when i was oh, about fifteen, i met a boy named ryan lash who was travelling in nz from canada. he was a vegan and he took lots of pictures. he switched his pants with a friend of mine – the reason for this evades me now – but after this event we lovingly gave him the nickname ‘pants’. because we new zealander’s are super original and creative like that. ryan and i have weaved in and out of each other’s lives ever since. he has many a time offered to get on a plane and break some knee-caps, and i kept vigil by his bed in the hospital in israel when he was sick with malaria. he put up with marabeth and i when we forced him to take glamour shots of us (complete with fan we set up to blow our hair back) and i put up with his lankiness.
the other day it was ryan’s birthday. i nearly forgot because i now rely on facebook too heavily. and facebook didn’t inform me of this event. although it manages to tell me everyday about yet another annoying ‘what kind of zombie are you?’ application that i am not – read my lips – interested in adding to my profile. and for that matter, no i will not rate your ‘hotness’ or take your ‘survey to see if our musical tastes match so we should be soulmates’ quiz. i might take you up on your offer to play scrabulous. but i’ve been known to be a fickle competitor who plays consistently for a few days and then drops off the face of the earth when i can’t figure out a way to use ‘z’ for a triple letter score.
but i digress.
ryan visited me for about ten days at the beginning of june. it was so great to have him right here. not a zillion miles away in some dusty village (which i’m making sound lame, but in all reality was probably a thousand times more exciting than wherever i was). it had been far too long since we had inhabited the same patch of earth but as he’s been traveling to 18 countries in the past year alone, he has been a little preoccupied. and as he reminds me, constantly, i haven’t made the effort to be where he is. this is a sore point. but he forgives me because he has to. afterall, i was the one who chased down the israeli nurses when his iv ran out of fluids and started sucking the blood OUT of his arm. which basically means i saved his life.
the other thing about ryan lash is that he is the kevin
costner (thanks anjali) bacon of the baha’i world. that whole ‘six degrees of separation’ thing? you could totally do that with ryan. everyone knows him, or knows someone who knows him, or wants to know him. i could put you all out of your misery and tell you that he’s overrated and not worth knowing. but that would be a bold face lie.
ryan lash is one of my best friends and though i constantly threaten to kick him in the shins, i would be lost without him.
happy birthday old man.
i just got off the phone with a good friend, who just a few nights ago, surprised me with the news that she is getting married! today she filled me in on all the wonderful, exciting details and i am so incredibly elated for her! (you can gauge my level of excitement by the use of two exclamation points so far and the fact that i’m resisting dotting the end of each sentence with them). i loved hearing the unbridled joy in her voice as she told me about the whirlwind of meeting, realizing, deciding. that sense of awe at finally finding what she has been looking for – her complement, best friend, helpmate, love.
i don’t believe that there is just ‘one’ perfect person out there for each of us. but i do think that there are instances where two people meet and everything fits together so effortlessly and easily that it just ‘makes sense’ to be together. to them, and to those around them. and not just that is is a ‘sensible’ move according to the rules we have in our heads, but that our hearts wouldn’t have it any other way. i think about all the decisions, big and small, that occur in order for two people who ‘complement’ to cross paths. for the timing to be right. and for that connection of hearts to occur. surely, there are miracles in that process.
b, i’m so happy for you. i can’t wait to meet the lucky man that has captivated your heart.
i will always remember the day you were born. i could barely contain my excitement. high school classes held none of my attention as i waited for your arrival. a call to the office. a call to the hospital. i don’t remember how i got there but i do remember holding you in my arms. amazed at how tiny and how perfect you were. a crown of dark hair, big expressive eyes, pink lips. i fell in love instantly.
i once found you in my room having mashed all my lip glosses together. i was unimpressed to say the least. you were only four when i left for uni and i still feel like i missed big milestones.
i cannot quite wrap my head around the fact that you are fifteen. what happened in the time in between? you were, just yesterday, a little girl with a cascade of jet black ringlets down your back. strangers would stop us to exclaim at how gorgeous you were. now i can talk to you about everything. a total fashion plate, i love your laugh and sense of adventure.
i carry you in my heart. happy birthday beautiful girl.
