Oh, California. Thou art awesome.
I just returned from a couple weeks of vacation; one glorious sun-drenched week spent roaming around San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and one relatively stressful, insane week coping with large amounts of family/friends for my sister’s wedding. Both were much needed, in their own way.
Seeing the hubs and what he’s been doing to grow and build Toutapp was by far my favorite experience in Cali. He took his dinky little side project and made it into this amazing three person (and hiring!) successful company. They officially closed off their advisory funding round the day after I arrived and I got to see first stand just how much their hard work was paying off. Needless to say, nobody sits down out there. I thought Hubs was busy in New York, but in California he apparently moves at the speed of light.
The boys (TK and his lead developer, Derek) are living in an apartment in Mountain View and working out of both the apartment and an office at 500Startups, the accelerator program Toutapp is part of. I watched day after day as TK woke up, checked his phone, brushed his teeth, and went straight to his computer. Eventually after an hour or so of checking email/doing techie stuff, he would get hungry and shower and figure out where to eat. Most of his day is spent in front of a computer or at the 500 office. I once managed to coax TK and Derek to do a code review by the pool. That was my little victory! But really, they never stop working. It’s ridiculous.
Since I had an idea of what his schedule was like, I made sure I brought an east coast friend with me to explore SF, while also hanging out with friends in the area as well (hi Jennifer!) I spent my days either lounging by the pool with a book or walking around and getting burned. The sun is HOT on the west coast. My poor skin. It’s finally peeling even though I slathered myself in sunblock every day.
SF is a gorgeous city. It’s small compared to NYC, but so different. I walked around a lot, trying to get a feel for its neighborhoods and people. I know I shouldn’t compare SF to NYC, but that’s all I was doing. One of the biggest differences was the people. They are SO nice. They smile and make eye contact. Cars stop when you cross the street (even when it’s their right of way!) It’s MUCH cleaner. It seemed cheaper (I paid $15 to park the whole day, vs paying that per hour in NYC). People are outside all the time, rather than moving from building to building to get away from the extreme cold/heat in NY. Life is just slower.
I had a great time meeting up with my friends, TKs friends, touring Napa Valley (absolutely breathtaking!) and seeing my west coast family. I kind of want to go back…
After spending a week in Cali, I flew straight to Cleveland. My little sister (Saira) was getting married! As soon as I got to her apartment there was stuff to be done. Thankfully, she hired an awesome wedding planner so there wasn’t that much stuff, just odds and ends. Family started arriving on Wednesday, my parents arrived Thursday and a majority of guests arrived Friday (including hubs and my in-laws). Family is EVERYTHING to me, so I absolutely loved seeing everyone. Weddings are such big reunions. It was perfect for me, since both my family and my husbands family were there. When else do we all get together?
Saira’s gaye holud was on Saturday night and her official marriage ceremony was on Sunday morning. The reception started at 5:30 Sunday evening, and it was held at the Shaker Heights Country Club. Everything was perfect. Well, minus the two hours on Sunday afternoon when the lengha I was going to wear the reception went missing (it was eventually found, no worries.) I drove back with my in-laws on Monday morning and TK surprised everyone by coming back to NYC with us! Roadtrip! He has investor meetings and new projects he’s starting up so he’s here for the week. Even though my bedtime schedule is totally off, I absolutely love that he’s here and we get another week together.
So that was my wonderful (and much needed) vacation. I’m making some changes to mi vida loca soon, so stay tuned for those.Filed under Bangali, Fam Bam, Friends, TK and Mah, Travel | Comment (1)
My neighborhood block is gorgeous. It’s tree lined and filled with renovated brownstones and considerate people who actually make eye contact and smile when you look at them. This is so vastly different from other parts of NYC that I can’t help but be thankful for where I live. Of course, now that it’s summer, the neighborhood is much emptier, especially during weekends. There aren’t as many kids, parking is a wee bit easier and I can tell most people are tourists who wander over from Central Park for gelato or Shake Shack. I’m guessing many families take off for the Hamptons/vacation, and I’m happy about the quietness.
