Tuesday, May 31, 2011

chocolate covered squares

never have i ever had something more delicious.
it is a graham cracker completely and totally covered in dark chocolate. completely. meaning that you have to bite through layers of dark chocolate to actually even get to the graham cracker middle.

they sell it downstairs. at the 24 hour organic market. not sure there is anything organic about it. but who cares.

it's the type of thing that you stay away from on your 4pm grocery shopping trip. proud of yourself for not indulging. because it's not just the 15 large chocolate covered squares that are a bad idea, the price is the real problem. it's like double guilt. $6.99 for a small bag? ridiculous.

but then. when you are watching your super indulgent show at 8pm. and all you really want is that dark chocolate....that's when the bad decisions happen. that's when who cares who cares that you will be spending 7 US dollars on a cookie. and who cares who cares that you really should be having fruit.

because, it's amazing. delicious. incredible.

i recommend it to everyone.

heart swells

bundles and bundles of love.
of joy and laughter.
of warmth.

it changes your life forever and nothing matters in the same way it used to.
other things start to matter.
and you find yourself taking life a little less seriously, and yet again all the more thoughtfully.

purity in their eyes.
soft skin.
tiny hands.

curiosity that spills from their babble and manifests itself in the pitter patter of their feet.

pure joy. love and joy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Eat Soho

My good friend Nabil has started a blog about eating establishments in SoHo, or rather, any area South of Houston. It's called: I Eat SoHo ( When I first started reading his blog I was impressed by the selection and the simplicity of a concept which catches on so quickly.

Inspired by his idea, I decided to try something similar on Tuesday evening. I have family in town visiting and thought this might be a prime opportunity to have us all eat our way through Manhattan. I only have a few days with them and TONS of delicious food I want them to try. SO why not do it all in one night?
We started out at the Mac Bar - on Prince Street - and ordered a mushroom mac and cheese baked small tray. Amazing. Cheesy, gooey, full of flavor. We each got about 4 or 5 mouthfuls.

Next, head on down Prince to Elizabeth. On that corner we walked straight into Cafe Habana. But just the side area, not the restaurant, because all we really wanted was corn. Corn smothered in mayo, Mexican cheese, and hot red pepper. Pretty much one of my all time favorite treats. One of the only things my parents crave when they visit me in NYC.

Happily we head up-town a bit. Joined by 2 others, the group is larger. We walk, walk, walk. And down 2nd Avenue we see the small teeny tiny store front of Pommes Frites - a hole in the wall french fry establishment. Only a few square feet wide, this place specializes in delicious fries accompanied with any type of sauce you can imagine. That's where the fun lies, in fact, in the sauce. We tried mango chutney and parmesan pepper - amazing.

At this point we should have stopped. It was humid out. So clothes were already sticking to us and the heavy food we had been consuming, as delicious as it was, was just not boding well. Did this stop us? No.

On we continued, just down the the Dumpling Man. Hot, fresh dumplings were purchased and consumed. Each of us having an "I don't know if I can eat this" look on our faces but the chewing continued.

At this point we all began walking as though we were expecting, even though none of us were. The jeans that once loosely hung, hugged our skin both because of the humidity as well as the amount of food we had just consumed.


We had one final destination.
Walk. Walk. Walk.
Momofuku Milk Bar. Pork Buns. We ordered 2 for the 5 of us. Took a bite and couldn't even bring ourselves to finish. It was TOO.MUCH.

My curly hair at this point had decided to really embrace humidity and began to frizz completely.
The black liner I had applied that morning had now begun to drip down my face.

This tour was over.

11pm I finally opened the front door of my building. My doorman took one look at me and exclaimed - You're DRUNK!
I didn't have the energy to explain that I don't even drink.
I looked too much a hot mess for him to even try and believe me.

I'll leave the I Eat Soho to my friend Nabil.

Friday, May 20, 2011

perfect in diguise

I have learned so much in this past year. Most importantly, I would say is that I have learned to appreciate moments as they come. To understand that I am not perfect and therefore the things I do will have faults and will be opportunities for me to grow more. I now know that I have to embrace things - the good, the bad, and the ugly. And that sometimes the ugly is just the perfect in disguise.