a little note for you
not at all
i’m left spinning
like a child who has eaten too much sugar
i can’t hit pause
a treasure trove of memories already created
bouncing to open the door in
a room plastered with post its
you walked in with orange flowers, a mango and a peach
the sound of my name sweetest from your lips
subsisting on frozen blueberries
ichat we have modified to isleep
and i wake you two hours too early
to a ‘good morning beautiful girl’
brown eyes lost in blue
we count down
not at all
feeling stifled, my patience wearing thin i crept out of the room unnoticed. wandered around campus listlessly and found a door ajar – melodies streaming out. inside, head bent over the keys, you played. passionately, violently, consumed by the instrument, unaware of me leaning in the doorway. i was mesmerized. we spoke, you later reminded me, earlier that day. about literature and film and the things only you and i cared to talk about, whilst others compared watches they had received as graduation gifts.
words tided us over ten years with only a handful of days in each others presence. your words were always my favorite. and besides my mother, i’m pretty sure i’m your biggest fan.
“Do not ever come to Vienna unless you are with someone whose hand you’re happy to hold and whose face you don’t mind on your pillow. I mean this. This is a stern warning. It’s far too beautiful and far too romantic to be taken lightly.”
“Catastrophist is a word someone should seriously invent.”
“Rain exists somewhere in the air before it falls to the earth.”
“As far as phantoms go
You are the epitome.
Translucent and existent in distant photographs
I almost can’t recall.”
i knew as i watched you that afternoon that you were not destined to be a mere acquaintance. and now, a decade later, i’m still in awe of the profound love i have for you.
and then there is you. with embers trapped in your mermaid locks. (yes, i’ll back Q up. there are flickers of red. accept it).
when we first met, your eyes flashed with curiosity and you made sure I knew exactly who you were. it wasn’t up for question, your position was stated. but as swiftly as you laid your claim, you extended an invitation. a flea market. ‘let’s meet’ you suggested. so amongst the treasures we traipsed until we finally found each other. an all-too-brief exchange but somehow, in that moment, as the sun streamed down, I recognized a shared vision. an exuberant love for life that matched my own. a sister in spirit.
in my heart i carry snapshots of moments that were created amongst a handful of days. late night conversations at bosch. the endless hunt for the perfect high tops. introduction to my greatest addiction. my heart once broke for you and i sent him on the mission to make you smile. a video of you singing Tyrese’s “Sweet Lady” watched on repeat. the most awkward rendition of Ben Harper’s ‘Ashes’ that has ever existed, inspired by you.
and so it was like all the constellations aligned when two of my favorites met each other. i love my birthday gift from you both. thank you.
i’m supposed to be asleep. the plan was 9.30pm lights out. it’s 11.16pm and though i’m in bed, i’m definitely not even close to being asleep, in fact i don’t even feel remotely tired. this is a dilemma i’ve faced my whole life. i get into bed and i’m wide awake. i know i’ll be exhausted tomorrow morning…but right now i feel like i could solve mensa puzzles all night long. i think perhaps i’m crepuscular…except for the part about being active at dawn. i’m a big fan of dusk however, and it seems that as soon as the sun goes down my energy levels peak again and i’m ready to conquer the world. i also just wanted to use the word crepuscular in this post because, admit it, it’s a fantastic word.
so as i was lying here being not asleep, i was thinking tonight about all the various paths i could take. it’s a bit overwhelming to consider all the options and all the big and little decisions that could change the entire course of my life.
i’ve learned that my intuition and instincts need more airtime. i am big on ‘thinking things through’. my whole life i’ve made exhaustive pros and cons lists whenever making a decision…but i i’ve finally realized that my heart, or my soul, or whatever creates that little ‘voice’ inside, will never guide me wrong.
i’m allowing myself to be a lot more heart-ruled these days. so far it feels amazing but also a little scary. it’s a liberation from constantly assessing and calculating, from over-analyzing and underestimating. but it also involves being authentic. saying what i want to say. allowing myself to feel it all. not holding back. in other words, being entirely vulnerable. and lo and behold, i’ve realized i’m not very good at that.
which leads me to el oh vee ee. love. i think i’ve been a little scared of love in the past. i felt like it would take away from my independence, that it might mean some loss of self. i could easily love my friends but loving the person closest to me was not as effortless. as i type i realize how odd this must sound but i was reluctant to embrace the emotion with sheer abandon, and i always had a plan b up my sleeve or an escape route of some sort already established.
at this juncture i am choosing to face and dismantle the silly rules i created and allow myself to release, revel, bask and delight in love. in loving and being loved. i feel like i’ve finally opened my eyes and the view from up here is breathtaking.
