Thursday, September 29, 2011

feeling happy.

I guess this is nothing but a moment to stop and remember the reasons I am happy. Because often times, the mundane cycle which life can offer, overshadows the reasons you truly feel alive.
It's hard to feel content and happy in each moment. We strive for it, but it's hard.

For me, I remember that I am happy by reflecting on things I am grateful for. For the little moments that make me thankful. So I started a list. It reminds me of a TED talk I watched, and LOVED called "The 3 A's of Awesome." If you haven't watched this, look it up, watch it. It's amazing. My friend Daina also does a similar thing with her blogs on "The Little Things". It's just taking a moment to pause and remember what we have, what we should be remembering every day when we are exhausted, grouchy, and overwhelmed.

Things get added to this list often. But today, they stand as follows:

*My Faith - I'm thankful I was brought up with hope and with a greater understanding that things are bigger and greater than me, and that I need to just love. THAT is the most important thing, and that love comes from my love for God.

*Family - I sometimes forget how lucky I am that my family members are some of my best friends. That's rare. And that I have parents that love and support me to no end.

*My Work - I get to do what I love every day. I get to serve humanity in a way that I feel is meaningful and in a way that fulfills the core of what I believe.

*My Friends - I have people I can count on, all the time. People who would do anything for me, and they know that the feeling is reciprocated. Some are close close by, and some are flung far and wide, but they know who they are. They each play a different role, each are unique, and each make me a better person in their own way.

And then, the smaller things, like:
- sitting outside on the patio and drinking iced tea.
- crawling into my bed and reading a good book.
- finding the perfect point of inspiration and photographing it.
- getting an iced coffee every morning.
- yoga at the beginning of the week.
- salads with ginger sesame dressing.
- farmer's markets in the Fall.
- donuts on a Thursday at noon.
- skyping with my niece and seeing her smile.
- remembering there is a new episode of my favorite show up on line right now.

and - writing to remember.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


i just found out about some incredible work that is being done to advocate for the human rights of the Baha'is in Iran. for the last 30 years the Baha'is living in Iran have been persecuted for their religious beliefs. because the Islamic Republic of Iran does not "approve" of a religion that promotes kindness and unity, a religion that promotes peace and love, thousands of Baha'is in Iran are persecuted every day.
my grandmother was put in prison, there was a time when none of us knew if she was dead or alive. my cousins were and still are denied access to higher education. they can't study in freedom. they can not choose what they want to be and pursue that.
this website just came out that outlines some of the things that have been happening for the Baha'is in Iran.
a 30 minute documentary is about to be released telling their story, finally.
tonight i spent some time just looking over this website. hearing the stories. seeing the photos. and i just cried and cried. because these are my people. these are the people who suffer each day so that i can live a life of freedom.
suddenly, my whole long to-do list just didn't feel as important. there are bigger, much bigger, things that i need to be doing.

little Jaxon.

Today I saw some friends of mine that I hadn't seen in a long time - which is pretty ridiculous because they live right down the street from me and they are amazing. And they have an amazing son. A most amazing son. With a cute round face and a toothy grin, white-blonde hair that shapes that cute face and these sparkling blue eyes. He is about 3, I think.

Today he comes up to me with his subway map of New York City (yes you read right) and looks and me and says, "You want me to tell you my favorite subway stop?"

Shocked that a child even knows how to read the NYC train map when it took me well into my second year here to even begin to understand it (I literally took cabs everywhere my first 2 months in this City).
"Yes, yes I do."

"It's rriiiiggghhhttt here." His eyes search for a while and then his finger lands right on the Atlantic terminal train stop in Brooklyn. "The N, that's the N train. That's the one I like."

Impressive. To say the least.

"Oh ya? Why do you like that one the best?"

"Because it takes you see here - it goes to the 7!" Which he then proceeds to point to. The he takes his toy N train (of course) and plants it on the map and begins making vroom-vroom noises as the N makes it's way on the yellow track.

"Wait, where is your train going?"

"To Canal Street of course!"

Wow. This is a true New Yorker. Tried and true.

appreciating and encouraging

being appreciated is such an incredible thing. sadly, it is not our first instinct to encourage and share appreciation. more often, we tend to tell people what they are doing wrong, how they can fix what they do, how a situation can be rectified, or how we would do it differently.

it's so unfortunate because appreciating and encouraging helps us to work harder, to be happier, to want to do better. why can't we tell other people what we love in them? why can't we share what qualities they possess that we admire?

today i got an email from a parent thanking me. it made me grateful for people who appreciate. for people who might think something and instead of turn to the person next to them and tell them what they like in you, they turn to tell you instead.

