Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh, would you like to hear about my trip?

If not, stop reading now. BUT if you DO want to hear about my adventures in the Middle East (doesn't that just sound so exotic? There is no way I can maintain a sort of sophisticated blase attitude about this trip), please continue reading.

My friend Lori and I got to talking one day back in the summer. "I want to go on a trip," I said.
"I do too," said Lori.
"Where should we go?"
"Well, I have an aunt and uncle who are missionaries in Jordan. Maybe we could go there."
"Jordan?! I've always wanted to go to the Middle East! And to Petra, ever since watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!"

And that is how we found ourselves at Petra in November. It was as easy as that. When I haven't traveled for a while, I forget how simple it is to just GO. Well, perhaps not simple, but once the decision was made, all of those other things that seemed like such insurmountable excuses became just things to take care of. Buying a plane ticket, while expensive, was easily bought with the help of miles saved over years of travel on Delta. I work these days in a job where I earn a comfortable living for a single, fairly frugal girl, so I didn't have to pinch pennies. I requested vacation time off, worked a few flexible holidays, and booked a tour with Intrepid Travel so I wouldn't stress myself (or my father) out by attempting to navigate a completely unfamiliar culture alone, and yet have a fun adventurous trip.  And that was it. Going is SO EASY, and I forget that. I need to remember how easy it is to travel, because it won't always be that way for me (hopefully, unless I am a spinster forever, in which case I would still have to find a cat sitter).

Desert wanderers

For a full set of pictures, go here.

We arrived in Amman, and from there wandered about to a few other surrounding cities to see some ruins and make some friends. Lori was the perfect travel companion because she is just about the friendliest person on the planet. And pretty too, so people constantly want to talk with her. For example, on the ferry between Jordan and Egypt, and Lori made friends with the half blind and deaf woman who spoke only Arabic sitting next to us bu smiling and practicing the very few words she knew in Arabic on her. Then the old lady got mad at us for some reason and kept giving us the evil eye (or was that her normal eye?) In any case, she turned her back on us, and we couldn't quite figure out why,  though we suspect it was because 1) we started talking to the Argentine man who sat in the same row and she was excluded from the conversation (he was a very nice man); 2) we came on the boat with covered hair because that boat also carried a bunch of people traveling home from Mecca and it seemed slightly inappropriate to walk around flaunting our seductive long blonde locks in front of everyone (read: unwashed and matted). But then the scarves wouldn't stay on very well and it was hot and it is so awfully hard to see peripherally with a scarf on (at least the way I had it on) that the scarves slipped around our necks, and the old lady turned her back on us; or 3)We smelled funny? We didn't offer to buy her a coffee? In any case, this woman was an anolmly, because any other person would've ended the boat trip with an invitation to Lori (and me, as her sidekick) to come home for dinner and offer marriage to their son. Oh man, Lori came home with so much jewelery that she received as gifts from admirers, and I almost came home with a herd of camels but decided to keep her for Bronson instead of selling her to a Bedouin as a wife (though she would've made a lovely Bedouin wife and would've probably succeeded in conveting every last one of them to the gospel in a matter of weeks).

In any case, we met a wonderful family that we called the Sharaf family, because did you know that a family is called after the name of the oldest child? Om Sharaf, we called the mother, and she was darling. My Iraqi friend Haifa was a refugee in Jordan for a few years and she got to be close with this family in Madaba, so when we arrived, we just called them up, told them we had gifts, and showed up at their door at 10 a.m. They were incredibly gracious, smiley, and funny. I couldn't have asked for better people to spend a few days with. While Om Sharaf and her husband didn't speak much English, their two sons did and acted as translators, though often with their own tales to add to the translation. From one of the sons, Odai, I collected the love story in the previous post.   

The Sharaf family

I could probably go through day by day, but I wouldn't want to bore you with a long post (I know how people are about reading things. So, you have the link to pictures, and I'll just mention some highlights and then post individual stories seperately as I think of them (thoughts of my trip have just been simmering in my head). We met with a group and made our way to the dead sea where we bobbed about int he water like little buoys and stung our eyes with salt water, then coated ourselves in dead sea mud for the cost of about $3 (compare this to a "Dead Sea mask" at any fancy spa, and you'll see that it was quite a steal. and way more fun).

Mud masks complete!

We saw crusador castles, and Roman ruins, and of course the highlight were the Nabatean ruins of ancient Petra, which we saw by night by candlelight and the full moon, and then again in the rosy dawn the next day. 

That first breathtaking view of the Treasury in Petra.