10 significant moments that make me feel insignificant. but not in a bad way.
1. seeing clouds from above
2. standing on an ocean shore
3. lying on grass looking up at a vast blue sky or the stars
4. hearing my favorite music live
5. walking around the slums in karachi, pakistan, under the searing heat
6. standing in the middle of a crowded intersection in delhi, india absorbing the cacophony of sound and smells
7. hands on a belly of a friend feeling her baby move around inside the womb
8. standing at the foot of mt. carmel, in haifa, israel
9. holding a handful of warm sand and let it trickle through my partially open fist
10. the nyc skyline
10 luxuries i love
2. high thread count sheets
3. fresh berries
5. sleeping in
6. organic produce
7. swanky hotels
8. phenomenal hair cuts
9. long showers
10. moleskin journals
as far as airports go, nashville’s airport features on my list of ‘top ten airports i can tolerate’. i don’t have a list of favorite airports, because frankly, i’m not a big fan of any of them what with their uncomfortable-as-possible-definitely-not-nap-facilitating-seats, flooring patterns that are just a little too loud, overpriced food and the waiting. dear god, the waiting. i think waiting is one of my least favorite activities. up there with taking my car in for servicing and ironing shirts.
and just like the city of nashville itself, this airport isn’t aesthetically interesting or cutting edge but it has its own charm. it’s not complicated, it’s manageable sized, has a straightforward floor plan, an essential starbucks, friendly staff – admittedly some, like ‘Prince’ at the TSA desk this morning, perhaps a little too friendly, but it’s one of those non intimidating airports where you can whisk in 30 minutes before your flight and still make it to your gate on time, even picking up bbq on the way. if you were here you might also want bbq for breakfast. don’t judge me.
i find the latest renovation efforts endearing. like the stage they’ve built for example, complete with lighting and a smooth black curtain backdrop. i guess there are people who might enter music city and actually expect to hear music as they get off the plane – and you know what, nashville’s airport aims to please. then there is the seating area that features a huge flat screen tv that is set to the country music channel. in case you forget where you are, which is, the home of country music. and then just to really make sure you know that you are indeed in nashville, tennessee – because the plethora of shops selling cowboy hats and boots might not have pushed this point home already, there are announcements over the PA by the likes of phil vassar and dolly parton that welcome you and tell you some of the highlights of this city. like, wait for it, the country music hall of fame.
nashville is proud of it’s claim to country music. in case you didn’t notice.
i’m flying to dc today for work and play. the work part involves going to see RAIN: the beatles experience. this show is coming to my theater in a couple of months so i need to preview it so i know what it is exactly that i’m marketing. at this stage, i think it’s a beatles cover band. but maybe there is more to it. i’ll keep you posted because i know the curiosity is killing you.
the play part is the fact that i’m staying through till sunday to see some friends and absorb a dose of one of my favorite cities. i’m excited about the things that i can’t get in nashville. like urban outfitters, h&m, a decent hair cut etc.
i love the travel component of my work but i’m also glad it is limited to once every couple of months. when i was younger i wanted to be a travel writer just so i could travel the world non stop. but then i realized i’d always be working and could never really ‘enjoy’ the destination like you can when you are on vacation. plus there is that whole not liking airports business so the novelty wore off before the dream became a reality.
what i have realized is that although i love traveling, it is infinitely better with a team mate, your best friend, your partner in crime. i’m excited to have ‘someone’ to travel with again. someone who will let me lean on them and sleep while they keep vigil so we don’t miss the boarding call, someone who will make sure i am hydrated, someone who will not roll their eyes when i want to do the in-flight magazine crossword with them. in PEN no less. and most importantly someone who will hold my hand and say a silent prayer with me during take off and landing.
