Spent a fun afternoon earlier this fall with Julie Lazarus, of Elezar handbags and accessories and Katerina Melnikova to show off a few beauties from Elezar’s line.
I met up with Leslie and Rikki in Bryant Park. In two days they would be boarding the Queen Mary II on their way to London and a few weeks later flying to Istanbul. A few things will get checked off their bucket list, they said.
Name: Leslie / Rikki
Age: 67 / 54
Profession: Retired Educator / Retired Customer Service Director for Air Canada, now a part-time care aid in a hospital dementia facility.
Nationality / Origin: Canadian from the northern Climes, Eastern/Western Viking, aka Scandinavian, some Eastern Russian / Born in Germany.
What is your Relationship to each other: Good friends
How did you meet each other:
Rikki: “Boy that’s a story. In a little aerobics studio in Sechelt, British Columbia when I was moving there to finish building a house and went to a little aerobics class and I signed my name in… and Leslie can take the story over from here, because she is the one who read my name.”
Leslie: “I had just lost my best friend, whose name was Rikki, that week– within 3 days.
I thought I’d never have a Rikki in my life again, and in the door she came. I was taking the attendance and her name was Rikki. And she came from exactly the same place in BC that my friend had been living. And my best friend’s brother’s name was Harold and this lady’s last name was Harold. And it became a crazy coincidence that we really don’t yet get. That was 1992.
What is your favorite thing about Leslie: “Oh, she is so… generous spirit, generosity, non-judgmental and totally accepting of people and also a very interesting person to talk to, very interesting. Always stimulating and always ready to get going and do things. I mean this big trip we’ve got planned there aren’t a lot of people who can enjoy or want to go away that long and don’t feel that they have to be attached to their families but can really, you know have that adventurous streak. And STILL be very nurturing and family oriented at the same time.”
What is your favorite thing about Rikki: “Oh well… Rikki is an extremely hard-working woman, it so impresses me. She never ever takes the easy way out. Most generous, most tolerant. Tolerant in a good way not meaning “I’m putting up with you” but really tolerant in her assessment of people and always looks for the good side. And there’s many, many more things, but I don’t want to upstage this girl.”
I really love it when Rikki… “I really love it when she’s at aerobics and I can get to talk to her, because she takes too much time off sometimes, because she’s working. I just want her there every day… but she’s not, she’s still working and I’m not.”
I really love it when Leslie… “Can come for a coffee, we go to Starbucks, for an hour or whatever time we have in the day and we can have a really great gab, a great conversation in that time.”
Why is Rikki important to you: “She constitutes a sort of thread of continuity thru that period that I met her and I don’t have a lot of friends from that period anymore, I’ve lost quite a few of them, so it’s continuity I think, and it’s not having to explain myself. I don’t have to fill in all the background. I love to talk, I talk too much, and it’s a really good thing not to have to say everything when you’re with someone.”
Why is Leslie important to you: “Because even if I don’t see her everyday, she’s just such a solid personality and such a good friend that I know she’s there and accepts me and is a good sounding board and the confidence I’ve given her, I know only stays with her.”
What does love mean to you Leslie? Love is… “A quality of mind that indicates caring and as I’ve observed this in NY, because it does come to mind here, I’m finding that people, even if they’re rough, to have a very, very deep courtesy. Like a caring——courtesy is of the heart, and I really see it in this city, despite a lot of grittiness and other things that are a little foreign to me, and I really appreciate that. I think it’s far more important than having good manners, to have courtesy.”
What does love mean to you Rikki? “Genuine respect for all life. And it doesn’t have to be extraordinarily demonstrative, it’s just acknowledging other living beings and things and caring for them in your own certain way, in your own little realm that you can nurture one another.”
How did your trip come about?
(Rikki) “Leslie talked about her great travels, and I’ve been wanting to go to Turkey and she said, that sounds great. This was planned over a year ago. So we started with the Turkey trip and then Leslie said what about the Cunard Queen Mary from New York to London, and I said, why not… And then why not a few days in New York, one night, two nights, now three nights.” (Leslie) “Then we can stay in London, with my Daughter in South Hampton and it just kept going and going and going. It’s actually a fairly ambitious trip for one haul.”
