Tuesday, November 29, 2011

remembering my grandmother

A year ago on Thanksgiving I saw my grandmother for the last time. I came to visit with my father, who was in the country for a few weeks, and we went to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, where my grandmother resided in her final days.

I remember her being so extremely weak and tired during this last visit. It took her even longer to eat her meals and to move around with her walker. She had lost so much weight. Her eyes, which usually shone with a spark of light, looked tired and worn out. She only seemed to really smile when she saw my niece, then only 3 months old. She would look at her and chuckle and clap for her. And my niece would just stare and smile - like we used to do when we were younger.

This Thanksgiving I went to visit my grandmothers resting place. I remembered our last time together, but I also remembered all the times before that. When she was healthy and laughing and taking such good care of me. I remember the tiny Persian sandwiches of feta cheese and pita bread she'd make for me and the stories she would sit by my bed at night and tell. I remembered the food she made and the hugs she gave. And how every time I left home for a trip she asked that God take care of me and make me happy and healthy (then she'd slip me a $20). She was full of love, full of kindness, and full of faith. I love everything about her and miss her every single day. It was nice to spend some time remembering her on Sunday. With the sun shining down and the desert landscape stretching on for miles.

It was so nice to have just those few moments of quiet with her.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Traveling on Thanksgiving weekend is often times a nightmare. Everyone is rushing to the airport, the lines at security are so long, everyone is nervous about getting to the right place at the right time. It's often so stressful. It makes you forget what you are actually supposed to be celebrating - thankfulness.
But I think I figured out the trick. You might think this is a terrible idea, but really, it's brilliant. Leaving Thursday morning, instead of any time Wednesday, changes your life. There is virtually no line at the airport, smooth sailing all through security. And everyone is so super friendly. Everyone wishes a happy Thanksgiving to everyone else and people are relaxed.
And you get to sleep. You basically sleep all of Thanksgiving morning as you are transported to your family.
Then you step off the plane, JUST in time for Thanksgiving dinner. You walk into the house and there is turkey and cranberry sauce and mac&cheese and mashed potatoes.
Then later, there is pumpkin pie. It's a perfect dream.
Sleep all day and arrive to a delicious meal.
My second favorite holiday. And this just makes it even better.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

that movie...

Your know those movies set in New York City where the girl is waiting for a cab, her arm stuck straight into the air for what seems like hours, and then finally that yellow dream pulls up, ready to take her?

You know what I'm talking about right?
And then you know the part where a guy in a suit intercepts, opens the door of the cab, and jumps in, before the girls even realizes what just happened?
And you think - jeez, what a #&*()@#@^&*, can't believe someone would do that.
Well, it happened. For real. In the West Village last night. To this girl/me.

The movies actually ARE based on reality.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook: Society and Identity

Eleanor sat at her desk, her nose just inches away from the screen, her fingers clicking quickly as she cropped and adjusted the light and gradient of the photograph in front of her. Finally! Perfect.

She sat back to admire her handiwork. The couple staring back at her looked so happy. Their smiles were wide and their faces were animated. The truth is, she and Richard hadn’t laughed together like that in months. Ever since the miscarriage, they hardly even made eye contact. But that night, the night this photograph was taken, they were at the wedding of a close friend and the best-mans speech was funny. They had both laughed and at the same exact moment that someone at the table had snapped a shot.

Eleanor took a deep breath and let the reality of her and Richards situation fade away as the image on the screen sprung to life. She logged on to Facebook and navigated her profile to the photo uploading section. She clicked a few more times and then the blue bar popped onto the screen, showing that the photo was indeed making its way to the Internet.

98%, 99%, 100%. Done!

