Tuesday, January 28, 2014

writing again

Today one of my dear dear friends sent me a message that said: I miss your blog. 

And so I decided, maybe it was time to make this a little more regular again. 

Instagram has been my social media of choice as of late.  I can spend just hours and hours looking at gorgeous photos that others have posted.  And work on figuring out ways that I can look at and represent the world more beautifully. 

And then I forget my writing.  I forget what a release this actually is for me.  How I love to think and type and think and type and not think of much else.

And so I will write again.  And I thank my friend for reminding me.  And for encouraging me. 

Sometimes that just exactly what you need.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

coffin underground

I live in a small coffin underground
is what I tell everyone

Because my apartment is the size of a small hotel room

And there is no such thing
as natural sunlight

There is a foot of counter space
and if two things are left on the ground
it looks a mess

My sink is made for gnomes
and I had to loose weight to fit into my bathroom

But I love my coffin underground
because it's mine

I can come home and everything is exactly where I left it

And it's quiet
and peaceful
and it holds all the things that I hold dear

It's the one time in my day where I am completely alone
in my coffin underground

Friday, August 2, 2013

i guess my blog is me.

sometimes i open up this blog and read through past entries and laugh.  they are all so different.  somehow, thought, when i read them, they all make sense together.  they all tell the twisty windy stories that twirl around in my head.  like puzzle pieces that don't make sense out of context.

i peruse others blogs and they are so consistent and so organized and just make sense.  and mine?  a gathering of words.  a telling of tales.  an expression of feeling.

and yet.  to me.  they weave the fabric that has made my life.  in each one i remember that moment, that feeling, that voice.  perhaps my blog is not so strange.  perhaps it is just simply me.  a me that i feel comfortable, and sometimes scared, to share.  a me that wants to remember the moments well.

so i will keep telling the stories and noting the moments.

and i will probably remain all over the place for a long long time.


sun breaks through the thick thick clouds and for one day it warms the land.

it falls on the skin and starts to burn but the feeling is so foreign that before you know it, a patch of red has formed.

it blinds the eyes but the eyes keep a steady gaze.

it envelops everything in hope.

and suddenly all the gray is forgotten and all the cold fades.

warmth prevails.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

my momma

my momma is one amazing woman.  i realize this more and more the older i get and the more time i spend around her.
i look back on my teen years and man, was i a b*%@!.  i am just going to blame that on hormones and move on.
we are similar in a lot of ways, my mom and i.  i'm not saying this to draw some sort of parallel to the previous statement about my mom being amazing, but i say it to illustrate that our strong personalities clash at times.  they used to though, more than now.  we are both pretty stubborn in our own ways of doing things and that has made for some difficult moments.  again, those teen years, geesh!
about 7 years ago, my parents got asked to move overseas.  first to Israel, where they lived for 5 years and now in Chile, where they reside.  they left everything they knew, and mostly, their family and us two girls, and moved house completely.  in a new location, new language, new food, new friends, new experiences.  and i swear it's made them younger and even more open minded and, didn't think it was possible, even more awesome.
these days i recognize mom in a different way, probably the way she has always been.  she is so patient.  she is so full of love, it bursts out of the sides of her wide smile and her joyful eyes.  she is a servant.  she gives and gives and gives with almost no thought to herself.  and she is loved by so many.  she takes such good care of me.  in her home is one of the only places that i feel completely safe and completely taken care of.
and she is so fearless.  take learning Spanish, for example.  she came to Chile knowing very little and every day she would go out and talk to neighbors, and stumble over words, and laugh at herself, and just try new things.  today, the whole block knows her.  "Hola" she chimes, as she walks down the street. they all look up and smile and come over to chat.  and i'm so proud.  she teaches my sister and i in everything she does what it means to care for others because she so beautifully cares for us.
and she is so much fun. we stay up late watching movies, look at pictures together on facebook, play games, eat cake when we shouldn't, and share stories.
she is the best.  she is my friend now, not just my mom.
but forever and always she will be someone who inspires my heart.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a good summer