It reminds me of the story of Leili and Majnoon. An old Persian story of a man and a woman who deeply loved one another. In his search for Leili, Majnoon started being chased by dogs who barked and and ran after him all over the town. Finally they led him to a stone wall and he had to climb that wall to escape them. Devastated, and sure he would now never find his love, he did so. And there, on the other side, was Leili. Waiting. At which point Majnoon thanked those dogs for that they are what brought him to his beloved.

It's the celebration of the messes. It's the perspective we wish we could have at the beginning, to save us from the stress and heartache.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Today a 2nd grader had an argument with her brother, a Kindergarten. She was in utter disarray. Naturally having a flare for drama anyway, she was frustrated, crying, and couldn't believe the injustice. Her little brother just looked at her in disbelief, trying to understand what the argument was about to begin with.
After resigning to the fact that this problem was not going to get resolved in that moment, I sent her to her classroom to join her friends for the poetry lesson during writing time. Hours later, she shows me this, her experience (which is applicable, I'd say, to anyone, of any age), in poetry:


When I get mad, I am red as blood. It sticks to me like glue.
When I get sad, I am blue as the sky. It sticks to me like honey.

But when I am both I feel as if I was purple. It sticks to me like cement.

Same to him.

A colorful fight of unhappiness and no one wins. We all lose.

And then we win.

Then red and blue and purple rise up again. Until then, no arguing.

remembering my grandmother.

in her later years, my Grandmother had a hard time hearing. you had to speak really loudly for her to hear you.
one thing that characterized her was her desire to pray, no matter what the situation, no matter where the circumstance. she loved to pray.

so the best was when we'd be sitting in a prayer gathering and someone might be saying a prayer in a low voice, one that was clearly inaudible to her, and she would just begin to chant, in her sweet Persian voice, she would chant the verses of God. completely unaware that she had just interrupted someone. so the whole room would stop, and wait for her to finish. she'd just interrupt whenever she felt like it, although to her it wasn't really interrupting.

today i was in a prayer gathering. and a woman started to say a prayer in a very soft voice. half way through her prayer, a woman in her 80's, wearing a beautiful shade of blue, began saying a prayer in Spanish. right there, over the previous readers voice, she just started and continued. completely and blissfully unaware.

and immediately, i was reminded. tears sprang to my eyes so easily and just streamed down my cheeks. i wasn't expecting it at all. but in that moment i couldn't think of anything but my grandmother and how she would have done the same.

as if face to face with her memory, i sobbed. for a few minutes. remembering her.
it felt good to remember.
God sent me that sweet old woman and her Spanish prayer.

woof woof woof

There is a dog outside my window. He only comes when I am most tired. He barks - always three times in a row, and then over and over again.

I'm not sure who leaves him. I'm not sure what he's barking about. But there he is. Three barks. Rhythmically, methodically.

Keeping me awake.

death by chinese food

was beyond exhausted on Saturday night. was out alllll day long at a meeting in Connecticut. an hour and a half there (we got slightly lost) and then about 3 hours back (stuck in City traffic). got home, too tired to think or speak. just too tired.
haven't ordered Chinese food in months and months. yup, that's the one. that's what i want today - Chinese!
call, place order, slip into PJ's. food comes, and is devoured. don't REALLY think about it. just put it into my mouth, while watching Modern Family.
eyes (with contacts still in them) start to slowly close.
body starts to slowly slouch.
next thing i know it is 4am and my poor room mate needs to come in and turn off the light in my room.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

my park

there is a park near my house. it's a little refuge amidst the brick and then asphalt. trees and grass and playgrounds. tennis courts and hills and walkways. it's perfect.

and it holds a million memories. memories that remain fresh in my mind as moments i cherish.

like the time i had a big picnic, with all my friends from all over the city - boys played sports, girls did their nails, boys chatted, girls went for bike rides.

