Monday, October 31, 2011

brooklyn hallow

Halloween has always been a fun holiday for me. When I was younger, my mom would sew my costumes and we'd go out trick or treating. I loved everything about that day. Just the thrill of being out at night, no inhibitions, candy, and fun.

Tonight I strolled my neighborhood just to watch the kids enjoy this day.
I was pleased to find YET another thing to love about my neighborhood. An entire block was sectioned off with food and ice cream trucks, and a huge stage and set had been built in front of a brownstone with a rendition of Hansel and Gretel going. It was spectacular. Children of all shapes and sizes were decked out in costumes, along with their grown up counter-parts.

Down the street a jazz band played and a faux boxing rink was set up for a fight between Godzilla and another slimy creature. People dancing and drinking and dressed as scary creatures of the night.
It was just one of those moments when you miss being a kid. When you can look at the excitement on their little faces and remember that exact feeling and those precise emotions. One of those nights when you remember all the good things about your childhood and can't wait to share it with your own little one one day.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Playing with fiction...

I've been working a lot on my writing for my Fiction class. So my blog entries have been a bit fewer and further between. I have found fiction to be a challenge for me since most of my writing thus far is pulled from personal experience and re-telling a memory. In this writing class I have had to push myself to think of other characters, other settings, other circumstances. It's been a challenge, but one that I have been enjoying.
Below is my homework assignment on "description". Surprisingly, I got great feedback from my teacher on this. So thought I'd share something I was working on outside of blogging...

My heart is pounding so loudly in my chest. Its rhythm becomes the backdrop of my steps, also pounding heavily on the long stretch of pavement before me. The flood of stars hanging above me like tiny Christmas lights offer the only light for miles. The desert glows in a magical way, hiding the undercurrents of fear that may exist.

The grey v-neck American Apparel shirt that I almost always wear on my visits here is completely soaked through with the sweat from my body - half induced from emotion and half a result of the heat. The temperature rarely cools, even after the sun has set. The experience is similar to that of the dry saunas at my spa back home. Except there I take deep cleansing breaths and then leave when the heat becomes unbearable. Here, there is no leaving. The hot air swirls through your nostrils and occupies your lungs. The heat from the pavement rises up and stings the face, like a slap. It wouldn’t be the first of the night.

The silence is almost deafening and allows the pounding from my heart and the soles of my feet to echo and bounce around trying to find space in my head. Once in a while there is a rustle from the bushes off to the side. They sway and shake, depending on the size of the animal scurrying underneath. And their tiny paws or slithery bodies can be heard over every pebble and every grain of sand. Usually, that would scare me but tonight I know that I am running from something else, something bigger.

The street goes on for miles ahead of me, one straight line like an arrow shooting ahead, forging me onward and making me well aware of how far I need to go. As I walk the events of the evening flash back like snapshots from a Polaroid camera.

The fight.

His eyes squinting. My body shaking. Our mouths quivering.

His hand raising up high until it’s erect like a flagpole. My eyes following it as it slowly makes its way above my head.

A series of hits.

Loud, uncontrollable sobbing. The sound of the dog barking covers up the heaving.

A stream of drool gliding out of the sides of my mouth and making a pool at my feet.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, baby. Just sleep. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow we will talk about it.” Lies.

Slipping out of bed. So quietly that the sound of silk sheets beneath my body is inaudible. Padding on my feet hitting the cold marble floor like cotton balls. Gray v-neck shirt barely moving as my body slides the rest of the way out of the bed.

I shake my head in an attempt to forget. The warmth of the air actually comforts me and feels like an embrace, as if trying to convince me that I did the right thing.