I picked the perfect summer plans and let me tell you why.  I sublet my apartment for 6 weeks and left town.  Not to galavant in a new an exotic country (which I undoubtedly love doing), not to experience adventure and newness and to loose myself in the summer months, but to be reconnected with the people I miss the most during the time I live in Brooklyn, away from my family.  Of course I have my own kind of family in New York and I will love and cherish them always for the role they play.  But I miss my mom and dad.  I miss my sister and her family - those teeny tiny ones who steal my heart each time.  I miss my close family and friends that I don't even need to try with.  That I don't need to prove myself with, that I just can 'be' with.  I needed down time.  I needed to just have time to think and to feel and to love and to be.

And that's why it was perfect.  It started by all the time with the children and the friends and the family...and I traveled and ate and laughed and saw things. And I now end it with a chunk of time down in the winter of the Southern Hemisphere just working and thinking and being and eating great simple, healthy food, and living a really, really low key life.  I'm refueling.  I'm re-energizing.

I'm proud of myself for this summer.  Because it shows that I am listening to my heart and taking care of my body and nourishing my soul.  I feel lucky for this time.  I know many don't have it and I am thankful for it.  It gives me the energy to do what I love doing every day.

No other reason for this post but to remind myself of that.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

a little boy named Artin.

my mother told me a story today that i had heard nothing of before.  "something amazing happened in Iran last week," she said, "something history-making for the Baha'is and for Iran." 

here is the story. 
there is a little 4 year old Baha'i boy in Iran, Artin.  his grandfather, like many other Baha'is in Iran, was martyred over 20 years ago.  a little over a year ago, Artin's mom, dad, and his uncle were all imprisoned because they were teaching higher education classes to the young Baha'is in Iran. since they are denied access to education.  so Artin has been living with his grandmother, the wife of the man who was martyred many years ago, whose sons are now both in prison.  Artin's mom and dad are in two different prisons, and he can go visit only on Sundays.  so one Sunday he goes to see his mom, and one Sunday he goes to see his dad.  he is four.

a week and a half ago, Muhammad-i-NuriZad, a well known Muslim writer who has written many articles criticizing the clergy and the government of Iran on their policies and conduct, went to the home of Artin.  he put him on a little chair and kissed his feet, and then went on to apologize on behalf of all the people of Iran to him and to all the Baha'i's for the persecution that they have suffered, and apologized for the fact that his parents are in prison for no reason and that he is now living without them.  it was during Ramadan, but he couldn't fast that day, so he took some water and fruit from Artin's hands and said, "I want to tell my fellow believers that it's ok to eat out of the hands of the Baha'is" since they have been told not to, because of how dirty we are.  (this is all so much more beautiful in Farsi obviously because of the poetic nature of the language and the way in which NuriZad writes, obviously).

since this event, stories are coming in, one after the other, about what this man did. blogs, and news stories, and comments supporting him and condemning him. a lot of the people of Iran are outraged.  to me, his bravery is so incredibly humbling. the iranian government is obviously upset.  they have asked him to come to court to be tried.  he said that his bags are packed and that he is ready for whatever comes.  "I knew the repercussions of this." he said.

i hear this story and my heart aches.  first for Artin, and then for the many many others like him, including my own cousins, who have had to live without family members because they believe in a faith that proclaims peace, unity, and the coming together of humanity.  

and i also feel utmost gratitude for this man who has risked everything in order to speak out against injustice and speak UP for freedom and for the humanity that binds us all together, whether we like it or not. his voice, rings so much louder than mine would in this situation since i, myself am a Baha'i.  the power of speaking up for the oppressed and what influence that can have.  this image will forever be in my heart:

Monday, December 17, 2012

and just like that...

A call came today telling us her cancer is back.  They had removed it in both breasts a few months ago and we had thought it was fine, it was gone.

But they didn't get it all.  They must have missed part of it.