The only thing that irks me (to put it mildly) are the garbage pickers that have infested our block. I don’t know what else to call them. Basically, they’re random people who literally go through our trash. They scrounge around for anything of value, including cans, scraps of food, random items we throw out, etc. The worst thing is that they don’t care that we know they’re doing it. I mean, it’s not illegal – just super sketchy. I see them all the time as I enter my building (the trash cans are right in front) and even though I give them the stare down, they just keep picking away. It’s really dictated how I wrap my garbage and be wary of papers that have our names, address, credit card numbers and other important pieces of information. I literally can’t throw those out, and since I have no shredder in the apartment I’ve started hoarding all of it, including certain pieces of junk mail that have our personal information printed on them.
Since this is something that apparently ingrained in the neighborhood, last weekend I decided to just fuck it and go with it. These people are harmless, and don’t take anything of value (clearly – they’re sorting our trash, recycling in a way, if you will.) I had two giant bags of clothes that I set aside to donate to Goodwill. Big, bulky bags that I would have had to lug up to 79th street, not too far but then again anything more than a couple blocks in this heat tends to make me crazy.
Brilliant idea time. I set those two garbage bags full of clothes out where we put our trash and hoped that somebody would come by and take them off my hands. They were definitely not cheap items of clothing either, and if I weren’t so lazy I should have kicked myself to the Goodwill to get a tax receipt. Oh well. There will be more clothes at the end of summer. Anyway, in one hour the bags were gone. All but a purple sweater. Guess it was too ugly! HA. Although in a day, the sweater disappeared too.
So, the moral of the story is garbage picker = unintentional clothes donation, which totally made my life easier. So I’m just going to suck it up and not complain about them!
Filed under Musings | Comment (1)
The Book Thief was not what I expected. I picked it up based on its high reviews and thought it would a light summer read. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s set in Nazi Germany and some of the scenes were so horrific to read I cried. I wept for us, as humans, who stood by and watched atrocities like the death marches and concentration camps just happen, without stepping in for a long, long time.
Since the narrator of a book is Death, I should have prepared myself. The descriptions of the souls he collected and the colors he witnessed were unlike anything I’ve ever read before. His presence comforted people, and some were more ready to be taken than others. He plays a major part in foreshadowing certain events in the book, and I thought that only enhanced the storytelling. I like it when parts of a story don’t come out of nowhere but are anticipated.
The main character was a child by the name of Liesel, who lives on the outskirts of a major German town with her foster parents. She’s a tough kid, mature beyond her years. My favorite character trajectories were of Liesel, her best friend Rudy, the Mayor’s Wife, Max and her foster parents. They were all written very well. Many, like the foster mother, you had to take time to get to love. I laughed with all the mentions of saumensch and Jesse Owens, even if it only temporarily brightened a scene.
All of the books mentioned in this novel are important. In a story about a little girl’s interaction with books, the actual books themselves are very symbolic for what happens. They range from The Whistler to Mein Kampf. Moreso than the stolen stories, the written stories (especially Max’s) broke my heart. He’s a young man who, in spite of being dealt a very bad hand in life, still showed his vulnerability and devotion to Liesel and her family.
The scene that struck closest to my heart was after Liesel’s foster father got called away to war. He loved playing the accordion, and it was something that kept him going even during the darkest parts of the story. The night he was taken away, Liesel silently watches her foster mother hold his precious accordion without making a sound, knowing that just touching the instrument brought her closer to her husband. I definitely teared up, just thinking how devastated I would be if I were in the foster mother’s shoes.
Although The Book Thief is billed a young adult historical work of fiction, I wouldn’t endorse it for the young(er) ‘Twilight’ sect. To fully understand the complexities and beauty of what Zusak has written, I’d recommend it for the mature teen, in the context of a class or reading circle where discussion about its darkness can be appropriately deconstructed.