I don't think I can say enough about how wonderful Petra was or my feelings about those smart ancient people who lived there. They had these amazing aquaducts and used caves as their homes. I get shivers just imagining the what life must've been like there, and what it would've been like to be Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812 catching the first Western glimpse of ancient Petra. Oooh, shivers. All of it, covered in sand, and then wandering down the Siq and coming upon the outline of the Treasury, which is actually a tomb. All of the ancient carved caverns are actually tombs, just like the pyramids. What is it about creating a resting place for the body that will last throughout time? A form of immortality? The inhabitants of Petra certainly gained that, as did the pharoahs of the pyramids. Oh the Pyramids!!
First view of pyramid!!! YAY!!
How gigantic they are in real life! I mean, i always knew... but to see them in person and touch the stone is just another experience altogether. And to go inside... shivers!  I climbed inside od the Red Pyramid, down a deep, deep passageway.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

Into the belly of the stone, where it was dark and the air weighty, the breath of countless other visitors hanging around. Or was that the ghost of the king whose body had been removed and whose soul lingered about, enticing those with fragile constitutions to envision their own demise there in the dark, in that small room at the bottom of so much stone... as you can tell, i am slightly claustraphobic. I had those same feelings of sparks of panic when I went scuba diving for the first time in the Red Sea. That breathing would be difficult, panic, and then complete surprise when I could actually breathe and could stop thinking about it. And I swam in a school of orange fish.

Oh yes, I went to the Red Sea! And the Sinai Peninsula! I stayed in a beach camp which is where life should be spent.  I saw Ramses II, and he still has hair and eyelashes after 4000 years of death.  I went on a cheesy river cruise on the Nile and saw belly dancing. A friend of ours bribed the guards at the Giza Zoo and so I got to pet a lion and hold a monkey. I slept in the desert and starred at the brilliant sky.

Illuminating the strange landscape

I ate the world's best falaffels,
Lori eating an Arabic breakfast.
was kidnapped by a Gypsy on a donkey (in the nicest way possible), climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai and communed with God a little bit myself up there.
Mt. Sinai.
I was taught the alphabet in Arabic, which I fully intend to learn for next time. I inhaled a lifetimes worth of cigarette smoke and warned everyone of lung cancer.Zeman, looking really charming (even with the cigarette).
I picked up trash on the beach and wandered through the bazar, bargaining  for treasures. I watched sunrises that made me want to wake up early every day for the rest of my life. This is the Red Sea
And sunsets that deserved a standing ovation. Desert sky.

My tour group was made up of a delightful ark of characters, everyone of whom made the trip special and I liked immensely. The two weeks went by too quickly...

I am bitten again. The middle east is calling.
Me in Wadi Rum

Saturday, December 4, 2010

She Walks in my Blood

She Walks In My Blood by The Love Story Thief  
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She walks in my blood.mp3 (5567 KB)

I was in Jordan, visiting the home of some new friends. As I was asking the mother of the family about life and love in Jordan, one of the sons who was translating the conversation from English to Arabic and back told me his own story of being in love with an Indian girl. I had to record his story, but sadly, we were interrupted by a family member and couldn't continue the interview.  Though they are in love and he wants to marry her, his family forbids the relationship because she is not Muslim. His parents think he ended the relationship, but secretly, they are still together and he plans to marry her, no matter what.

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

am i a grown up?

I turned 30 on Sunday. the month leading up to this momentous life event has been, shall we say, rather stressful. Lots of life things, and then just this melancholy that always creeps in around birthday time, which was extra strong for this decade anniversary where I leave my twenties behind.

Am I a grown up? Legally, yes, but we all know that means very little. I thought that by the age of thirty I would have lived a full life and be solidly traveling into middle age, with a spouse and multiple children giving me wrinkles. I find myself here, having lived a very full life with a start of a career, and feeling still like I have not yet been released from adolescence. And I would like to be. Blame it on the culture, blame it on my own expectations, but growing up is, most often, indicated by marriage and children. A home, perhaps, if you can afford it. In my religious surroundings, as a "young single adult" (though only for one more year! gasp!) I am separated from the "family ward" into a separate congregation, where the religious teachings are the same, but with the extra added benefit of activities to help me keep an active social life. Activities that, let's be honest, haven't changed much from the time i first became an adolescent at the age of 12 (more speed dating. less scrap booking). Of course, we all get an education and live life, i'm not saying that we are trapped here just waiting to be married, we do all continue onward into adulthood and responsibility for the most part. Bur for me, my own insecurities crept in here recently, mocking me with the whispers of-- you are thirty! but are you really a grown up without having a family? I think that thoughts like these lead to this somewhat frantic, constant social interaction where we remain constantly in motion, hoping to find someone to love or at least, by gum, not be lonely by spending time with other spinster friends.