And now she needs chemo.

We were just sitting on the couch resting, watching stupid TV, and the call came with this new information.

And the tears came with it.  And the sadness...because it's back.

"We will all say prayers, we will keep her in our prayers."

It's all we can do, really.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It's been two and a half years since I turned off my email.  Every day I check it.  I leave it on at all hours and wait for that little "ding" sound the phone makes to let you know that something has come - something urgent - something needing me, now!

I keep that little black phone near me all the time for fear that a big emergency will arise and I will not be the first to see it, respond to it, know about it.  If I go more than 5 minutes without checking my phone I frantically search for it, certain that there will be many, many notifications.  For what?  Of what?  I don't know.

But for two and half years I have not disabled my work email.  It's been attached to me wherever and whenever I go.  But last week, I turned it off.  I took it off my phone completely, if only for a little while...

And it was scary.

The moment I did it I wondered - what if someone needs me?  what if there is a question no one else can answer?  what if there is an emergency?  I thought through every scenario and in the end, just got too tired to think any more.

And you know what?  It's been a week and a half without my work email, and the world has not stopped turning.  Life has gone on just just just fine.  And I guess it all makes you realize how indispensable we all really are.  Not inconsequential, just indispensable.

Perhaps it's our egos that make us believe that we are that needed and that we are wanted.  Perhaps it's just our need to feel wanted.  Perhaps it's our belief that if we control things then we don't have anyone to blame but ourselves if they go awry.

I don't know, again - it's just too much thinking...

But this is the first time that I have been cut off from work completely and it's a strange, strange feeling...and I'll tell you one thing - it' gives a LOT of time for thinking about other things.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

hammock and juice

Dad put up the hammock yesterday.  The one they bought in Peru.  I'm pretty sure my sister, niece, and I wore the other one out on our last visit.  When I had energy - when I jumped and laughed and moved about. 

It's a little different now.  Slower.  I don't have the same energy.  I sleep a lot.  A lot. But that's what they say I need to do.  To get better.

Mom and Dad just got a juicer.  And Dad's especially excited about it.  I showed them a beet juice recipe that I like and yesterday morning they were both in the kitchen measuring things out, washing vegetables, and making that very same beet juice.  This morning Dad had made three different kinds of juice.  Three glass cups, filled to the rim, sat on the breakfast table when I came downstairs.  "Just have whichever one you feel like, I made them for you," dad says, resting a hand on my shoulder.  I drink the one he likes the best - I know this because he has been speaking of the frozen strawberries in the freezer since I arrived.  And it's delicious.  It gives me a bit of life.

Later Mom gently guides me to the hammock, "the sun is good for you," she says.  I lie down and my legs begin to burn from the sun so Mom brings over the sunscreen and puts in on my legs.  I am so tired I just lay my head back.  The sun starts to creep up, almost covering me completely.  Mom brings a sheets, drapes it over the hammock and blocks the intensity of the sun.  I'm so grateful but I don't have the energy to tell her how much.  

And then she tells me to close my eyes.  And she stands there and sways the hammock back and forth and says prayers for me.  She sings them - in Farsi - like she used to do when I was little.  

And I fall asleep.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the new normal?

I'm sitting at an airport restaurant in Toronto between flights, eating tikka masala.

I don't think I even like tikka masala.  I enjoy it every once in while, but will only seek it out maybe once a year.  Weird cravings these days... No, not pregnant.

I say this not to insult the entire cuisine of a region, but to illustrate how out of place things feel.
It's the beginning of December, I'm supposed to be at work. 9-5. Or is it 7-7?  Either way.

But here I am.  At the airport.  At the restaurant dedicated to Grey Goose(?!) with extremely cheesy decor, inundated with announcements in French, sitting behind a guy that has "Death Racer" defined on the back of his shirt.

It's life dictating for you.  It's something else guiding you.  Outside of your control.

And somehow you are there.  Like you have arrived and not sure what else is to come.