And then I hear it. Footsteps. My heart pounds louder and my feet pick up pace. “This is it,” I tell myself, “Just hold your breath and run.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Scheduling in New York City can be such a total nightmare. In between dinner and coffee - 30 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
I'll meet you on the 17th, no the 11th, no can't do Monday night.
It's kind of ridiculous.
Tonight a friend that I have literally been trying to see for almost a year called me to schedule a time for us to see each other. First and foremost, she had to put into her calendar to even call me to schedule (I would have done the same).
And I stood at my computer for almost 10 minutes trying to find a time for us to get together.
Wednesday between 5:30 and 6:30? Nope - have to work. After 8pm on Mondays? Can't - I have a class. Saturday next week? Out of town.
And on and on we went. Over and over.
Until finally, FINALLY, we settled on a date a month from now. A MONTH FROM NOW!
Scheduling in New York City can be such a total nightmare.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

and now a few words on rodents by P. Mahdavi

my friend Pedram relays to me the following story, which he has given me the right to publish, word for word:

Speaking of rodent stories, last night I was standing outside the Pacific Street subway entrance at the Atlantic-Pacific Street station. There is a crowd of people and all of a sudden I hear loud shrieking. Like blood curdling death screams. I turn around and see three girls running for their lives from a footlong rat that had emerged from the air vent. I say rat but it was likely the offspring of a mouse-bear mating experiment. The rat (really an ROUS) starts darting around as people scatter like syphilis was chasing them. It gets close to the wall and makes a run for the subway stairs.

Between the rat and the stairs is a guy begging for cash while sitting in his motorized wheelchair. The guy sees the rat galloping toward him and is about to jump out of the wheelchair. He lifts his legs (a possible miracle) and I don't know if he really can't walk or doesn't want to ruin his scam but he just sits there, clenches the armrests and crosses his legs. I've never seen such terror and helplessness in any person's face. I honestly hold my breath as I stand there watching the rat bull charge at the guy. The rat gets to him, the guy's eyes go from wide open to shut tight and the rat goes under the wheelchair/scooter and past the guy.

The rat is now ten feet away from the staircase, which has about 20 people on it, and is running at full speed. The rat gets to the first step and without hesitation it launches itself into the air like a bullet (I'm not even exaggerating), then does a flip (a F#%@ing FLIP!), clears the entire first flight of stairs (as people loose their minds), lands on the platform with full force, does a ninja roll (no joke... it did a precision ROLL), gets to its feet (winks at me) and jumps down the next five steps into the station.

The next 20 seconds I can't see anything but hear intermittent screams.

I love NYC. - Pedram Mahdavi


i had a class assignment to write dialogue. the rule was to write a conversation that says one thing but means another. dialogue with subtext. here was my attempt.

“Did you remember to take the trash out?”

“Nah, forgot. Something came up. I’ll do it now.”

“I don’t need you to do it now. I needed you to do it when I asked you to do it.“ Olivia places the last plate into the dishwasher and wipes her hands on the towel. “Besides, I’ve done it already.”

Richard peers around the corner into the long, narrow kitchen. “If you already knew I didn’t take it out, then why did you ask?”

“Taking out the trash doesn’t need a reminder. It stays too long - it stinks. It’s just something you have to take care of. Right then. Right when it’s needed…”

“Your mother called today. She said she needs to talk to you. I left a note by the phone, did you get it?”

“…not when you feel like it.” His attempt to pull her away from the trash fails. “Things stay too long they stink, they always stink.” Olivia grabs a rag from the counter and begins scrubbing. At first softly but then with more and more fervor.

“I just wish you would leave it. You end up doing it all the time. You end up taking it out. And it’s my job. I was going to do it.” He feels his temper escalating and decides to head into the bedroom to avoid a more serious confrontation.

“Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll leave it for you.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

say it Maya!

I was passed this quote today by Maya Angelou.

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it
seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that
you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things:
a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that
regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're
gone from your life. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as
making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both
hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I've learned that whenever
I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've
learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that
every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or
just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you
did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This resonated with me in so many different ways. What really hit home was the end about people remembering how you made them feel. If we are all constantly aware of that - how incredibly beautiful would all our interactions be?

Makes you think about what to strive for.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


catching my breath.
finding time to catch it.
feeling my heart race, because i haven't taken the time to stop.
all of a sudden the whole day has passed and i forgot to breathe.

completely overwhelmed. sleeping only to make it through to the next day.
body exhausted. mind on overdrive.

too many tiny small little things that need to be taken care of.
need a chance to stop. for the brain to turn off. to not worry. to not think.

a few minutes each night. even just a few. to pause. to refuel.

need to find the time.