Well, i am tired. I want to be a grown up. I don't want to have fun all the time, I don't want to feel the pressure of being social. i just simply want to be responsible, do my job well, work on projects that interest me, and spend time with smart friends. I don't want to date for the sake of dating, I don't want to go to parties where I "might meet someone". I just want to be me. You see, at the age of thirty, i know who I am, i know what I like. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am responsible and a grown up, and just tired of pretending that I'm not because I don't quite fit my preconceived notion of "growing up".

Accepting that, two days into thirty i am feeling calmer. This is my life and I have grown into it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Freedom. Religion.

11:30 a few nights ago, I was lost on my bicycle coming home from my friend Victoria's birthday party. I found myself riding down Bedford Ave, where the bike path had been scrubbed clean by the Hassidic jews in the neighborhood. As it was Rosh Hashona, there were families with fathers in big fur hats and mothers in wigs and stockings, leading their tired little children home by the hand. The missing bike path had bee a source of contention between the very observant orthodox Jews and Brooklyn hipsters, resulting in an alternative path, where girls in skimpy summer dresses wouldn't be riding past on the Sabbath. Since I was lost, I had time to dwell on this particular conflict- on the one hand, the religious community that has lived in the neighborhood for a long time and requests respect for their standards; on the other, streets that are part of the community and should be accessible to all. (I won't get into the bike versus car culture argument here, though it also played a role). Who is right? The bike path was wiped out, but I still rode down the street (albeit not in very skimpy attire).

and of course, my mind turned to another religious conflict currently brewing.

As you may have heard (unless you've been hiding under a rock), there has been some election year controversy surrounding what has been called the "Ground Zero Mosque", which is more accurately called Park51, located two blocks from Ground Zero. For those of you who aren't familiar with new york, a few blocks is a short distance, yes, but can be a totally different neighborhood. I'm just sayin', if you are looking for sacred ground to remember 9/11 (which should be remembered), there are strip clubs that are probably closer and I'm sure some of the mourning families would find those offensive. So that's the location issue. It's not on ground zero, folks.

We live in a country that professes religious tolerance and liberty as one of the founding principles. But, as anyone who has taken a history class knows, religious freedom only applies for those in power. I could recount to you the history of the Mormons, who were driven from New York to Ohio to Illinois to Missouri, and out of the country for their religion, who were persecuted for their practices (especially polygamy) and to this day faces issues with communities protesting the building of sacred buildings. I well remember the conflict over the building of the Boston temple a few years ago, and the emotional angst it caused me-- that there were people who didn't understand and didn't want a Mormon building, which was meant for sacred, peaceful purposes, in their neighborhood. It felt so unfair, so hateful and intolerant. It was eventually built, thanks to politicians who stood up for private property rights, zoning laws, and religious freedom.

A few parallels if I may: mistrust of the unknown, suspicion of wanting to cause harm, generalizing an extreme minority to the majority-- mormons hate it when people think we mainstreamers are somehow affiliated with the FLDS polygamous groups in Texas, who seem so crazy and dangerous even. Most Muslims feel the same way when they see Americans and Europeans generalizing them all as terrorist sympathizers. Just because there are a few crazies, doesn't mean that everyone is. We can't go around punishing people because of the actions of a few or stereotypes. Yes, we have every right to protect ourselves from terrorist organizations. But what is the point if we take away the freedoms we are supposedly fighting to protect?

There are people who will put God above nation, and will live according to what they believe is the will of God. Thus, in a country with ever-increasing humanist tendencies, this is threatening, because what God requires (for example, obedience to strict health codes, such as not drinking alcohol) contradicts with societal norms (legal alcohol consumption at age 21 and social lubricant). For the most part, these two opposing viewpoints coexist in a "let's just ignore the ones who chose to live their lives another way" sort of manner, but sometimes that tension snaps, for instance over the same-sex marriage issue. Religious right? or human rights? and they can't always coexist. The state pushes on way, and the church pushes back, and usually, one gives in.

