Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running Red Lights

I ran a red light last week. It was very, very scary. I didn't realize what I had done until after the fact. I was driving down the main road by my house that takes me to my local gym, Starbucks, grocery store, gas station, freeway. Everywhere I need to be is connected to this street. Maybe because of its familiarity I was driving along, my brain not paying attention because I had travelled this path more than a million, billion times!

It was early Saturday morning, the girls and I were off to the gym for our weekly Kids X class that I teach and they attend. They were being their usual talkative selves, while I quietly chewed my granola bar and listened to the radio. Then it happened. At 45 mph I zipped through the red light and all the other cars that had obediently stopped.

"Oh. My. God." I said and due to my shock, kept saying, "Oh-my-gawd-Oh-my-gawd..."

"What is it Mommy?" Lily was asking. "Why do you keep saying that?"

"Mommy did something very naughty. I just passed a red light without stopping. That is so dangerous! I'm so lucky there were no cars on the other side of the road."

Then the girls began reprimanding me, repeating my words, using them against me. "We could have had an accident!" "Are you going to go to jail?" "That's so dangerous Mommy! You have to stop at red and go at green!"

The shock had passed and I was now in panic mode envisioning what could have happened. Truth is I have no idea when the light turned red. I was completely unaware of the lights. I had zoned out.  Then I remembered that this same thing had happened to me just a few mornings prior when I was driving Lily to preschool. I had mentally checked out and when I came through I had no idea if I had passed the street for her school yet. As soon as I got my bearings I realized that my "zone out" session had only lasted a few seconds and I still had two more streets to pass before Lily's school.

Truth is, we all have a lot going on in our lives. When we have daily routines it's easy to switch our brain to auto pilot, let our brain go through planning out our day and that long To Do list while our body mindlessly functions, carrying out routine activities.  This is not good. We must be present. We must take time to breathe in and out. Enjoy the moment.

These days are all about meeting deadlines, being on time, don't forget this, remember to do that! Shuttle the kids here. Husband has to go there. I need to call so and so, I need to remember to tell so and many things in between all the other things... and POOF! at some point we collapse from exhaustion. I do. Every now and again I'll spend days brain dead on the couch, functioning just enough to tend to the kids, resting my bones from all the other things that can wait. And that's the lesson here: we are always in a hurry, when in reality, IT CAN WAIT. Our health, our body, our mind, needs us to slow down and be in the moment. Sometimes, it takes running a red light, to remember that.  (I'm so, so thankful nobody got hurt in the process!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RUBY by Cynthia Bond

I was up late one night watching one of the many Super Soul Sunday's I have on my DVR. Oprah's guest was an author named Cynthia Bond. Her book, a New York Time's Bestseller by the name of RUBY.

At the start of the show Oprah gushed about Bond's book, "When something's this good, this delicious, this rich, this full, you know your heart's gonna be split wide open. You're gonna open to new levels of experience."

In love with reading and in awe of Oprah, I made a trip to the library the very next morning.

The book, RUBY, is a deep, dark, soul shattering, emotionally moving journey of one woman whose life's path is interwoven with so many other characters and so many life altering experiences that you  are left in awe of her strength, understand her actions, appreciate her heart and love her whole. The story will open your heart, reveal every shadow and dark crevice that you have for so long tried to ignore or overlook. The book will bring all the darkness to the surface. And just when you think there is no light left, Bond turns the corner to where the sun is shining and hope is leaping off its rays and into your pores. You too can overcome. You too can thrive in victory.  You too, despite it all, can have a happy ending.

MY FAVORITE-emotionally moving-QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:    

"'Ain't nobody ever gone answer you cries. You can fill a well with tears, and all you gonna get is drowned. You sit there long enough and the crazy man find you. You weep too long, your heart ache so, the flesh slip off your bones and your soul got to find a new home. You wait on answers 'til the scaredy-cat curl up in your belly and use your liver for a pin cushion. And that's just how you die. Ascared and waiting. And death find your ghost wailing for help. In this life, if someone promise you aid, they a lie. If someone offer they hand, check five times ten to where they hide the bill. You ain't nobody but alone. And God come to those with fight to find It. Ain't nothing easy. Not for the like of you."