Bon Voyage, Leslie and Rikki!
A couple fridays ago, Simon Sinek spoke at the Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo. The topic was How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action-based on his book Start With Why.
I just found the notes I jotted down from the talk and I wanted to share them. These are my paraphrased notes and what I took away from the morning. He also has a very inspiring TED Talk which you can watch when you are looking to be inspired.
My Take Away Notes:
-The feeling for fulfillment comes from doing good for others.
-The only way you will survive bootcamp (story about the marines) is to learn to ask for help from others and the only way to get help is to help others.
-You have to have self-confidence in yourself and your ability before you can help someone else and before someone else will help you.
– Do more with what you have-Celebrate what you have, Don’t criticize yourself for what you don’t have.
Regarding Management and Leadership of people who work for you.
-Make sure they understand their own strengths and talents
-Put them into situations they can fail and encourage them to do it again.
-Do little things for others
-Reward effort, not the accomplishment of the goal
-With a clear destination you can more easily overcome obstacles because you see the effort is moving you closer to your goal.
I fell in love with photography and film thru my dad and my uncle Vipsy’s photographs and 8mm films. They both loved taking photographs and filming their families. And most of the evidence is from the 60s and early 70s. My Dad’s 8mm camera was stolen when I was about 5 or 6, and as the youngest, that means there aren’t very many films with me. Perhaps that is why I feel extra nostalgic toward the look of those early films and photographs. The colors, the clothes, the lifestyle photographs of our family and friends–I love it! I have a box of 8mm film reels I brought back to NY after the sale of my mom and dad’s house. We lost my dad several years ago, so these are truly special memories for us. Big reels in blue metal cylindrical containers and little yellow Kodak boxes which were short films only several minutes in length. Films of us at Christmas, of my sister coming home from the hospital as a baby, or my first time walking… We used to watch them as adults when we were home visiting. We’d put up the d-Lite Projector screen, my dad would thread the film and my mom would make tea and serve something delicious she baked. One of the reels labled “1977 Big Garden Our House”- has a shipping label addressed to my Grandmother (Oma) in Germany. That’s how my parents shared our lives with the family abroad. They would make a film and then send it overseas. I imagine it went down like this: The film reel arrives in the mail at Oma’s. Instantly, a tea kettle is on the stove and a cake that just happened to be baked already, gets sliced up and put on nice china with small silver dessert forks. Meanwhile, my uncle sets up the projector, feeds the film thru the spool, and the family is called in to gather in the living room. Oma brings in the coffee and cake and there in the living room in Planegg, Germany, they watch my mom and my sisters and me frolicking and picnicking in a huge weedy garden that was the plot of land my parents bought and where my dad would build our house (the one we just sold). My earliest memories begin around that time.
Another box I brought back, is filled with boxes of slides. One of the boxes is of my parents before me and my sisters came along. I never saw, or remember seeing any of these photos. There was one photograph of my parents on their wedding day that sat on the dresser in my parent’s bedroom, old and faded, for as long as I could remember. It was exciting to discover the other photos taken from that day plus a few others. Last night my husband and I devised our own method of projecting them onto the wall so we could photograph them to share. We now have on our wish list, a carousel projector, but we were pretty delighted with how they came out. Other than a slight adjustment to the darkness or lightness of the photograph, these were not retouched and we didn’t blur out anyone on purpose.
I am very lucky to have a friend as photogenic and fun to shoot as Radhika Vaz. A few years ago, we did a photoshoot together.
The funnest part of the shoot was giving her characters to play to get her into the mood of the photoshoot. For these photos she was channeling a singer, maybe Billy Holiday, who lived in Havana, then moved to Miami around the 1940s. We weren’t concerned with historical accuracy just with having fun and taking photos.
These are some of my favorite photos and what we did with them later to promote Radhika’s Show, Unladylike.
Radhika doing her own makeup
Original Photo for the poster.
Show Poster Show program and bindi ticket stub