When it comes to different religions, this tension is stronger in some, weaker in others. Unitarian Universalists are constantly changing with societal values, accepting all as they come. Islam pushes back in some countries to the point where religious law becomes the law of the land. Can we allow that potential element? The Fox news pundits say no, we can't risk allowing Islam to influence the nature of this country and thus we must rid ourselves of them entirely. But I argue that we can't afford not to, if we believe we are protecting rights that belong to all people. I bel;eive that our freedom here and our commitment to human rights is strong enough that it won't get pushed over by extremist elements in Islam, but would rather push back (in a non-violent, educational way) to the extent that our"American" values of freedom and liberty and respect would make their way into the lives of American Muslims (which it already has) and then into other countries as well. It happened with Mormons and polygamy. It's happening slowly to eradicate child abuse and domestic violence in communities in southern utah that continue to be polygamists.

I know this is a long rambling post. Today, being the primary election day in new york, and just a few days after the 9th anniversary of 9/11, i feel strongly about this issue, and more than ever wish for us to ignore the fear and hate mongers among our politicians and pundits. They are playing the American people for fools with their own agendas. I don't pretend to know that their agendas are, but I do know that love conquers fear. I know too many good muslims living here to wish them to feel unwelcome. I know too many people of all faiths who are practicing their right to worship how, where and what they may, and people who are choosing not to worship anything because that is their right as well. If we refuse one group because there might be terrorists lurking in their midst possibly, we might as well just ban all religion right now, and all other organizations, because how can we know who we can trust?


I wanted to do something to prove that my body wasn't going to give out on me just because I am turning old. So, i ran a half marathon on labor day. My goal was to finish, and my second goal was to make it in about 2 hours. 1:53:51-- means I am a rock star, at least that's how I felt with my first runner's high as I sprinted the last 3 km to the finish line.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

life is hard.

A new grave with just one date dots the landscape in a beautiful Charleston cemetery- August 19, 2010. The daisies from the Saturday funeral are probably mostly wilted on the funeral arrangement by this point, in the hot August sun, but they'll be replaced soon by the mother who carried this infant for nine months. No lilies here, those are funeral flowers not suited for a baby girl. She'll bring yellow and pink flowers, splashes of sunshine, possibly picked out by her two-year-old flower helper, who right now is only aware that she will get to water flowers and that people have been sad around her a lot these last few weeks.

This was supposed to be my new niece. Correction, this is my new niece, the beautiful Emilia. I did not meet her, none of us did, but I do not believe that precludes us from being her family. in fact, i firmly believe that she is an important little person, part of my sister's family forever, my niece forever, and that one day, we will all get to meet her. But for the time being, she is with my mother, my older brother who died at 7 months, grandparents, aunts, uncles, loved ones.

Life is hard. There is pain, there is heartbreak. She is the lucky one to move on from this state. I'm a little bit jealous. But yet. While I'm glad that she's going to miss out on broken bones, she also misses out on smelling flowers. She gets to miss out on being rejected by a boy she likes, but she also misses out on falling in love. She gets to skip the fights and hair-pulling over borrowing clothing from her sister, but she also misses out on growing up with her sister. And we miss out on her.

My heart aches for my sister. i can't understand what this must be like for her, to lose a baby and I ache for her, wishing to take on a portion of what she must be feeling, missing her baby. Through all of this, however, I am so, so grateful for her wonderful husband and the love and strength he offers. This is hard for him too, but seeing them together, i know that they will make it through. While there is a hole in my heart, it is filled with the peace that because of Christ, we can all feel peace, we can all be healed from this experience, and more than anything, we have an eternal family. That is the greatest comfort. I am grateful for this belief.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love = Hugs

Nothing Quite Like Hugging by The Love Story Thief  
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Nothing quite like hugging.mp3 (23995 KB)

There is a lot that can be learned about love from little kids, as Meghan has discovered as the mom of a 16 month old daughter. Love is that look on her daughters face as she gets when she gets hugs. Isn't that we all need sometimes?

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adventures of Dating Girl, part 2

Dating Girl Part 2 by The Love Story Thief  
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Dating Girl part 2.mp3 (21734 KB)

Second half of the interview with Sarah about her alter-ego Dating Girl superhero.

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Monday, August 9, 2010

Adventures of Dating Girl, part 1

Dating Girl Part 1 by The Love Story Thief  
Download now or listen on posterous
Dating Girl part 1.mp3 (19709 KB)

You all heard the interview with my friend Sarah right before she got married, but here is the original Dating Girl superhero interview that started it all. One day, Sarah, frustrated with dating, thought to herself, Gosh, it almost seems like you have to be a superhero to figure out dating. And that's when Dating Girl and her cohort of superhero daters were born, vanquishing the likes of the Love 'em and Leave 'em Bastard Cowboy, and discovering the truths of dating.

part 2 coming up next...