5 out of 5 stars.Filed under Books, Reviews | Comment (0)
Oh, it’s hot.
Not breezy, sun-kissed dewy skin hot either. The kind of heat that has descended on New York is humid, muggy and effortlessly perspiration inducing. Walking, talking and playing outside have become necessary only for those that need to be outside, and everyone else with access to an air conditioner gladly sticks to the cold air.
Unless you’re at the beach. Then, I’m jealous.
I don’t have an AC. Well, I have one but it has decided to half ass its main function of keeping me cool and therefore my apartment is a billion kajillion degrees. Sometimes I run the AC just for the hell of it (pleading with it to wooork DAMNIT) and other times I give in and open the windows. Either way I’m cranky and short-tempered with most folks since my capacity to withstand high heat is similar to that of a post-menopausal woman, NOT taking hormones.
Being cranky all the time is no fun. Sure, I may be smiling at you but actually, it’s a grimace. Underneath the sweet demeanor I’m probably wondering to myself when I can blockade myself in a dark room and slurp gelato while hugging an air conditioner.
The subway is the worst. It’s bad enough that it’s crowded and dirty, but I seriously think that when the temperature goes up, people don’t realize that they need to apply extra deodorant. That amount of deodorant you usually apply, lady, may not work on days it’s 90 out. Why is it so hard to realize this? It used to be that the only stank on the subway could easily be identified as belonging to the homeless dude isolated in the corner. These days? It’s probably the three piece suit with wet splotches on his armpits.
Rewind to last Friday. I’m going early from work, it’s the beginning of a long holiday weekend and I’m jazzed to actually have a seat on the subway. Along comes 42nd street. A woman with considerable girth comes on, and immediately scans the available seats. She’s sweated through her tank top, and I can see the perspiration that glistens over her face and arms. As she makes her way over, I gulp and start praying she doesn’t want to sit next to me.
Of course, I’m never that lucky. She approaches and politely asks me and the person sitting one seat away to scoot over, so she can insert herself between us. As I’m sitting all the way at the end of the bench, there is only so much I can squish. Still, I hold my breath and press myself against the railing, so she has as much space as possible.
I. Don’t. Want. Any. Contact. With. Her. Naked. Skin.
With a sigh, she heaves her behemoth behind into the seat. It takes considerable effort, and I’m trying to keep my thoughts of pure disgust masked behind a civil smile. Her arm touches mine, and I can feel droplets of her sweat sliding down my own skin. At this point, I’m shifting as far away from her as possible, but simply cannot get far enough. Two seconds later, the bile is slowly rising in my throat. I can’t stand it anymore, and make an executive decision that the last thing this train needs is the additional smell that accompanies projectile vomit. Briskly standing up, I give her a look, clearly insinuating how I feel being pushed out of my seat. Noticeably after I vacated my area, she has now taken over her entire seat PLUS half of mine. HALF!
I’m neither a bitch nor a germaphobe, but a lady should establish some boundaries. Since I have manners and will never tell an obese woman where she can or cannot sit, she should have made that judgment call herself, rather than forcing me to play my hand. Luckily my stop arrived 5 minutes later, and needless to say I bolted to my shower and scrubbed off all remainders of her repulsive sweat. Awesome.
So my summer starts.Filed under Health, IMHO | Comment (1)
I’m a sucker for anthropological type ethnographies that explore certain cultures/societies that I know next to nothing about. That’s why I was so pleased to find and read The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Pleasure District by Louise Brown. The author, who is an academic at a University in England, spent years within the red light district in Lahore, trying to understand the women who make up the Heera Mandi. Her real life observations are based on the life stories of several individuals, among them a prostitute named Maha and her family.
As I was reading, it became clear that the women in the Heera Mandi were so much more than prostitutes. Their history is rich and complex, stretching back to the era of Mughals and Nawabs, when their status was much less condemned and their existence was much more focused on the courtesan aspects of dancing, singing and entertaining. Even now, entertainment is still a large facet of their duties, as it is important to train girls in kathak [traditional indian dance] and teach them the art of proper seduction.