subject line: i wish…
i had known you when i was a little boy, when you were six and half and i was four and a half. i would have chased you around the merri-go-round. and probably splashed water on you. i would have put sand in your hair and sprinted away to initiate a chase. and then, when we had both worn ourselves into the ground, i would have shared my juicebox with you and probably stared at you for a little too long. i would have told your friends to tell you that i that you were pretty.
i need to find a time machine.
i feel like the luckiest.
list of superfluous things that my perfect restaurant experience would include
the option of lime instead of lemon with my water
aesthetically pleasing and perfectly weighted silverware
friendly wait staff that enjoy what they do. or at least don’t loathe being there.
low level lighting
seating comfortable enough to sit cross legged if i was so inclined
any menu that offers me bisque as a soup option
interesting, but not overly distracting, art on the walls. same goes for music.
little booths. or little rooms.
clever combination’s that i’ve never before heard of, like guava butter.
wild flower centerpieces. if i see one plastic flower/foliage/tree in the corner pretending to be a real inside tree, it’s a deal breaker.
pretty much any dish that features aioli.
list of words beginning with ‘s’ that i have an affinity for:
scarab. not to be confused with scab. which is definitely not a word i have an affinity for.
list of things i have a somewhat love/hate relationship with:
my old macbook
button down shirts
non stick pans
on line board games
the adorable dog you see here is called sawyer not ‘soyer’ as i’ve been spelling it.
i know that the way i’ve been spelling it is not the obvious way to spell sawyer but i was confused.
the conversation went something like this:
‘what’s his name?’
‘insert the name that sounds like soyer/sawyer’
‘oh, like tom sawyer’
‘no. he’s named after the guy from lost’
(i’ve never seen lost)
‘so, is that different to tom sawyer?’
(i can’t remember the rest of the conversation but i definitely recall some discussion about soy beans. and courtney is a vegetarian so it all made sense. somehow.)
so then I guess I just figured it was ‘soyer’.
but it’s not.
you can all sleep much better now.
on my birthday this year, i not only had the gift of having a load of people i love dearly within hugging distance, but i also received some fabulous gifts. one of the items was a tom tom gps. we call it tom. we being ‘me’ and me being oh so original. i’m very excited because i found out that i could download a new zealand accent for the ‘voice’ of tom. i need to do this asap. because the current voice is a very demanding robot woman and she is a little irritating. and not at all friendly, like i would imagine ‘tom’ to be.
tom is actually going to save my life. or at least save me a lot of miles and wasted gas. i am constantly getting lost because my navigational skills are pretty appalling. this became very apparent to me the day i realized i couldn’t give directions to my own home. the place. i. live. i just knew intuitively where to go but couldn’t really explain that to someone else. this is problematic.
i once got completely lost in paris. i was so certain i knew where i was going, i had a map and everything but to no avail. i ended up walking for three hours. in the rain. it was beautiful. but getting lost in nashville? not as romantic.
the other gift was a beautiful hookah from jezebel jen. i’ve wanted one of these for a long time but they are not that easy to find in nashville because, well, the market here is more the ‘chewing tobacco’ kind of market. i learned this the hard way when i grabbed a friend’s can of red bull out of his hand only to find that it was his SPITTING VESSEL. did you throw up a bit in your mouth just now? yep. me too.
One of my favorite people who also happens to be one of my favorite writers (how convenient) has been posting these incredible lists on his blog. I once linked to the one he wrote for his ‘yet unborn children’ and then spent a while wishing that I could be one of his yet unborn children. That might sound weird. But if you read the list, you would understand.
So basically, you can blame Quddus for the fact that I no longer write on my blog because the scenario goes something like this:
I think about how I should update my blog.
I check Q’s blog and lo and behold he’s written something profound and amazing.
I smile and think to myself, wow. he is such a show off.
And then I decide there is no point in posting anything. (reminiscent of when I decided I’d be a photojournalist and Ryan Lash’s flickr feed squashed all my confidence in one fell swoop).
It can be inspiring to be exposed to other people’s talents but it can also be a bit defeating.
So to combat the profound depth and beauty of Quddus’s most recent list I’m posting some of my own super trivial ones. This way there is balance in the world.