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Romance in Prague

Romance In Prague by The Love Story Thief  
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Romance in Prague.mp3 (23597 KB)

This is an oldie from 2007, but i never posted it. People have been asking me to post again, and I promise, I'm working on some interviews! In the meantime, enjoy a little travel romance...

Tina, from Solvania, met Pietro, from Italy, and they fell in love in Prague. We all know magic can happen when you are traveling. But is it sustainable?

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For all you Twilight fans out there...

Beware, or it will destroy your relationships in real life, if it hasn't already.

Good luck with that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a post, as promised

My sister, Vilja, has been pressuring me to post on the blog for a while now. I've been avoiding it, because my life isn't super interesting these days. it is a lovely life, just not action packed. And who wants to read about that? I would rather read about adventures.

With my job, I now have health insurance. So i finally went to the doctor and the dentist for the first time in three years and got a clean bill of health. I am a complete supporter of affordable health care available to all. it felt good to go get to know my doctor (even with her raised eyebrows at my response to her "are you sexually active?" question and double checking my age. In case you are wondering, that would be a no. and yes, i am 29. don't rub it in). Preventative care, i'm for it.

Oh! World Cup! If you aren't following it, you are crazy, and that is all i have to say about that.

I have a new roommate, Laura la segunda. She is a friend of my sister meri's, and she is a delight to talk with. She's good about reminding what Rabbi Shmuley says about relationships. I'm trying to get her to stay by encouraging a relationship between her and my friend Josh, and I think my devious plan is working! Bwahahaha! It is only encouraging my jewish grandmother matchmaking tendencies.

BP oil spill in the Gulf? Disgusting on so many levels. I think this is even more evidence of the need to seek alternative sources of energy and increase regulation. And, a federal judge with investments in numerous companies that do off-shore drilling has NO RIGHT to determine that the government moratorium on off-shore drilling is illegal. Conflict of interest?

I've been to the beach 3 times so far-- Jones Beach with mormons, Brighton beach for the sunset with a fella I'm digging, and close to Long Beach with a batch of lovely lady friends from grad school. No tan however, since this summer I'm wearing 70 spf-- i turn 30 in September and have no desire for wrinkles or sun spots.

My sister Liina is having another baby in August!! Another niece! And many other people I love are having babies. i am so excited. I love the little ones. My sister Liina also became a US citizen last week, so props to her!

that is all for now. More interesting things... well, later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

He gave me my eyes that I might see amazing things

I'm terrible at remembering to take pictures of things, and most of the time I just wish that my eyes were cameras so i could just blink and transport the image somewhere. But alas, since they haven't invented that yet, the next best thing is my iphone camera, which handily has captured some of the amazing things my eyes have seen in the last few months. Beautiful things make the heart burst a little bit with joy.

A piece of the Berlin Wall at the UN.

The Mermaids vs. humans fountain on a snowy day.

Princeton, NJ prior to a surprise Princeton vs. Cornell ice hockey game.

Cold but beautiful afternoon in the park on a run.

Christmas windows from Bergdorff Goodman-- actual scenes from 'The Fantastic Mr. Fox' and amazing window art with an Alice in Wonderland theme. I could look at this all year long!

Art museums! Beautiful old stuff at the Cloisters.

A bunch of the old coffins had little pudgy dogs at the feet of the person. It was odd, but delightful.

The MoMA with the Tim Burton Exhibit (with karly and sindri) and Monet's Waterlilies.


This last Saturday, Sindri and i took a train to Cortland Manor, NY for Obscura Day, which was an international day of exploring the unusual. A few months ago, i reserved tickets to go see the private collection of the "Radio Guy", who turns out to be a very nice advertising creative director, Steve Erenberg (think Don Draper) who happens to have found his passion in collecting unusual things, mostly masks and medical equipment that we aren't quite sure what it does. We weren't quite sure what to think when the cab dropped us off in front of a very normal looking house in the woods, but the Steve's delightful wife Helene invited us in and let us look around. And we were amazed. And really excited that they had opened their house to 20 random strangers for the day. These were a few of my favorites, sorry my iphone camera isn't great.

And, of course i had to go see the Mr. Brainwash presents icon in Chelsea after seeing it on Jendar's blog. I went with Misha one fine day last week (and hit up the highline afterwards).

Thanks eyes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ok, I'm not that pathetic

Moments after sending the last post, i thought to myself, hm, I'm
feeling better, maybe I should erase that. But then again, I'm
actually curious as to how others have dealt with similar situations.
See, I have my really low moments, I cry, vent, and then feel better
and remember that my life is pretty great, just the way it is.