Being a big fan of Bollywood, I couldn’t help but think about stories like Umrao Jaan and compare the glitzy version of these women to what was being described in the book. Having lived with these women (and men/hijras), Brown painted a realistic picture of what these women had to deal with on a daily basis, from arguing with pimps to selling their virginity to the highest bidder. Certainly those aspects are never mentioned in the family-friendly version of films that Bollywood routinely pedals.
The most interesting part of the book to me was when Brown described the social structure that existed within these brothels. There, depending on how much you could charge for your services, the higher up on the social ladder you were. It didn’t matter that nearly everyone did the exact same thing for a living, these women still harshly judged one another. I see now that some societal structures are so universal that they exist everywhere.
I liked how the author kept her voice honest throughout the book, and didn’t hesitate to inform the reader when the lines between observation and actual involvement became blurred. Several times Brown gives money outright or purchases something in the bazaar for those she is presumably “studying”. I can’t blame her; after spending years with the same people and becoming entwined in their lives I would have the same attachments. I appreciated that she included all these details in the book.
Overall it was a wonderfully engrossing novel. It was definitely difficult to read at certain parts since the subject matter is so painful but by the end of the book I was just as involved with the characters as Brown must have felt. I wonder if she continues to maintain contact, I would love to read a continuation of these true life women.Filed under Books, Reviews | Comments (3)
High on the list of things that irk me is the hair removal process. As a girl with deep subcontinental roots, I KNOW this is an issue for so many coffee colored girls with thick black hair. For most of my life I’ve suffered through waxes, shaving, depilatories and threading, among other desperate things. Frankly, it takes an insane amount of work to be able to be hairless in all the right places, and it’s exhausting keeping my daily hair growth in check.
This past weekend as I was talking to a friend, she mentioned that she was considering laser hair removal for her own hair problems, something I’d never thought about doing. After doing some googling and price comparisons, I decided to give it a shot, but just on a small patch of skin on my face to see whether it actually works or not. The area under consideration was my upper lip, happy birthplace of what hubs fondly calls my ‘stache. It’s usually never visible, but it’s gross enough that even the faint hairs ensure constant visits to the salon for waxing/threading appointments.
After consulting with an office close to my work that specializes in laser hair removal, the technicians assured me that my I was an appropriate candidate for this type of laser. I had heard that dark skin/hair may be considered problematic, but apparently my skin color and hair type was fine for this procedure. After filling out all the paperwork, I was led into a dark room by one of the specialists. Not going to lie – I was really nervous at this point. While lasers have been in use for years now, it’s still something new (for me) and I hoped it wouldn’t burn my face. I mean, I still had to face everyone at the office after this! (I was there on my lunch break.)
I laid down and the specialist started going at it. I prayed it wouldn’t be painful, since I have the pain tolerance of a five year old. As the laser started, it felt like someone was shooting rubberbands at my face; tiny pinches with bursts of air that immediately cooled the area. I actually thought it was far less painful than threading, and it only lasted three minutes. It felt like I laid down one minute and then pinch, pinch, pinch I was done. It was glorious.
After it was over the specialist told me that while the hair would still grow, since it was lasered at the root it would simply fall out. In the meantime, I could shave the hair to keep the area clean between visits (which is a whack thought – I never would shave my face!) My next appointment with the laser would be in four weeks. Additionally, I was supposed to keep out of the sun and wear sunscreen on the area since the laser did something similar to giving me a sunburn.
I had no redness or irration, some potential side effects of the laser. The specialist was pretty surprised, considering this was my first time and all. I told her that area was probably just used to having the hair yanked out and be constantly berated for growing there in the first place! I’ve continuously monitored the area for hair growth (over the past four days) and there still isn’t much hair, which makes me unbelievably happy. This is the first of six appointments, so I’ll be providing updates on the process to see whether this is an procedure that I can use to my advantage on other unruly hair patches. Apparently there isn’t an area anywhere on the body that the laser hasn’t been used on, so there’s lots of ponder if I wanted to move forward on other places.