OR the time it snowed so hard it covered the whole ground in a sheet of white and we fell in that soft snow and made snow angels.

OR the time it was halloween and all the kids were dressed up and we got crisp apples at the farmers market and hot apple cider and sat and watched them.

OR when i'd bring my kids over after a long day in the classroom and just sit in the sun and bask in the happiness they felt running around and playing games.

OR sitting on the hill on brooklyn-queens day with a bagel sandwich and an iced coffee.

these are the things i remember. small as they may seem. the things that make my park so special - the memories that flood my brain each time i pass by.

Monday, May 9, 2011

the sun

it makes such a big difference when the sun shines. it brings this internal happiness that just fills you up. warmth, kindness, happy. it all surrounds you. you don't even remember what was so hard about the winter. what were you so agitated about? what was the big deal with the gray and the cold? you forget. really easily you forget how terrible it was because the fact that you can sit out on your patio and soak in the sun while you drink iced tea is all that really matters at this point.

mother's tell me that they consider having children again because they forget the pain of child birth. the forget all the excruciating pain of that day because they are so filled with love for this little one. this new light that has filled their lives.

small proofs that happiness overrides pain, anxiety, and hardship. how are we spending our days then? how full is the glass?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

reality vs media

When I lived in Israel, it was a very unstable time there. At least that's how the media would portray it - over and over. Images of war and disunity invaded the news. Showing no one was safe.

After I had lived in that city for one whole year, my mom prepared to come visit. All her friends back home told her it wasn't safe to come and visit. They warned her not to come. They tried to persuade her that staying in America was safer.

But, of course, she came. And there we were, sitting on the Mediterranean, sipping lemonade mixed with mint, eating fresh salads with feta, and soaking in the sun. Wondering what everyone was so concerned about...


In the evenings her Dad reads to her. There is a rocking chair in her room. He sits in that rocking chair, reading her stories, showing her pictures, entertaining her. She sits in the crib, watching him. She is only just coming to the 9 month mark. And yet she sits. Sits and listens so beautifully. Watching her Dad. Taking it all in.

Monday, May 2, 2011

staten island

"what should we do today? i want to do something different, something crazy."

"i'm down," he replies. "maybe somewhere where we see the sunset?"

"hhmmm...lemme think. how about....oh! i got it!"

45 minutes later we are boarding, along with 200 other people with the same bright idea, the staten island ferry. we pour onto the boat and find a spot near the window. wanted to make sure to catch a glimpse of lady liberty herself. if you plan this trip right, you see the sun setting on the way to staten island and then you watch the lights of the buildings twinkling in the moonlight on the way back. que romantico!

we set foot onto the island only to turn around and ride right back, or so we thought. but something lured us out to look at the water, and once outside, it hit us. that overwhelming smell of Italian food. as if someone had a spray can with marinara scent and had diffused it all over the area. we asked a local where some good food might be and set on our way.

pier 76 is what it was called. juke box. smell of good food. red and white checkered tablecloth. clear plastic cups for soda. and regular paper plates for your pizza. we ordered. a lasagna and a pizza for the table, pepperoni of course. nothing short of delicious. even last bite of it.

later, back at the ferry terminal, we asked another girl for good restaurant recommendations, excitedly waiting for her to mention the place we just ate at, certain that we were at one of staten islands finest, hands down.

[insert thick NYC accent] "yeah, ya know. i haven't been to that place for a while. since a long time. you know what's good? [she doesn't even pretend to pause to actually let me guess] applebee's, chilli's. those are good - and they are right around here too. who needs anything else when you have that?"

and...we're heading back to NYC.


it's a sad, sad day when you look at the ol bank account and realize you are broke. not just kinda broke like you might have to put off buying the pair of shoes you really wanted until next month, but the kind of broke where you are wondering how long you can go just eating the contents of your fridge and cabinets before you will have to go grocery shopping again.

not sure how this happened. how it all crept on up me. i'm sure it was somewhere between delta and american airlines. it always happens there - my weakness. well, that and my 8.5 month old bundle of joy. all worth it if that's the case.