Monday, October 17, 2011


today someone i know and hope to know even better in the near future said: you are a rock.

don't quite get it. but it certainly was a compliment none the less.
BUT. speaking of rocks. it reminded me of what my cousins used to always make fun of me for. rocks.

i am a sentimental person. for sure. even the smallest little thing is touching to me. when i was younger, my cousins used to laugh and say - you are going to be so easy to please when you get married. all your husband has to do is get you a rock and attach some significant story to it and you'll be happy. you don't need diamond rings and trips around the world - you just need a rock with a story. they used to say that they would probably come to my house in 20 years and i'd have a mantel full of rocks - all different shapes and sizes. all tied to a sentimental moment.

funny the stories that words trigger. although i think now i'd probably really love that trip around the world. still. rocks with a story will warm my heart.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

treat yo' self.

i was escorted to brunch at 10:30am. we ate this amazing south african breakfast. you'll see the photo of such a brekkie on my other blog:

next i was ushered onto the train and taken uptown: way, way uptown. i was delivered into the hands of my masseuse for the hour. he was amazing. used these hot bags of sand (or something of the sort) which literally changed my life. i got up after that hour and looked like i had been run over by a truck. awesome massage.

i was met downstairs with a hot salted caramel latte from starbucks and then taken again on the train downtown to the great jones spa in soho. wet and dry saunas, jacuzzi, relaxation areas, magazine reading, hot tea, water with lemon, disposable razors, pure luxurious relaxation. 3 and a half hours of it. went from one thing to another to another to another.

then - last minute decision to go and see a movie. adding to the relaxation. movie watched. enjoyed.

taken over to westville for vegetables made the right way.

it was the perfect, most perfect day. i did no planning, i did no thinking, i was just taken from one place to another and was given the task to do nothing but enjoy myself. it was much much much needed. more than she'll ever know.

thank you to my cousin sam. who took such good care of me today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

my birthday.

a few weeks ago my friend had a birthday. when i asked her how she was feeling about it, she replied: what? i feel great! this is my very favorite holiday - it's all about me. people get to tell you how much they love you and you get to celebrate yourself.

i loved that. it's true. it's a day to celebrate who you are and how far you have come. it's a day to think about what and who you are thankful for and why. it's kind of like a day of reflection (and celebration).

i flip-flop every year with regards to how i feel on my birthday. every other year i want to keep it top secret and not talk about it with anyone. and then the alternate years i just want to throw a huge party and scream it from the rooftops. depends on my mood i guess.

my parents called today - skyped to wish me a happy birthday. and i stood in my kitchen and watched them tell me about the morning i was born. about only having lived in the US 4 years but still having taken lamaze classes (which they roll their eyes at when they talk about now). they talked about how much my mom screamed and cursed in the process and how happy she was, they both were, right afterwards. so many years ago today...that happened.

today is the day i will be grateful for life and all the gifts it has given.

Monday, October 10, 2011

surprise weekend in October

somehow this weekend we were given 3 glorious days where the sun shone as though we lived in california. it was not humid. it was not muggy. it did not feel like the wet sauna at Spa Castle. it was the perfect, most perfect weather. that kind of weather that makes you want to go to the beach and stare at the ocean. the kind of weather that makes you want to hold a scavenger hunt and have random people feed you on the street. the kind of weather that makes you want to sit in the park and read a book.

it's the type of weather that leads to a weekend where all your cares in the world seem to melt away (and that had little to do with the computer glitch that kept me from seeing my work emails all weekend - promise!) you can leave the house and not know when you will return, only to find yourself eating an $8.50 ice cream sunday that you are pretty sure they just placed on the menu and made up and overcharged because they knew you wanted ice cream that bad.

just was one of the weekends that i love. rejuvenated me for the week/seasons ahead.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

parallel parking

We pulled onto Stanton Street on the Lower East Side, driving slowly by parked cars and spaces that make your heart race in excitement because you think your search is over, before you realize there is a fire hydrant. And then finally there it was. The perfect spot. Well, almost. It was a little tight. A space between two big cars, each towering over us. Along the sidewalk were people scattered about, drinking coffees and enjoying the weather before it becomes too cold to sit outside.
My friend decided she could do it. She could parallel it into that little space.
So she began - forward, backwards, forward, backwards. Never so much as touching her bumper to the car in front and the car behind. It wasn't until seconds in that we noticed the onlookers. All the people sitting outside were now enamored by the ease of the driving, waiting expectantly for the bumper to hit, for the wheel to turn too far to the right, for the car to be too far from the curb. They all just sat and stared. Like something out of a movie - they watched carefully as the car parked. Skillfully. Masterfully. For what seemed like hours, the noise, the commotion, and the traffic all stopped as the world watched a car parallel park on Stanton Street.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cool Ranch Doritos