My cost (I used a special deal they had going on) was $200 for six appointments. I calculated it and figured I wax/thread that area every three weeks for $5 + tip. It comes out to about $100/year. Clearly, if the laser is able to remove the hair permanently, then I’ve saved myself a gigantic sum of money in the long term, and don’t have to worry about the pain/hassle of getting it constantly removed. Also, now that I know it’s not painful at all, it makes me even more willing to consider other areas.
Anybody else have laser hair removal done and want to share their thoughts on the final result? I can’t wait until I never have to see that stupid ‘stashe again!Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (2)
My neighbors are so nice! As soon as they heard hubs moved out, one of them decided to come over and give me the pleasure of its company.
It was a fucking mouse. I subsequently melted into a puddle of goo accompanied by high pitched squealing over the phone to both my husband and brother in law. Life was not going too good.
I’ve seen mice before. I mean, I live in NYC. This here is a dirty place, and I’ve seen everything from rats in the garbage to homeless people taking a leak on the subway rails (yeah. Bad idea, especially if your urine hits the third rail, fyi).
Anyway, before this neighbor got REAL friendly I jumped up on the couch and started going through my phonebook trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. I called hubs and my MIL but neither answered right away so I got my BIL on the phone.
Me: Shahed? SHAHED?! [Clearly my voice is an octave higher than usual]
S: Wassap? You ok?
Me: There’s a mouse in my apartment! I don’t know what to do!
S: Uhh… ok, hold tight for a minute. MAA? MAAA? Emergency! Emergency!
Me: [Thinking to myself, ok, calling this an emergency is an understatement. I'm about to piss my pants.] Shahed, what do I dooo?
S: Ok, just give me half an hour. I’m coming over there.
So bless his heart, he just got in his car with my MIL and drove all the way here, speeding from Long Island (40 minutes away). When they arrived my MIL helped me look for the little sucker but of course he decided to magically disappear. After many soothing words and suggesting I go back to Long Island that night (to help me regain my sanity) I quickly packed a bag and
ran for my life left.
Needless to say I didn’t sleep a wink and was ridiculously sleep deprived at work today. Pretty much all I could do was pray that when I got home I wouldn’t have little mice babies running all over my beautiful apartment. EW.
Luckily, there was no one home but me… I think. I’ve been here since 5:15pm and I haven’t heard/seen anything. Granted, I think part of the problem was the apartment was SO quiet, even more so that TK is gone and I usually just sit here and do stuff on my laptop rather than turn on the tv. The mouse was like, “yo! nobody home? sweet, I’m movin’ in”.
So I decided to ensure that nobody mistakes my quietness for an empty apartment that can be invaded by a mouse army. As soon as I got home, I started blasting country music. Every man, woman, child, grandparent, uncle, aunt and cousin in the tri-state area that I’ve run into absolutely hates country (don’t ask me why, it’s what I primarily listen to) so I’m desperately hoping this New Yorker mouse will have the exact same reaction and run far in the opposite direction. I’m playing my Jason Aldean pandora station and *knock on wood* nothing has come out. Please God let this Noriega method work!
But seriously – I’d probably still be cowering on the couch without the fam bam coming to my rescue. No clue what I would have done without them.
Filed under Bangali, Fam Bam | Comments (2)
I usually can’t stand Rihanna. I think her flaming red hair is obnoxious and her voice reminds of a baby goat. Obviously I see her sex appeal and understand why she has millions of fans, but you can’t count me among them.
That is, until I heard and saw the video for her song “California King Bed”. It’s her god-awful warbling set on this gigantic bed alternating with her writhing in a grassy field, basically the typical hip-hop/R&B idiocy that I can’t stand.