Especially because I just got a new job!! Yes! I'll be working as a
researcher at community justice centers here in NYC, which will be
amazing. And I'll actually be using stuff I learned in grad school!
Woot! So excited to start. I'm feeling more confident already.

Also, it is spring and I am in love with the weather. I got to wander
around today with my friend Misha on the Highline and art gallery in
Chelsey. Life can't get much better than that.

I am really quite blessed, and it just takes a little bit of reminding
of that to get me smiling again. Life moves on. And it is good. And it
works out just how it needs to.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My measure as an American

I'm coming up on celebrating my one year anniversary as an American citizen. I've found myself singing along to the national anthem and putting my hand over my chest at various events throughout the year. I use my US passport, and identify as American. You would think that the Olympics would be a perfect for me, as an newly minted, enthusiastic American, to wave the red, white and blue.

You would be wrong.

I am trying to cheer for the Americans. And I do, when I see Shaun White fly higher into the sky on the halfpipe than anyone thought humanly possible, or when Shani Davis effortlessly (and humbly) passes everyone else on the speedskating track. I can cheer for good athletes. But as the US medal count grows, and the NBC coverage grows more obnoxious, and every event seems to have a miraculous American success story... I find myself feeling yet again that I just wish that someone else would win. I'm cheering against the American athletes, I'm wishing them to fall. I'd rather have almost anyone else win, except for another American to add to the USA medal count, which is already absurdly high. I can't help myself-- it is the Finn in me and the years of watching the Olympics, where underdogs won gold medals, where small countries with long winters dominated things and were finally recognized, at least for two weeks. It was about national pride, and seeing that shine for everyone. I have yet to hear a national anthem for another country (except for Canada in the opening ceremonies). And while i have good friends who watch olympics and love them (special thanks to aaron, valarie and james for sharing their tvs!!) there is a large population that just doesn't care. They don't know about hockey and don't care about hockey, so why should the US team win???

So much for being patriotic. Maybe in another 4 years.

Ahem. So, there is my soapbox. Please return to your regularly scheduled program of mid-afternoon curling.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stir28!! Benefit for Haiti!!

(Re-posted from Christy at balance)

Please come!!

StirIt 28 NYC: menu, details, and a shout-out

After a week of feverish planning, we're finally getting the final bits into place for StirIt 28 NYC. If you're not aware, StirIt 28 is a month-long blogger-originated fundraising effort to raise money for the earthquake victims in Haiti, thought up by Bren of Flanboyant Eats, Chrystal of The Duo Dishes , and Courtney of CocoCooks. All of the proceeds from this event, and I mean ALL (100%) of the proceeds, are going directly to our partner charities: Share Our Strength and Yele Haiti. What an amazing event!

If you haven't bought your tickets yet for New York City, Atlanta, L.A. or Chicago, go here or here to buy tickets by clicking on the StirIt 28 badge, which will take you to a paypal page. Just remember to indicate which city you're getting tickets for!

NYC tickets are $30 for the general public, and $20 for students. Students must pay via the PayPal General Online Donation button on or and indicate "NYU student ticket" in notes. Must show student ID at the door.

When: Sunday, February 21, 2010; 4-7pm
Where: 35 W. 4th Street, 10th Floor

Menu (with links to the bloggers preparing)

Dumpling Bar:
Veggie Dumplings,Cranberry Mushroom Dumplings, Pork & Cabbage Dumplings
Panko stuffed shiitake mushrooms
Spring rolls, both vegetarian and non

Lemongrass corn soup
Enchiladas rojas
Red Cooked Pork on Steamed Buns & Cucumber Salad
Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups Mushrooms & Tofu in lettuce cups

Chinese-flavor inspired cupcakes
Walnut Cookies
Vegan chocolate chip cookies with hints of cinnamon and star anise

4:00-4:45 Appetizers, cocktails, mocktails, and Fizzy Lizzy love, door prizes, hands-on dumpling making mini-class and a performance by Scott Alexander

4:45-5:00 Welcome

5:00-6:00 Dinner & Spins by DJ LP

6:00-7:00 Dessert and story time, with a guest appearance by The Love Story Thief and music by The Creoles

Monday, February 15, 2010

i was once a jewish grandmother

At least, if I believed in reincarnation i think i would've been. I like feeding people and i like matchmaking. And one day I will be really round and smell like garlic. Not that all jewish grandmothers are like that, it's just my favorite description.

usually, i am against valentine's day, because I am against consumerism, but really I think it has more to do with feeling pathetic in my lack of love in mid-February. This year, as you know, I decided to face love head on and you know what? it turns out that when you put love out in the universe it seems to come back to you. Well, at least I wasn't bitter, which certainly feels like love coming back to me.

