Tuesday, November 19, 2013


  I love to ride the morning
 commuter ferry to downtown San Diego. One morning I met Cynthia, who was on her way to work at a Persian rug gallery. My visit to this fascinating shop is the subject of today's blog.
     Walking into the 4thAvenue Rug Gallery, 827 4th Avenue, is like entering an art exhibit with over 1500 handmade works of art from all over the world—each with its own story. The colorful vintage rugs are displayed on the walls, piled high on the floor and tied in rolls along the side. The perfect setting is a 1907 building located in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. It is a long narrow building with original brick walls, redwood floors and high ceilings.

Add to this Cynthia, a friendly and extremely knowledgeable sales consultant, and you are in for a treat. She has been working at the gallery for over 13 years, has lived all over the world and is a life-long student of art. She graciously spent time explaining the rug business to me and I came away with a new appreciation. My head was also spinning when I left—as there are as many versions of rugs as there are cities and towns in the Middle East.

      Most of the rugs in the gallery are from Persia, the former name of Iran. They also come from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other areas. They are new and used—some over 100 years old. Since they are handmade, many of the fibers have been hand dyed as well. Made from cotton, wool and silk, all natural fiber, the rugs can weigh hundreds of pounds. Colors and shades vary, but the most common are red, blue and gold.

      Two to four people work together using looms and knots to produce rugs that can take many years to complete. They can be made in cities where there are government-sponsored rug factories or in the country, where the tribal rugs are made.

     This diversity—range of colors and dyes, all parts of the world, commercial looms and portable looms, cotton, silk and wool, faded and bold, old and new, patterns, stories, portraits, and knot size could easily take a lifetime to learn.

      There are hundreds of different types of rugs in this shop, and it would be difficult to leave the store without finding a favorite or two. I loved the Tabriz rugs—they are colorful with a soft silky feel to them. Tabriz, Iran, is one of the oldest rug weaving centers in the world. I also enjoyed the tribal rugs with their bold colors and patterns.

       I highly recommend you stop to visit this store. I am convinced you will walk out with a new appreciation for these lovely handmade rugs from the Middle East and more than likely a desire to learn more about the regions of the world that so meticulously weave them.

      The owner of the 4th Avenue Gallery is Arman Jodari, a second-generation rug expert from Iran with over 50 years of experience. In addition to importing and selling rugs, this store does appraisals, cleanings and repairs.




Sunday, November 10, 2013


We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”

                                  Anais Nin, French writer

     This is the inspiration for my writing about a September visit to New York City for a reunion with my three dear friends that I spent a year of my life with many years ago. Our first get-together was in 2008. At that time we agreed to meet again in five years, so here we are.
     The four of us met in 1969 when we all lived at the Phoebe Warren Boarding House. We each had a room on the fourth floor with a shared toilet and bathtub down the hall. No longer a boarding house, it is now a beautiful restored brownstone home on the Eastside, next to Central Park – costing millions.
     We also shared the experiences of weekly Sunday champage brunches at Fridays with sawdust on the floor and Schrafft's Restaurants with the old dark-wood walls and delicious chocolate sundaes. Then there were the counter lunches at Chock full o'Nuts where they served cream cheese sandwiches on dark raisin bread with coffee, all for under $1. We also frequented the Pan Am Building with a rooftop bar for a spectacular view of the city. None of these special places exist any longer.
     We lived on what we earned and if there was anything extra it was spent on clothes at discount department stores like Alexander's or Ohrbachs.
     Wthin a couple of years we had all returned to hometowns and more comfortable lifestyles. Only Michele, the quintessential New Yorker, returned to live in Manhattan again. After leaving the second time, she returned to NewYork on company expense accounts—a dream come true.
     I arrived in Manhattan early on a Friday, anxiously anticipating the arrival of my friends that evening. I took advantage of the beautiful day to walk from 57th Street to the Lower East Side to tour the Tenement Museum. Afterwards, I hurried back to the hotel.

      Finally, my vintage friends showed up and here we were all together again in New York. Obviously it's a much different city than it was 45 years ago, but our shared memories will last forever.
     I can't tell you exactly what we did during those couple of days we were together, but sightseeing wasn't high on the list. We laughed and talked about everything we could think of. We learn as we get older to enjoy the moment, and that we did. Through the years we have all had our life experiences and have gone many different directions, but we have a common bond that brings us together.

     Not surprisingly, Carole talked us into doing a little shopping while there—she was always the one that knew just how to dress “New York” even on a shoestring. She is still classy. Donna is now in charge of recruiting volunteers for various nonprofits in upstate New York, also not surprising because she always had a heart of gold.
     We parted with hugs and tears, and promises to return again in another five years. It seems like forever, but time moves on fast—too fast sometimes.

Ralph Lauren Store
Madison Ave.
Related Post: Dated April 11, 2011, The Vintage Career Girl vs the Classy Career Girl ofToday