hearing things like that makes you want to turn around and do the same thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


i used to believe that weekends had a routine. that friday nights were a time to go out with friends for, you know, a nice intimate dinner and delicious dessert afterwards. and then saturday was all about "doing things" - brunch with friends in the morning, run a few errands, coffee with another friend, oh! make sure i see those out of town guests that are visiting, meet up at an over-priced place for dinner, walk the streets, cafe, lounge, dancing, singing, whatever...

then came sunday. gym, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking (all my meals for the week), catching up with family over the phone.

and that's it. weekend is done. full and marvelous and done.

but. something has recently started to change. well, first off, fridays became days of passing out on my couch at 8pm, rightfully so. and the 2 days that follow just don't feel the same. plans aren't as set as they used to be. in fact, saturday night even comes and goes without anything monumental happening. i contemplate napping mid-day. MID-DAY! i never ever used to nap. never. i wake up and lie in bed and read. WHAT!? who are you?!

somehow my weekends have changed. not sure how long it'll stay like this, but i'm hoping this is permanent. at least for a while.

Friday, September 23, 2011

wow, you're a writer!

so i did something last weekend that i have always in my life wanted to do. i joined a writing class. it's an online class where you work on a few different pieces and your writing community helps critique your work. i'm excited (and nervous).

we had to write a bio for our class to introduce ourselves to the rest of the group. here is part of what i wrote:

"It was sometime after I turned 10 that I first wrote a “chapter book” that I was really proud of. I had finally taken one (of the many) stories that lived in my head and put it down on my college-ruled lined paper. I remember showing it to one of my uncles which, when you come from a huge Persian family, are a dime a dozen, and he looked up at me and said – “Wow, you’re a writer!”. And I think I have been ever since. From the journals lining my bookcase telling my stories, big and small, to the drafts upon drafts of unfinished work I have saved on my hard drive for each time I am “inspired”, I know that writing makes me content in a way that nothing else does.

I work in education at an amazing charter school in Brooklyn, only a 10-minute walk from where I live. I enjoy my work so much and am inspired each day by the people around me. Even though I first moved to New York City seven years ago, I am just now making it home. People and moments in this busy, bustling City make it almost impossible not to fill your head with stories to write. So I started a blog to help me document and it keeps me connected to the writing process." ...

i share it here because this space and the people who check and read this blog either every day or even once in a while, have encouraged me to take this step. as soon as i joined, i wrote to my family to tell them the news. my parents have always encouraged me to write. i think it's partly because of them that i even enjoy and do it as much as i do. my favorite was the last line in an email from my dad after i told him i joined this class: hope you can go some place next summer to just concentrate on that [writing]. plan it and we all help. love you, I am so proud of this wonderful daughter. Dad

Thursday, September 22, 2011

it's Fall!

you know i never realized how much i really love the Fall. somehow last year, after living in the north east for almost 7 years (and counting), the wonderfulness of this time of year hit me. i used to hate the weather changing and i used to loathe the change of the season.

somehow last year, apple picking felt more like a luxury than a chore. crisp apples at the farmer's market down the street, fresh baked bread, warm donuts, wool sweaters, and changing leaves. hot apple cider, and cinnamon, and jazz. there is something so cozy and warm and loving about this time of year. i am covered from head to toe, all bundled up - but i can still walk without having hunched shoulders and clenched teeth. the air feels cleaner and the cup of coffee that has slowly made its transition from iced to steaming hot, warms my cold hands in the place of mittens.

i love the Fall. it is all about baking and wood burning fires, and really cool sweaters.
it's about coffee shops and cuddling. even though it has the daunting task of ushering in the freezing cold winter, i think it does a really great job of making us like it, this season of Fall.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Upper West Side Life

Thinking now to my two years on the Upper West Side, it feels somewhat like I was living in a completely different City. It's only a 40 minute train ride but it reminds me of a completely different life. I was in college then, working hard for a Master's Degree that I am still paying for - one that I will continue to pay for for another 37 years, according to my loan officer, who incidentally has also advised me to marry rich. I loved my life there because it transitioned me to New York City.

I was walking in that area tonight and I was reminded of those days, even though they are now 6 years in the past. That yoga studio that kicked my yogi ass two times a week is still there. The cathedral where my graduation ceremony took place is still there. The restaurant where I bumped into my ex-boyfriend is still there. Even the people asking me for directions every 3 minutes are still there.

But. Most importantly, the AppleTree Market is still there. And I love that place. It was my one stop shop at every hour of the day or night. On all-nighter paper writing sojourns, it offered coffee, sugar, and sushi. In the "morning", whatever time that actually was, it provided breakfast sandwiches on H&H bagels. And if I ran out of printer paper, it had that too. It was my place. It will forever and always remind me of college, of hopes and dreams, of first arriving in New York City.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


There is this really ugly thing called insecurity. It comes when you least expect it and it manifests itself in the strangest of ways. It can be triggered by a look, an action, or just a mere word. Most of the time, you don’t even know that it’s coming but when it hits it’s like a freight train. Totally and completely incapacitates you.