For those of you wondering, the Blind Date Project was, I would consider, a success. I think everyone ended up having a date (after a bit of scrambling and last minute recruits from DC, thanks Otso!), everyone showed up (eventually. gotta love the subways. and, i am very sorry that i didn't tell one person their restaurant was in brooklyn, not manhattan), and everyone got to spend time with a good person, whether or not it was a love connection (that is yet to be determined). I hope it was a fun experience for everyone and I am grateful to the people who participated (you know who you are), to Lori for her masterful recruiting schemes, and to Josh for being absolutely brilliant in making this happen and letting me throw my two cents in. We will do it again. But maybe not in two weeks. and with a lot more help. Even though we didn't participate (someone had to be coordinating behind the scenes), we did have a lovely dinner together, minus the alcohol we were just about ready to consume due to stress (Lori and good italian food did the trick and we avoided breaking the word of wisdom).

As part of the karma, my lovely friends around the corner set me up for a date on valentines's day with their friend Adam who was visiting from DC. It was a lovely time, and I hope the people i set up enjoyed themselves as much as i did.

this sure beats sitting at home with a box of oreos and a romantic comedy. (although, there is also something appealing about that).

Monday, February 8, 2010

RSBC 2010!

That stands for Run Swim Bike Cook, which is a little marathon I'm participating in for the month of February, courteousy of my friend Christy at Balance. The challenge is to complete a full marathon (with a little cooking thrown in there within this month), which is a great way to help me through the second month of the year when those health resolutions start to slide.

Challenge 1: Run 26.2 miles (I suggest a mile a day)
Challenge 2: Swim 2.4 miles*
Challenge 3: Bike 112 miles**
Challenge 4: Cook 3 of the 4 superfood "iron-chef" challenges. Each Sunday I, or my co-host, will post the week's superfood and category, and you have a week to come up with a dish that blows us away.

So, this last week (I was supposed to report back by Saturday, but Monday will have to do) I ran 6.6 miles and ate lentils for breakfast, since beans for breakfast was the superfood challenge. No picture of it, because, let's be honest, i am not the world's greatest food photographer and lentils aren't particularly attractive. But they sure TASTED good. I'm not a big breakfast person and usually have fruit or yogurt, so it was a little weird to fill up on lentils.

I like this! More running and biking and cooking this week for me (alas, no pool anymore to go to for free, so no swimming). If you want to join in too, go here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Hey kiddos.

So, i haven't been blogging much lately because I've been wrapped up in other projects.

Most specifically, Love. A little obsessed, one could argue, but I'm enjoying it. I've started doing some serious research on the topic and am actually learning quite a bit-- I can recommend Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert about marriage and I recently picked up Us: Americans talk about Love by John Bowe (You know, the bachelor obsessed with love that was profiled in the NYTimes and is now flooded with letters from women going gaga for him. Truth be told, I actually went to a reading this week for the book, for purely scientific reasons, and I really enjoyed some the the stories he's collected. Yes, it is hot that he collects love stories. Yes, he is a very attractive male who lives in NYC. And yes, even hotter is the fact that he wrote about slavery. But no, he isn't my soul mate, although I wouldn't mind picking his brain about the love stories he collected).

As you can tell, the Love Story Thief podcast is coming along. I've had some great interviews recently that I'm looking forward to posting for your listening pleasure. If anyone is interested in being interviewed too, let me know! I'm finding myself really excited about this project (as I tend to get) and I'm really trying to find ways to make this more accessible to people-- basically, I want a following! So, just a shameless plug, for Valentine's day, pass along the website or suggest that people subscribe to it on iTunes (free! what a great Valentine!). I've also registered it on Public Radio Exchange ( with the hope that it gets picked up by some radio station... to help me out you can register for free and listen to it there, so it gets more hits and all. I'm okay with audio stuff but not so hot with the visual, so bear with me while i try to find a good layout and platform for it. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Finally... I can't just listen to love stories without getting involved a little bit. No, no relationship here (trying, really!), but along with my friend Josh, we have created a Blind Date Valentine's Eve Project for all of the single Mormons that we know in NYC, in an attempt to increase their exposure to each other (and thus more relationships, etc... I've had just about the last conversation with someone about there not being anyone to date so hopefully this solves something at least). Josh is a wedding photographer and you know that i collect love stories, so we couldn't help but try to play cupid just a little bit. Cross your fingers that someone hits it off!

That's all for now. I'll keep you posted on more, exciting developments. And yes, I am also working, I haven't let that slip through the cracks (although sleep has seemed like an unnecessary burden...)