She picked up her cup of coffee and headed for the kitchen. The smell was strong and filled her with a caffeine fix before the rich brown liquid had even been poured into her cup. She filled it to the rim, tightened up her bathrobe and headed to the refrigerator to make some breakfast. Eleanor took out the ingredients for omelets. He’ll probably leave without wanting any breakfast, she thought. She slowly put all the ingredients back in and pulled out the carton of milk. She began pouring her cereal when she heard his footsteps coming down the hall. His cologne reached her before he did. “Morning,” he whispered, as he passed behind her to the cupboard with the mugs. She felt like she was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, knowing there were people around her but not wanting to look up. The silence was deafening. Her spoon scraped the sides of the ceramic bowl and filled the kitchen with echoes. She searched her mind for something to say, wanting to break the uncomfortable feeling that was creeping into her body.

“The Thompsons called about dinner on Saturday. Should I tell them we are going?” Eleanor finally broke the silence.

“Sure,” Richard replied, barely looking up from his paper.

“Alright, I’ll call Jayne back today. I always love dinner at their place. The desserts she makes are so good. Remember last time? That was delicious. I loved every bite. I mean, obviously I did, I tried to recreate it myself. Ugh, remember what the kitchen looked like after that – I mean, what a mess…”


Richard’s semi-response cut her off. She could barely see his face. He was hidden behind the New York Times and it didn’t look like he was coming out any time soon.

Eleanor finished her cereal, put the bowl in the dishwasher and headed out of the kitchen and back into her office.

“Bye.” She barely heard Richard before the door slammed behind him.

“Bye,” she said, to the empty room. She sat at her mahogany desk and swiveled around in her chair just in time to see the car pull out of the driveway. She turned back around and faced her computer. Her elbow hit the desk and the screen came back to life. There they were – laughing. She scrolled down:

OMG you guys are too cute!

I love this! You are still the perfect couple.

I can just feel the love – still look like you did the day you got married!

Thanks for showing us how it’s really done, El!

This is the best picture of you guys, you look so happy! Miss you…

She felt the sadness lifting. At least somewhere they were happy. At least frozen on the screen, with all their friends watching, they were still the happy couple she knew and loved. At least somewhere.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

what season is it any way?

the weather has been so crazy this season. on the last weekend in October, we had a snow storm - a full fledged enormous stow storm. so much so that many families in Connecticut still do not have their power back on from it.
and then today, today it was just sunny. it felt like the first day of Spring even though it is mid-November.
what is going on?
i am not complaining. i love all the good weather, but it just seems so strange.
i stood in the park today surrounded with trees of glorious colors - reds, yellows, browns, oranges - and i took in deep, deep breaths. i told myself to remember this moment of peace and freedom. this moment of standing in the park with my short sleeved shirt, i told myself to make a memory of, so that i could access it as soon as the weather begins turning a bitter cold not just for a day but for a couple of months that feel like eternity.

i hope that mental picture stays in my mind until at least mid-March.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I was at a workshop last weekend and the presenter said something that I have still been thinking about. She said that we can usually tell in the first 10 seconds of talking to someone whether or not we agree with them. The time proceeding that initial 10 seconds is spent thinking about what you are going to say in return and, if you disagree, thinking of your argument points.

Since that day I started to be more aware of this and catch myself after that 10 seconds and literally tell my brain to re-focus and really listen to the other person.

I'm wondering how much more different our interactions would go if we actually all did that. If we actually all listened to one another and were present in that conversation rather than trying to guide, manipulate, or judge it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

reflection and communication

life is all about reflecting on who you are, what you have done, and what you want to do better. sometimes you are tired and you say things the wrong way. sometimes you are emotional and you snap instead of explain. and sometimes you feel something but then the words that come out don't actually match that feeling.
a lot of times, you might just be misunderstood.
that's where the reflection comes in. was i really being the best person i could be? could what i said have been misunderstood? what is my intention?
it's hard living in a world with other people. we all have our own needs and desires and wants. and we all, a lot of the time, think we are right. so we don't listen. we just tolerate until someone is done speaking.
it's about navigating all that difference and finding common ground. and understanding that peoples intentions matter. and trying to understand things from a different perspective.
it's important to do that.