When you look at it from the outside, it seems so incredibly petty. Because you look at it and think – are you serious? This is bothering you? It feels more like things that might be a big deal when you are in high school, maybe college, but not now. Now we are all mature. Now we can all talk about our relationships and communicate how we feel and why we feel it. But, as my wonderful, beautiful, always right and honest friend says, we can’t help it - we are all human. It’s true. We are all insecure human beings looking for validation all the time. And when we don’t get it, then we feel taken advantage of, we feel unloved, and we feel broken.

But asking for that validation is scary. Asking for it makes you look weak and brings with it the fear of not knowing how you will be perceived. Again, that insecurity.

I’ve been thinking though, that all this insecurity comes when we do one thing – put too much importance on what other people think of us. We want to make him happy, show her how well we can do, tell them about our accomplishments to make them proud of us, the list goes on. But what about doing something to be proud of myself? What about feeling good about my own choices and doing things to make me happy?

Now I’ll digress for just a second here because this whole “does this make me happy” notion can often be mistaken in this nation that prides itself on over-individualization. My needs. My wants. My desires. We live in a society which breeds us to think and act in a way where our needs overshadow the needs of others and where we feel the need to become the center of all things important. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Doing things that make you happy and allow you to feel at peace are things that often do involve serving others, looking at the beauty of creativity, enjoying a good meal, sitting and breathing. Opening our minds and hearts to be better people. Making choices that make us happier so that we can give back. Clearing our minds of the debris that builds up and the dust that just lies there, making our souls stagnant. It’s the small decisions that we have to make. The tiny moments where we feel whole. And in those moments insecurity doesn’t exist because we are connected to the deep and meaningful reasons for happiness.

So even though a word is spoken, a glance is passed, an action takes place – we let it come and then we let it go. Because ultimately, feeling insecure and looking for validation from someone else, isn’t going to guarantee us feeling better. But loving and caring for ourselves is. It’s simple. But so completely over-thought.


trapped. closed in. can't breathe.

release slow and easy. time to think. time to step away and see. bird's eye view? is that what they call it? needing to see the end in the beginning. enjoying moments. being present.

there is a term that i am not even sure exists in the Dictionary. a little too lazy to find out if it does. "futurizing". futurzing makes you crazy. futurizing makes you worry instead of actually being present and living in the moment. it makes you think things that don't need to be thought and makes you believe things you don't want to believe. you worry for no reason. you cry before you have to. you rationalize in place of feeling.

need space and time and breathing space to think. to be reminded that actually, everything is OK.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the suburbs in NYC.

I grew up in the desert. Everything about growing up had to do with a suburban lifestyle. Everyone had a car, we drove on wide streets, we had high ceilings and backyards, we had over-sized stores with much too much in them, chain restaurants and malls. Centralized air and washing machines were not added pleasures, and neither was natural light.

So when I first moved to Brooklyn, there was a lot of adjustment. There was the taking in and out of the air conditioning units every few months. And the storing of winter clothes because there just isn't enough space. And then of course the hauling of anything - groceries, laundry, a vacuum - across the neighborhood and up 3 flights of stairs.

June of last year I did what my friend Shaadee Mae refers to as me bringing suburbia to NYC.

I think I can now stay here for a bit.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This morning I watched the coverage of the memorial for those who died tragically in the attacks on 9/11, exactly 10 years ago - today.

In 2001 I was in Haifa, Israel when this happened. I remember watching the news, talking to my family in the States, and seeing coverage as if watching a scene from a terrible movie. But being that far you don't actually feel the gravity of the situation and don't experience it in the same way.

This year that same place has become my home. I walked through SoHo last night and two parallel lights lit the sky in honor of those once standing buildings. And today's coverage shared the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died as a result of ignorance and hatred. As the names were read, 10-20 at a time, there would be a pause and a family member would remember their loved one and send a "message" to them. One little boy, about 10 years old, got up and began reading the names of those who had passed. And somewhere around "Goldstein" he stopped and remembered his father. "I never met you, Dad, because I was in my mother's womb when you died. But thank you for loving me enough to give me the gift of life. I wish you were here to share it with me."

I sobbed after I heard that. Because these, and many others, are the stories that were left behind. The stories that, once the media covered and showed and explained, were left to deal with the pain and the constant reminder of what happened that day. It's the sharing of those stories that gives reality to the names being read. Hearing those stories connects us to one another and demonstrates the humanity we all share.