Share some love stories with me! I'm all ears these days!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Freedom to be Open

Freedom To Be Open by The Love Story Thief  
Download now or listen on posterous
Freedom to be Open.mp3 (20511 KB)

After four years of dating, Derek popped the question and Kamilah accepted his proposal. But as Kamilah describes in this interview, it wasn't the years before but the subsequent break-up and counseling that really brought them together and showed her what love was, and, more importantly, how to keep it. She also dispenses some good love advice to your LST hostess, always looking for some hints on how to make love work. 

Posted via email from The Love Story Thief

Friday, January 29, 2010

At Home With John Bowe - A Bachelor’s Effort to Understand Love

I've been posting only stories that I've collected myself about love, but when I read this article about John Bowe and his own collection of love stories I couldn't resist but post it on the blog. These little clips from his interviews for this book "Us: Americans Talk About Love" are tender. This need to collect others' love stories to understand our own capacity to love isn't so unusual, and I'm glad to find another kindred collector out there (albeit jealous that he got a book deal out of it). I'm looking forward to reading his book and I think i'll post a review of it when i am done. Enjoy!

Posted via web from The Love Story Thief

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm not a fan of the 'Single Ladies' song...

but any guy willing to rock out with me to Beyonce's "Halo" late at night can put a ring on it.

This version.

I promise, i used to have good taste in music, and i still do. It's just that there's this part of me that secretly also adores catchy pop songs and it happens to come out late at night and troll youtube. and then wants to share. Don't judge. I know you do the same, closeted Miley Cyrus fan.

Monday, January 11, 2010

big girls don't cry

For some amusing crying girl comics, check out this blog.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Laugh yourself happy

One of my new year’s resolutions is to have a positive attitude. About everything. I’m trying to be mindful about it, but was worried if it would be possible to maintain. I mean, i’m on day 4 and it is going well, but really, nothing bad has had time to happen yet.

And then I stumbled upon the golden ticket.


Or, to be particular, laugh yoga.

How silly! You might say. Yes, yes it is. Which is exactly the point and which is why it is so successful. The more you laugh, the more endorphins released into your blood stream. Your threshold for laughter decreases. Things become funnier, and life, simply rosier because now you can laugh about it.

I read about laugh yoga in Time Out New York, and of course wanted to try it out. An hour laughing with strangers? Sign me up! I convinced my dear friend Sindri to come with me (she needed to get over the sad day she had thinking about her boyfriend being buried in a mudslide in Brazil. He wasn’t, no where near it, but she let her imagination run off on that sad thought). So we made our way to a business building in midtown, and took an elevator down to a chiropractics office. There we sat and waited, along with a few others who were venturing out for this adventure for the first time, including a couple from London traveling the world. Hesitant, but also excited.

The doctor came in, with a big, bright smile on his face. I’m pretty sure all the laughing he does as a laugh leader is slowly turning him into an elf. We circled up, and were instructed to indroduce ourselves, as usual in most meeting. What was unusual, was the laughter following each introduction. “Hi, I’m Peter, and I’m a taxi cab driver.” Bahahahahaha! The room exploded. “I’m Mary, and I’m an actress.” Hysteria again. “I’m Richie and I’m a tourist.” “I’m Holly and I’m his girlfriend.” At this point, people are buckled over, wiping tears from their eyes. Including me, because, you see, there rule in laugh yoga is that you fake it until you make it. So, what started as a fake, over the top HAHAHA turned into a serious case of the giggles.

Throughout the hour of the most pleasant yoga I’ve ever done, we did laughing exercises- saying sorry while holding your ears out like a monkey (FYI, i’m never apologizing any other way again), an exaggerated laugh building from a small ha to a GWHAHAHAHA! How you would laugh off an embarrassing situation, or laughingly scold a naughty child. My favorite I think was the see who can hold in the laugh the longest game, because NO ONE could hold it in, and then we spent the next several minutes in belly-ache inducing laughter and tears.

There is a whole Laugh Yoga movement, with 7000 groups worldwide. In 2000, 10,000 people gathered together in Copenhagen to laugh for peace. It is really a peace movement because, as our teacher explained it to us, how can you shoot a gun if you are laughing?

I’m sold. I think I’ve found my therapy for the year. And if you are having a bad day, don’t be surprised if I mischievously suggest that we head over to a secret location one Monday night to cheer you up. Laughter is the best medicine and I’m ready for my spoonful.

Go ahead, laugh at me. It’ll do you some good.


Hm, looks like my brother Ben got ahold of my phone without me