the waves of emotion as i realized i was gradually moving away from the people i love, the profusion of texts, emails, and phone calls from family and friends all holding me warmly in their prayers and good wishes, the bone-tiredness from packing up a commodious house filled with 17 years of life and film and art-making, and finally the news that bernie sanders had just ended his presidential run, i couldn’t quite focus on any one feeling.
yet there is a connection – a complete sense of disconnection. being uprooted with milestones and memories packed precariously in cardboard boxes, the fear of losing people we love, the undignified randomness of loss, the arbitrariness of what we mark as ours in time and space, the irrationality of viruses and politics, the fragility of life and human-made systems, the strength of love and relationships that bind us to a center – some multifaceted, metaphysical core that saves us from disintegrating into meaningless fragments.
we are home, in this new home. it’s a gorgeous apartment. small but perhaps that’s all we need for our small family. everyone is asleep. goodnight fam and pls stay safe.
my mamoon, attique ahmed qureshi, 1959
pakistan air force in the 1960s: first person on the left is my khaloo (my uncle), followed by my mamoon (my mom’s brother), a lady i don’t know, and then my khala (my mom’s sister). don’t know the person on the right. it was a different era.
i have to write about this. so we are moving to long island on april 8th, inshallah, and i have been selling a lot of stuff on fb at fairly low prices – from a treadmill to a yamaha piano, to bedroom furniture, bookcases, cameras, skis and bikes. i’ve also donated tons: i post on fb, add pictures of the stuff, and people come and pick it up for free. there is plenty of social distancing as they help themselves from shelves in my garage, with no human contact at all. it’s been one of the loveliest experiences ever.
not only did i get to meet a large number of my rochester neighbors (an extremely diverse group based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, and more) but i also got to know their stories and their visions for the stuff they’re picking up.
some send me pictures of how they’re using those things in their homes. one young guy and his wife bought two bookcases, then joined them to another piece of furniture, added moulding, painted everything, and created a gorgeous entertainment center. he messaged me photographs.
it does my heart good to see how my things, which were loved and cared for, will have another life after they leave our home, that someone else will use them and cherish them as well. they are only things of course, but this opportunity to share with our community has been incredibly joyful.
many times when people buy one thing, i give them another for free. someone bought a camera, i gave them a tripod for free. the reactions are priceless, unforgettable. i love rochester so much, and this has been a life-affirming way of saying goodbye.
the fb groups i used:
rochester online garage sale