List of things people actually say (out loud) in the South
In response to “how are you?”
“I’m finer than a frog’s hair”
Another response to “how are you?”
“Fair to middlin’”
(Uhm what? I have no idea what you just said. Not sure if it’s because I don’t know what middlin’ is or because you have no teeth. But I’ll smile and nod)
A response to “Are you going to be there tonight?”
“God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise”
A response to “where is it?”
“Within’ spittin’ distance”
A response to “I’m sorry that happened to you”
“well it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye”
Across the table on a date:
“(wolf whistling sounds) I could to sop you up with a biscuit”
(Your use of the word ‘sop’ is a total deal breaker.)
The voice message recording for the sales manager at a local Christian radio station who owes invoices for settlement:
“Just remember, I’m too blessed to be stressed”
(Excuse me? You’re too blessed to be stressed? I need you to PICK UP YOUR PHONE AND ANSWER MY CALLS because I, on the other hand, am obviously NOT too blessed to be stressed.)
In response to my being surprised at a colleagues age saying “he doesn’t look that old”:
“yeah, that’s because black don’t crack”
(what?! I can see how that is a compliment but it also seems really wrong)
Also, if you refer to your motorbike as a ‘crotch rocket’ chances are we can’t be friends.
List of places I would be genuinely happy to be teleported to tomorrow:
Frolicking with Roya Azadi at the craft fair in Brooklyn
Riding on the back of a certain Vespa with a certain lovely boy, through the streets of Hollywood.
Sunbathing on a Nelson beach with Jasmine Sutton and catching up on 7 years of life
Snuggling in Mona Jafari’s bed
Eating cheese and crackers washed down with Red Bull on Camel Beach with J-JackRabbit
London to dispense hugs and tell TRA everything will really be okay. I promise.
Lake Tekapo with my family eating a picnic mum packed that looks strange but tastes amazing
Gallivanting around Wellington and Auckland catching up with some of the dearest friends I have
Swimming in the ocean. With anyone. When it comes to the ocean I guess I’m not picky.
Inhaling a real latte and bad-for-me-dessert on lygon street with Elms
Sitting on Luke and Af’s always-falling-apart-but-still-strangely-comfortable-couch
Chicago. Because I keep promising and never delivering. Like some crappy infomercial product. Like the handy stitch
A no expense spared shopping spree with Anusce in Italy.
At Ashley Ludwin’s graduation basking in california sun with my favorites.
Lens shopping with Ryan Lash. We never did this and I’m folorn. FOLORN I tell you.
Legitimately basking in the Amatra spa in Delhi with Bita Haidarian. As opposed to time we pretended we worked for MTV.
I’ve realized there are countless combinations of places and people I love. Now I just need a teleportation device. Perhaps Q can get utilize his nanotechnology degree and start working on one of those instead of usurping me with his blog prowess.
What I will be doing instead, which is pretty fantastic in it’s own right, is going to the Artisan Festival at the park with the lovely Rachael Dere who is visiting, then driving to Bonnaroo for a date with Ben Folds, Iron and Wine, Sigor Rus, Lupe Fiasco and of course Pearl Jam – whose music definitely was integral to the soundtrack of my life circa 1993. If you are at this festival look for me, I’ll be the sober, clean, clothed one.
List of songs I know all the words to by heart
Every song from the Sound of Music soundtrack. (you say ‘lame’. I say ‘how do you solve a problem like mariaaaaaaaaaa?’ at the top of my lungs in public.
Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
Pillar of Davidson – Live
Throw Your Arms around Me – Pearl Jam
Drive – Bic Runga
Fix You – Cold Play
Thank You – Dido
The Story – Brandi Carlile
Falling Slowly – The Swell Season
It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy (and no, I’m not kidding)
I’m realizing as I write that this list is a result of these songs being played on repeat for days, sometimes weeks, at various phases in my life. Yes, even the Shaggy hit.
I’m also realizing the list is a little incriminating and implies I don’t know the words to anything current and that is probably true. Admittedly, this might be because my car cd player doesn’t have the repeat option and I don’t know how to get my ipod to play a track on repeat. Or that I no longer care about the words as much and just sing something to fill in the blanks. Usually that ‘something’ doesn’t quite make sense. I tell myself that’s okay because it’s all about the phrasing and melody anyway.