i love Cool Ranch Doritos so much. when i lived in Haifa, Israel, you couldn't find them anywhere. anywhere. sure they had the fake kind. the corn chips with a little ranch seasoning sprinkled on top. but it's just not the same.
anyone who loves Cool Ranch knows that an impostor can never, ever replace the real thing.
so when i came home to the United States for visits, i'd buy so much. a whole bunch. and i'd put them in my suitcase to bring back with me. my dad is so smart he would get me tupperware to put them in before putting them into my suitcase so that they wouldn't get crushed.

one time my aunt came to visit and was sent with a bag to bring over for me. she had a layover and she left them in a cab somewhere in london. i cried when i saw her. without my Doritos.

i heard the creator of the Dorito died last week. i heard the news at a wedding. apparently, when they buried him, they sprinkled his favorite Doritos on top of the grave. i'm pretty sure it was Cool Ranch. rest in peace.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

my bag is famous.

It was Friday night, you know, a typical Friday night. Had a few girlfriends over. We were picking up food at the grocery store beneath my house and then we were going to settle in to watch crap TV, talk, and stuff faces. You know, typical Friday night, right?
So we are downstairs, I'm in the worst possible outfit I could be in. Spent most of the daylight hours under my covers trying to beat whatever was trying to find refuge in my throat. Stretch pants, over-sized t-shirt, crooked glasses, hair a mess.
My friend turns to me to ask where I get my grocery bags, the ones I bring with me to the store each time I go shopping. I tell her, then continue perusing the ice cream cabinet for what would feel best emotionally but would do the least amount of damage to the oncoming sickness.
"Why?" I ask, distracted over chocolate chocolate-chip and chunky monkey.
"This guy, that one there, he needs bags for the TV show he is filming."
My ears perk up. What? TV show? My dreams of becoming rich and famous all flash before my eyes.
At this point the guy with the earpiece hears us and comes over.
"Wait, you're looking for a bag. Like. What kind of bag? I have bags. I have all kinds of bags. I live upstairs. I could get you a bag. What do you need?" Yes, I'm well aware that I'm speaking a hundred miles an hour.
After digesting my words, and getting over his sudden shock at my over enthusiasm, he begins talking at a speed not much different than mine.
"You know. A bag. We need to make it look like this guy uses these bags when shopping. I just need a bag. We're filming down the street. A new Lifetime show - Modern Love. He goes grocery shopping, and he needs a bag. But it can't have any logo on it. It can't have any words on it either. You got one? You got a bag?"
My mind is going through every single bag I have hanging upstairs on the inside of the coat closet door, trying to figure out if I have something that fits his description.
"Listen, I'm going upstairs and I'll bring you something. Just wait here."
I run upstairs, go through everything I have, and run back down with bags in my hand and dreams in my heart of being famous. Or at least my bag being famous.
"Here you go!" He looks through my pile of bags, picks one he loves, and exclaims - "This one! This one is perfect!"
And right there on the street corner, the man with the earpiece and tousled hair hands me a five dollar bill for a white, mesh, non-descript bag, perfect for veggies.
So look for it. On the pilot of Modern Love. And know that that bag came straight from me and is living out my dream of being famous.


Moving is probably one of the most stressful and exhausting things. You have to go through everything, make the decision to throw things out or keep things, and put into boxes the things that you want to carry with you to your next destination. What's worse? Taking that whole life and sticking it into a 4x4x9 storage unit.

We paid a visit to Manhattan Mini-Storage on Saturday, to take 7 years of my cousins life in New York City, and stick it into a storage unit. We walked down the eerie aisles after aisles, and it hit me that each of these small teeny tiny little spaces holds the contents of someones life. It holds the things that they already weeded through and thought were important to keep. All the things someone considers meaningful are all right there, in that little space.

Was just too interesting a concept not to acknowledge.