I picked my first blueberries this morning, yay! Ate some, too, of course, and they were delicious. I’m currently not parked at the garden, because it is seriously hot, so I’m actually staying in the guest bedroom at my brother’s real house. Poor Serenity is just baking in the sun. But I’m hoping for cooler weather later this week and mornings that include walking the dog to the blueberry patch, picking some blueberries, and then eating fresh blueberries for breakfast. When that happens, which it will, I will post pictures. Today’s pictures, though, have to be of my NYC weekend.

Unsurprisingly, my college cohort are all having big birthdays this year. A friend that I’ve stayed in touch with was headed to NY to attend the party of a friend that I’d completely lost touch with, and invited me along. We decided to turn it into a real NYC adventure, not just a long drive to a nice dinner. So on Friday, I took a bus into New York.

Five minutes after disembarking, I was sure I’d made a huge mistake. The Port Authority Bus Terminal followed by 42nd Street on a Friday afternoon in June could have been a universe away from my quiet green garden house mood — stimulating, chaotic, colorful, and completely overwhelming. Fortunately, I kept walking, got to a quieter area of Chelsea, took an ibuprofen, drank some water, and found our hotel, which had a nice peaceful patio. I say fortunately because after that initial shock of entry, I had a really great time being a tourist in the big city.

We walked along the Highline, went to the Whitney Museum, saw The Book of Mormon on Broadway, took a Circle Line landmarks cruise around Manhattan, sat on the grass in Central Park, ate fancy breakfasts and low-key other meals, and eventually went to our friend’s party, followed by drinks at a rooftop bar in Chelsea.

Empire State building at night

The view from the roof.

I don’t think I could pick a highlight. I had a bagel — a gluten-free bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese — that actually tasted like a real bagel. We ate fantastic gelato our first night (favorite flavor: lime-basil) and really good ice cream on Sunday. Walking through the Highline was beautiful but getting to look at art and think about art in the Whitney was somehow deeply gratifying. It felt like using a part of my brain that has been sleeping for a while. My favorite piece was Pittsburgh by an artist I’d never heard of from a school of art I’d never heard of, but there were other things that inspired fun story ideas for a story that I can’t write until after I finish the dozen other things lined up before it. The Book of Mormon was great, but so was the incredibly rushed walk to get to it, through NYC on a Saturday evening.

And it was good to see old friends again. Strange, but good. This particular friend group belonged to my best friend, not me, so I was peripheral in their world, but watching them felt so familiar. I was particularly delighted to finally ask one of them about a memory I have of a time when we did a 360 in a truck on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago — probably my clearest near-death experience ever. I’ve remembered that moment forever, but lost all the details around it — how did we wind up in a truck together on a highway in the midwest? Alas, she had no answers for me, although she remembered the moment, too.

It was a great weekend. Still, I took a deep breath when I got off the bus in PA yesterday and was happy, happy to be here. Time to get back to Grace and eat some blueberries!

A view from a hotel window, with the Empire State Building on the right.