I’m happy to report that lots of amazing music has recently entered my world. Some of my new loves include: Ingrid Michaelson, Josh Ritter and Landon Pigg. The new Death Cab album has grown on me, even the initially-i-thought-it-was-obnoxious-8-minute-I-will-possess-your-heart track.
In closing, my recent music vice is just HOW much I like Estelle and Kanye’s ‘American Boy’. If it is playing, I am smiling. It’s that simple. Stop your elitist cringing. You know you love it too.
I’m not really a big fan of comics but I feel like my life has been drastically improved by this little find.
The disclaimer on the site is great too:
Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).
or that five inches is 16 dry basmati rice grains end to end?
well now you too can know all these wonderful useless measurements and more. check out sensible units.
speaking of measurements, i was out with friends tonight at cafe coco and we were discussing how much honey was in marlee’s drink. how do you measure something like that when you don’t use a spoon? well dear readers, you measure it in seconds of squeezing. supposedly this is what bartenders do when creating drinks…count as they pour the liquor. who knew? not i.
in conclusion, her drink contained a three second squeeze.
favorite conversation of the day:
‘that’s holley, her daughter ruby, and her brother-in-law, ferraby lionheart’
‘WHAT? who did you say that was!?’
‘ferraby. ferraby lionheart’
‘no way. i have SUCH a man crush on him’
later (after i’d introduced them)
‘so why didn’t you tell him about your huge man crush?’
‘i didn’t feel the timing was appropriate’
text of the day that made me want to be where they were:
‘waiting with andy to see this ‘variety show’ in the most random theater: andy says its: ‘alice in wonderland + arrested development + jazz club’, we have no idea what’s going to happen, and the flier advertised jazz, fun and titties. we are nervous to say the least’.
yesterday we had a ‘phone training session’ at work because we are getting new phones. you would think that since we are all college graduates in my office we would have somewhat of a clue about how to operate a phone. but i guess they have little faith in that being the case so i traipsed (very reluctantly) to the training. i wouldn’t normally be so apathetic about something like this but i was going on very minimal sleep and keeping my eyes open was akin to feeling like they were being scorched with smores on a stick. not pleasant.
whine. whine. whine.
so anyway, marabeth had saved me a seat next to her. this was probably the first bad move. secondly, due to my lack of sleep i was hysterical. not hysterical as in ‘crying and emotional and irate’ but more in the version where everything is hysterical. especially the stuff that is in no way funny. like the fact that the person training us had rings of purple eyeshadow around her eyes. HYSTERICAL. and that when we ‘mock’ called each other one of my colleagues whispered ‘what are you wearing?’ over the phone in a creepy stalker voice. HYSTERICAL. you get the picture.
so i’m giggling obnoxiously and not paying attention to the all important instructions. like how to hang up a call. UHM lady? if you tell me the ‘goodbye’ button is what hangs up a call ONE. MORE. TIME. i’m not going to be able to handle it in a mature way. I get it. goodbye equals no more call. it’s very clear. STOP reiterating the obvious. so this is the internal gnashing of teeth dialogue i have going on in my head right?
next she tells us about the ‘option’ button. so as marabeth and i are sharing a phone i decide to explore this feature as it sounds like the ONLY part of the training that might be interesting. the first option is language. deviant that i am i decide to change the language to french.
and now we are in trouble. or Écouter. because we cannot get the phone back to normal. it is speaking to us in french. all the menu items are in french. and i am DYING of laughter. the entire ‘class’ is distracted by my antics. the purple panda eyed instructor comes over all no nonsense. she jabs at the phone furiously and definitely is missing the hilarity of my dilemma. i’m still giggling uncontrollably while marabeth is shooting me looks that scream: ‘please pull yourself together before you get kicked out’.
this just made me laugh more.
finally the instructor figured it out and i wasn’t allowed to touch the phone again.
did i really just turn 29?
tonight we went to movies in the park. they were playing alfred hitchcock’s ‘the birds’. it was nice to sit with friends, ignore the sticky heat and watch this classic. next week it’s goonies. can’t wait.