I wasn't here when it really happened. But 10 years later, as I sit in my living room in Brooklyn, I am reminded and re-live the hurt, pain, and loss felt by many on that day, a decade ago. And all I can do is remember them in my thoughts and prayers and be constantly aware of the preciousness of life and be conscious what I do with the hours and minutes I do have.

always an adventure.

each of the people in our lives offers something different. each of our friends play a different role. i love the moment when i realize what i am most thankful for in a friend.

i have this friend that always makes me feel like i'm on an adventure. this is hard to do with any type A personality, but somehow, with him...i feel like time doesn't exist and all possibilities are just that - possibilities.

take tonight for example. all we wanted was to find a place to have chocolate cake and a coffee. instead of taking out our phones and yelping it like normal people do, we decided to instead wander the streets, look for something that felt like the experience we wanted, and go there instead. we walked for a long time. in and out of different places, through alleys, down stairs and corridors, and looked at a number of menus. back and forth from one place to another until we found a place that felt just right.

i realized right then that i enjoyed that. i enjoyed walking the Brooklyn Bridge at 1am and ending up at a seedy diner in Cobble Hill. i like it because it never is in the beginning what i expected in the end. and it's an adventure. and i'm thankful to him for allowing me the space to do that.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

our light.

I believe we are all unique. Each of us are a blend of qualities and characteristics unlike the world has ever seen before us or will ever see after us. Although there are qualities of ours that are manifest in other people, in lots of people, around us, the way that ours were brought together and mixed all up is perfect because it's us. It creates in us the light that shines.

The thing is, we have just such a short amount of time in this world. So we have a lot to figure out, you see. We have to, first of all, know what those qualities are that are within us. We have to understand our strengths and our capacities. What are we able to offer the world? What is it we are really good at? What is it that we enjoy doing?

In the process of figuring this out, we develop the skills to bring tangible action to those qualities. It is our responsibility to do this. Or else we are depriving the world of our unique light.

my bus.

We ushered in the new school year on Thursday. 300 students and their families walked in through our doors - happy, content, and completely themselves. Our community was back together to learn and grow for another year.

Tonight I went to a talk by someone I admire and respect. Mr. Dunbar I know from my days in Haifa, Israel. He speaks and I know that somehow he has heard the cry of my heart and has chosen the exact words that I need to hear. Tonight he talked about not "missing the bus". About not missing chances that come up in your life, being aware of the opportunities that are right in front of you, and seizing those opportunities.

As he spoke my heart raced just a little and I couldn't stop (even if I tried) the feeling of overwhelming gratitude that flooded my soul. At my core, my very center, is my Faith. It is something I cherish and adore. It is something I try not to take for granted, although I am certain that there are times that I do. It is something that motivates me, shapes my thinking, and directs my actions. It's something I strive for, daily.

And then I have the most incredible blessing of doing the work that I do. I get to work at an amazing school, with an incredible group of people who are both inspiring and encouraging. I interact with hundreds of children and their families and see them grow and develop and learn and love. My work is a direct extension of the principles of the Faith I believe in. Every day I get to do something for the world in the small small way that I can. This is my bus. For now, anyway.

Monday, September 5, 2011


one of my good friends said something interesting today. she said she wants to live with integrity. that her thoughts, her actions, and her words should relay the integrity of who she is.

this resonated with me on so many different levels. but mainly because i think that a lot of times our words and our thoughts may by in line with our integrity, but that aligning our actions with that is often times harder, i find.

because i am of the firm belief that i should let "deeds not words be my adorning" it makes me think that the way we carry ourselves and share ourselves holds the most importance. how does what i do actually convey who it is that i am? are my actions reflecting what i say and what i think? does my character reveal the true nature of my soul?

it is the small choices we make each day that reveal that integrity. the small moments that seem insignificant but actually tell the story of who we are.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

no structure

8:35am wide awake.

9:30am grab an almond croissant and an iced coffee, settle into the wooden benches of the patio. eat, pray, love. reflect. cry. write. think. open up space in the crevasses of the mind. ease the soul. let the heart breathe.

11:30am visit a friend. talk and reflect more. intense calm has overcome. feeling open to what the world brings.

1pm in a convertible. driving alone to the beach. along the highway, loud music playing. singing my heart out. screaming. living. dancing.

2:30pm lying on the beach. wind whipping my hair. blue and green striped towel and waves that Irene left behind. sea gulls a little too close. reading chelsea handlers inappropriate life and laughing out loud.

5:30pm shopping. pick up things i need desperately. and not so desperately.

8pm visit another friend. love, laugh, decorate.

9:30pm finally home. grilled cheese sandwiches and pretty woman. sand still all over my body. salty feet. curled up on the couch.

a day not planned.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

string of emotions from years ago.

love lost.
dreams crushed.
heart broken.

needing something to tell you what you need to be doing. need direction. need love.
blindly moving through the maze that is life hoping to make the right choices.

winding roads, hearts shattered, lies seeped in disloyalty.

wanting, needing, craving reassurance.

choppy and uncertain. words don't come. nothing can explain.
movement from one emotion to another - stringing along.

songs, smells, words, visions.

trying to forget.