I don't even remember the last time I opened this.
I read my last post and I have no idea who I am even talking about.

It's been that long.

Barely even recognize myself.

I have to start somewhere.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When he is free he is really free.  He writes, he calls, he uses kind words.
When he is free he lets himself be himself.  He watches attentively, speaks without error and always, almost always, smiles.
When he is free.
But that doesn't always happen.  He doesn't always let himself be free.  He sleeps less and works more.
When he is free he is open to change, open to seeing, open to smiling.
His heart feels happy.  You can see it on his face.  The creases above his eyebrows lessen, his mouth curls up, and his eyes shine.
When he is free.



Ba     lance.

Balan      ce.

No matter how much I try for it, it always ends up looking something like:

B                 alance.


Balanc                                        e.

It doesn’t come with ease.  It’s one thing or it’s another. 
Push, push, push yourself. 
Totally collapse.

I guess it’s what we constantly strive for.  I know it’s what I am constantly striving for. 

Maybe it’s the striving that throws me off.  Maybe just the mere awareness of it makes it more attainable.  Who knows.  But something doesn’t feel quite right.

Monday, August 13, 2012

a sacrifice

He addressed the whole crowd.  As he glanced up, a piece of hair, once so neatly in place with the rest of the white hairs on his head, fell across his forehead. 

“You know, I have been married for 67 years and I have never once considered it a sacrifice.”  His thick German accent made it necessary to strain in order to understand what he was saying. 

He then turned his attention to his wife, sitting in the front row.  Her pearl necklace falling over her cardigan and her hands folded neatly on her lap.  “Never once.”


“Unless you look at sacrifice like this: something that gives up what it is, to become a better form of itself.  Like the gold in the fire.  It becomes more pure, more full of light, more beautiful.  If you look at it like that, then yes.”

Saturday, August 4, 2012

i miss her.

Sitting in front of me today was a young girl - maybe in her mid-twenties - situated next to her grandmother with her arm resting easily around her grandmother's shoulder.

My brain immediately flashed back to many, many similar and precious moments I had had with my own grandmother, sitting right next to her with my arm flung proudly around her tiny shoulders.  And as I went back to those memories, the feeling I would feel in those moments, washed over me.

I felt good.  Not just "good" in the generic sense of the word.  But I felt pure.  Like I was good, like things were good, like there was hope and kindness and goodness.  It's because she embodied all of those things.  She oozed goodness and kindness and love and humility.  It surrounded her.  And each time I was with her I felt it.

And I realized tonight how much I miss accessing that goodness.  How she was a regenerating force for me.  She replenished my humanity and made me remember the things that are important in life.  She wouldn't say much, other than wish me happiness and health and success, but there was something about her that helped me to recalibrate.

I miss her.  So much.

(In this picture she is with my niece.  This was taken only one month before she passed, on my last visit to see her.  She was an angel.)

the NYC metro

Why can't the metro in New York City be a little more like the trains in Madrid, or in Santiago.  Clean, air-conditioned, super easy to understand.

The little screen tells you when the next train is coming your way so you don't have to stand there wondering how long you'll have to brave the sauna-esque stench of the underground.

It's brightly lit.  It feels like broad day-light under there.  Like a pleasant underground world, not home to 8 million rats and the pee of the drunk.

And, best of all, there are escalators.  A lot of them.  Unlike the 5 minute climbs from the pits of hell.

I'm just wondering.  Why?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Luigi the Magician from Italy

Today I met Luigi from Italy who just happens to be a magician.  He barely speaks English and I know no Italian, and surprisingly, we could manage some semblance of a conversation.

Luigi from Italy is quiet.  He won't say much unless he is asked a question.  He will smile politely and maybe look up from his meal every once in a while, but for the most part, he just listens and sits contently.

He traveled here with two sisters from his town of Torino, they help to translate for him when they can, and when he wishes to speak.

Today, over lunch, Luigi from Italy decided to tell me something.  That he is a magician.  A real one.