"Your daddy and me named you Otha. It means 'wealth.' You were your daddy's treasure from the time you were born until he died. He used to say there were rubies buried deep inside of you. Remember, baby, don't never let a man mine you for your riches. Don't let him pickax to that treasure in your soul. Remember, they can't get it until you give it to them. They might lie and try to trick you out of it, baby, and they'll try. They might lay a hand on you, or worse, they might break your spirit, but the only way they can get it is to convince you it's not yours to start with. To convince you there's nothing there but a lump of coal.
"Honey, one day I'm going to die, and that's not all, one day you'll die too. And between the here and the there, God sets us upon the business of collecting life's true fortune. I've gotten plenty: the way your daddy smiled when I met him; the apple pie your grandmother used to make, with whole cinnamon grated in with the sugar; the maple leaves in the fall and how that always meant your daddy's fig maple syrup would be on our pancakes. And you. You my big beautiful jewel baby. You my prize. And one day you'll have a child and that child will be your prize.
"Teach them to see it, teach them by doing. But if you can't, if you done give your treasure away, if you find it hard to make your way in the dark of your own soul, if you forget who you really are, know that it comes back to you when the lie they give you die. That lie don't die easy, and sometimes it take you with it. But for all that, your bounty yet waits for you to claim it.
"Remember and it will yet shine. Shine brighter when you let love touch you. Shine brighter when you love yourself. Shine on into heaven when you leave this world."


"She turned to her children. She had so much to teach them. To stand. To fight. To believe in rising. She would teach them. She would teach herself. She felt her heart beating steady in her chest. She could give each of them this knowing. She would give it to them like angel cake."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

BLOGGING. My Brand. My Lifestyle. My Travels. My Opinions.

Blogging is easy. Figuring out "my brand" to stick with a blogging theme is, as my daughter would say, "super hard!"
This looks a lot like my head shot from 10 years ago!
Photo credit goes to the best photographer I know: Lily! 

Who the heck am I, anyway?

First and foremost, I'm a mother and a wife. But what does that even mean?

I'm a walking contradiction:
I love the sun, though too much exposure leaves me with migraines.
I create chaos then demand a need for peace and quiet.
I swear that having another kid will push me toward depression yet on a daily basis I'm thinking up names for baby #3 and debating a #4 and strategically planning what months are best for conception.
I swore to myself I'd marry for money because I didn't believe in love but when I married it was solely for love (would've been lovely if it was both!).

My Fashionista.
She doesn't get her stylish diva-ness from me!
I love sunglasses and expensive handbags. But I'm no fashionista! On a normal day you will find me in my gym clothes-ALL DAY!

I love celebrity gossip. Have no interest in politics.

I think I'm pretty boring. So what the heck do I want to blog? What is there to blog about? What will make you want to read my posts?

Maybe I'm just like you in some ways. Maybe you've thought about the same things I write about. Maybe you can relate to my happiness and my conflicts, my stories and my experiences.

Once upon a time when I was an on air entertainment journalist, my mission was to find my brand. I couldn't do it. There was nothing special about me- I didn't have that oomph, that staying power.  My youthful face was perfect for young, fun, celebrity driven journalism. My demeanor however was screaming serious, smart, investigative reporting. I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't hone a skill I couldn't pinpoint. I was clueless. I suppose I still am. Except now it's so much easier to not worry about 'doing me' because I'm hiding behind my kids. They're my priority. They get what they want. Their happiness makes me happy. Except for certain days--that have been lately dragging to weeks, when those whispers have elevated to shouts: WHAT ABOUT YOU?! WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOU? SPEND MONEY ON YOU? TREAT YOURSELF? LOVE YOURSELF?

I guess that's what it comes back to every single time: LOVING MYSELF. I've never been good at it. Maybe that's why I'm putting in double time with my girls. To make sure they have that head start in life. Because when you love yourself, you are the best! You don't second guess everything-which means other people won't either! You're not always doubting your worth. For all these reasons you will always be at an advantage.  Even when you fail you are succeeding. Your confidence is uplifting, addicting, inspiring, magnetic!

This blog could possibly be my therapy. Most of the time I log on with a topic in mind and find my fingers typing away about something entirely unexpected and unplanned. Other days I begin with a topic that has been circling in my head for a while and am surprised to find myself unraveling it's layers with each word I type. I'm bringing my issues to light, I'm offering options to the how's and why's. Writing is therapeutic for me. Writing allows me to release a heavy load I carry.

I love being a mom.
It's the most satisfying, fulfilling accomplishment of my life.
I'm a mom. I'm happy, positive, down to earth, patient, and an ambitious busy bee. I'm a writer.  I will always be the one asking smart, inquisitive questions in the superficial, land of celebrities. That's just me.    


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lena Dunham is a Creative Genius

Or maybe she just doesn't give a fuck.

I could write a book like this.
I'm just too chicken shit to admit
half the things I've done, or thought
about or wanted to do, but...
Thus making her different than the 99% of us who care way too much about what people think. I include myself because half the time I do care. The other half I totally don't--except even when I think I'm not caring, I've probably cared for so long that it has become deeply rooted to my lifestyle that it feels all too natural and therefore I naively assume I'm not caring when in actuality I care and have cared for so frickin long that I don't even realize I'm caring! Whew. That revelation was exhausting.

Cali kids in Spain.
Enjoying our youth AND getting an education!