Guess what? I cannot stop listening to the damn song. I hate when this happens. It goes against everything I believe in to listen to her music, but I CANNOT TURN IT OFF. In fact, I’m listening to it right now. #help
Yes, TK left Saturday night. That may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I’m obsessed with a song about a California King bed.Filed under Random, Reviews, Video | Comments (3)
I had a friend ask me the other day, “How do you keep yourself sane when you never get to see TK?”
This wasn’t even specifically referring to the fact that we are going to be living apart for the next four months, just in general, knowing what TK’s schedule is versus mine. I work a typical 9-5 while he works a crazy 9-10, 8-11 or whatever is necessary to have what he considers a ‘productive’ day. The definition of productivity varies daily, and some days he’s happy being in meetings all day, and other times he’s satisfied simply by coding. I always try and get an idea of what his schedule is like before I leave the house, but oftentimes I’m forced to follow a scant outline on Google Calendar and/or text him to find out where he is.
We rarely eat dinner together. I’ve become used to eating by myself and going grocery shopping for one (he eats on the go).
We hardly sit down together and watch TV or do what other normal couples do when they both get home from work. By the time he’s home, I’m most likely asleep. This is our typical weekday.
Weekends are much better. While he often works during the day, he’s at home at night and we finally get a chance to go out together. Whether it’s a new restaurant or having friends over, he’ll always give me time during the weekend.
So how do we (I) do it? It was hard in the beginning. But TK never fails to remind me, “I told you before we got married that I’m a workaholic.” The adjustment process was hard. In an ideal world, newlyweds spend a lot of time together just enjoying each other’s company. Since TK and I were in a long distance relationship while we were dating, our time together as newlyweds was even more precious. We just didn’t get to spend that much together, that was the problem.
Countless discussions and four years later, we’ve settled into a rhythm thats doable for both of us. Consider this: I moved to NYC to be with him, uprooting my school/job/friends/life to be his wife. It was the best decision I ever made, but also the hardest. Now, I’ve finally established somewhat of a life here, organizing my schedule around his so we can make the best use of our free time together. I firmly believe that all the hard work and long hours will eventually add up the best life he can provide for me and our future family. So I make it work.
Now he’s going back to Cali. Our future is up in the air, since we don’t know whether it’s better to keep the company on the west coast or here, on the east coast. I think about the life I’ve worked tirelessly to set up here and wonder how long it’s going to last.
Either way, we’ll make it work. Even if we don’t have a solid concept of ‘home’ at this point, at least we have each other.Filed under TK and Mah, Work-related | Comments (2)
It’s gorgeous out. Flowers have started blooming, trees actually have leaves and the best part – the sun has actually started shining! Way back when (last December) I got diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency so I can tell you the sunshine means everything to me. In fact, since the damn sun never came out all winter, I was relegated to taking pills to increase my Vitamin D. Yeah, that wasn’t my cup of tea.
So now that the sun is out, everything should be peachy again, right?
Too bad I have a small little allergy problem that induces red, teary eyes and an incurable booger drip whenever I step foot outside. Morning, evening, night, it doesn’t matter. Pollen is currently ruining my life.
I wouldn’t mind it as much if I didn’t have to go straight to work in the morning, or if I didn’t love to run outside in the evening. Luckily I get to work relatively early so none of my coworkers see drippy mascara and smeared eyeliner resulting from all the uncontrollable tearing. I don’t get as lucky when I run. In that case, I just end up wiping my face on my sleeve, so classy.
It’s not just me. Pollen counts are at an all-time high. I checked today and they’re at 5000, when at 1500 an individual with allergies would start to feel uncomfortable. I’ve strayed extremely far from my ‘allergenic comfort zone’ at this point in the season. I’m just praying I get through it without overdosing on my Nasonex, Claritin, and Zyrtec.
Oh spring. Couldn’t have found a better example of a love/hate relationship. In the meantime I’ll stick to my plastic flowers.Filed under Health, Weather | Comment (1)