Less than 30 seconds later he had pulled a Euro coin out of thin air and was placing it back somewhere in the air a few minutes later.  I was in shock.  A real magician.

The last few days I have realized that we all have a different story to tell.  Like Laura, who I met at the bus-stop in Madrid who moved to Spain from Mexico to study and has now made it her home, although she doesn't know for how long.  Or Susaan who grew up in Iran and now lives in Portugal with her family.  Or Nicholas, a French-man who was just transferred to Dublin to start a job that he has no idea how to do, or so he claims.  Each a different story, each a different perspective, each bringing something new to the table.  And sitting and listening to these stories, it makes you more human.  It makes you humble and it makes you realize that we all are in this great big world just trying to make it and trying to be grateful and trying to be good.

It's been a really humbling few days.  Kind.  And humbling.  And I feel more human.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

this life style.

I seem to quite like this Spanish European lifestyle.
Dinner is after 8pm, unequivocally.  Things start at 9pm and go well into midnight.  Well.
Kids are up, grandparents are up, and everyone is still smiling.
Time and energy is given to relaxation.  Don't forget the pool.  Make sure you have a coffee.  Just go take a nap.
It's all OK.
You're given permission to enjoy life.  You're not guilted when you do.  It's just norm.
I seem to quite like this lifestyle.

Magical Madrid

The last time I was in Spain, or Europe for that matter, was when I was on holiday while living in Haifa, Israel.  All of that was pre-New York City. 

I planned a last minute trip to Portugal, via an hour connection in Madrid.  As all JFK travelers know, no flight is truly ever on time, due to “weather conditions”.  With 40 minutes between flights, I sprinted across the Madrid airport trying to get to a gate that literally took an hour to get to…down the long, long corridors, through security (with weird plastic socks on my feet – don’t ask), waiting for a bus to the terminal which only comes every 20 minutes, watching the screen as my flight totally disappears….it’s gone.

I will not get into the details of the next few hours because it was a lot of waiting, walking between terminals, waiting, waiting, walking, walking…and finally I decided to have Delta airlines put me up in a hotel for the night and on the same flight the following morning.  To me, this beat waiting in the airport all day for an evening flight and I could, instead, actually enjoy Madrid. 

I was now on Delta’s dollar – they gave me a (really nice) hotel to stay in, all my meals paid for (which included 3 course meals as penne carbonara as an appetizer), and a shuttle to and from the airport.  Well the least I could do is spend 3 Euros and go into the city to explore.  After a good nap that lasted until 7pm (darn jet-lag!) I found myself in this magical city of Madrid.  I had received a good ‘ol map from the hotel receptionist of places I should see, and I set out from my Metro stop – wandering. 

The last time I was in Spain, it was pre-New York City life.  This was a totally different experience.  The simple nuances of urban life weren’t a challenge, but a norm.  It took away the stumbling blocks of trains and buses and crowds and noise and waiting and walking.  And it gave way to just simply enjoying.  Not having a single expectation, I would turn corners and completely gasp in awe at the beauty before me.  I can’t wait to upload the photos from the SLR on to because it was a true joy to take those shots.  Everything about Madrid surprised me.  The kindness of the people, the easiness of the commuting, the intricacies of the architecture, the openness of the plazas, and the classy and laid-back nature of everyone I saw.  

The last location circled on my map was the Catedral.  I walked up and was literally blown away.  I stood in the immense courtyard at dusk, when the sky was blue blue, and the air had a perfect combination of dew and crisp.  I took a really slow breath in and released.  It was an arrival of sorts.  A right of passage.  I stood there just overwhelmed with gratitude.  How lucky.  I say that a lot, but I also tend to forget it a lot, unfortunately.  But how lucky.  If you had asked me in June if I would be breathing in Spanish air on a cool summer night, I’d have declared a definite no.  But, you know, things happen all the time that we don’t expect.  We have just to believe and to take that first step.