Lucky for Lena, she was raised with easy going, artsy parents. The polar opposite of my upbringing. Which is why I think if we ran in the same social circle (which we totally don't) we'd be major besties. She'd be crazy and say the most hilarious things and I'd be her sidekick, laughing hysterically and hanging on to her every word. She'd inspire me to tune in to my creative side and be my muse...however, I can't imagine what I could bring to the table. Now that I think about it, I probably wouldn't be able to offer her anything. So I'm not sure we'd be a great match after all.

I used to have a Lena Dunham type of friend. Though we lived within an hour from one another in SoCal, we actually met while studying abroad in Barcelona. I'll pretend her name was Natalay. For the record I'm really bad at pretending, so this might actually BE her name. But I'll never tell. 

Natalay spent the entire class period doodling on her papers instead of taking notes or even remotely bothering to participate in class. Even her doodles were cool and before long I found myself attempting to imitate them: a circle connected to a square attached to a cylinder that spouted little bubbles that turned into shooting stars that burst into more circles and crescents and triangles and squares.  The sides of my pages were consumed by her works of inspiration and before long we somehow became friends. She was uber smart in a nonchalant, passive way. Even though she never did her homework or paid attention in class, every time the teacher called on her she was spot on with her answers. I was in awe.

Oh, Ibiza! Thanks for the memories!
Her host family didn't live too far from mine so we started hanging out often and taking weekend trips around Spain together. Next thing I knew the semester was winding down and she had agreed to go backpacking through Europe with me for a couple of weeks. We stayed in cheap hostels, fell asleep between train rides from one country to the next, even threw away our dirty clothes and shoes to make our backpacks lighter. She loved Fiona Apple and introduced me to Tori Amos. After watching the MTV VMAS with Britney prancing around stage with a massive snake over her shoulders, we snuck down to the basement of our hostel in Vienna where she taught me how to roll weed as we jammed out to Bob Marley.  She was a cool chick. Her stance on life was so chill. She didn't know about tomorrow, she was just enjoying right now.

Like Lena, she was also raised with artsy parents.

We could have stayed and colonized. It was a possibility.
Eventually we both returned home.

I was finishing up my last year at UC Irvine and she was back home with her parents in Los Angeles. We met up a few times, trying to hang out like we did while abroad. But it felt different. It's hard to vividly remember so many years back, but maybe our differences stuck out like sore thumbs and she noticed.  I really don't know. I was so lost in trying to figure myself out--now that I had been thrust in the real world I found myself drowning in life's uncertainties. Graduate school or law school for that matter was as much an option as suicide was!  I was going through a quarter life crisis and debating on whether to start taking the anti-depressants the doctor had prescribed me or to get a one way ticket to Altanta, where I could stay with my cousin for a bit until I figured it all out (with hopes of pursuing a job of some sort with CNN). I chose neither of the two options, by the way. 

One day, I'll never forget, I was at the local library in Marina del Rey checking my email (because I didn't have a computer of my own, let alone access to internet) when I saw that Natalay had emailed me. The email turned out to be a long, heartfelt letter about how I've been such a great friend to her. It was moving, it was touching, if I recall correctly it even brought tears to my eyes. Here's the crazy thing though--after that letter I never heard from Natalay again. I tried calling her a few times, even leaving her messages on her house line, but she never returned my calls. I've tried looking for her throughout the years on Myspace, Facebook, even Instagram-and even though she may have an account she's not at all active on social media.

So that's the story of my cool friend. She fell off the face of the earth. Too cool to really care. Since I've never been cool, it makes me sad every time I think about it, every time I remember her. Who else can I look back on those years with? Who else can I call and say, "Remember the time we went
The sun, the sand, the water, the air...we live a lifetime in our travels. 
to Ibiza and loved it so much we wanted to stay and form our own little colony? Why didn't we do that!? Cuz real life and all it's real problems really blows!" And then we'd laugh and laugh as we reminisced on the good times when we were young and our only real problem was getting super lost in the streets of Barcelona, looking for the house party that cute tattooed boy she liked invited us to.
Why is nostalgia so depressing?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Picture Madness! A look back at last month.

I kicked off March as a new instructor for Fitness 19's
Killer Abs class and Saturday Morning Kids Group X class!
Seems like every month there is something big going on! February revolved around Lily's birthday. March was clearly all about the Persian New Year and all the fun it entailed! 


Looking for Alaska-John Green
The Fault in Our Stars-John Green
Big Little Lies-Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret-Liane Moriarty
Leaving Time-Jodi Picoult

The Fault in Our Stars (duh)
Theory of Everything 
Fifty Shades of Grey (twice!)
Darya had her 1st Ballet Recital!
"Shahar Shanbe Soori" with my girls!

One of the many places in SoCal to
celebrate "Shahar Shanbe Soori"

Norouz=New Day
Celebrating the Persian New Year with my mom.
Followed by a family party at my Aunt's house.
13 days after Norouz, Persians get together
for a picnic at the park filled with music, dancing and fun!

Lily began her first day of soccer on the last day of March!