27 April, 2011

There were some things I wanted to tell him. But I knew they would hurt him. So I buried them and let them hurt me.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jonathan Safran Foer

Love Is....You and I

Love is the scars on your knees, the leftover food in the refrigerator, the song the birds sing, the pain you inflict, the sweet nothingness which flutters from your lover’s mouth, a half complete cigarette, diet coke which fizzles on your tongue, the rainbow sprinkles on your cupcake, the battered package you received in the mail the other day, the sound of wind escaping through a small gap in your window, the dampness in your hair, the chipped red varnish on your finger-nails, your grandmother’s musical box, the ballet shoes you’ve since you were five, the music playing on your car stereo, the flaky paint on your walls, the bubblegum stuck under desks, the tooth-fairy, your hands and the things you can make with them, the kisses you blow, the clothes you wear, 5-am morning, you sensitive teeth, the tingly feeling you get, the tangles in your lover’s hair, sleepless nights, overdosing on painkillers, undeserved success and recognition, telling lies and not getting caught, blacking out from consuming too much alcohol, being desired by multiple parties, solving mathematical problem, watching the people around you, watching the people fucking up around you, screaming out of your window in the middle of the night, flaming your lover’s ex, smudged mascara, disheveled hair and smeared lipstick, star-bucks mango passion fruit, little children, silence, recyclable materials, trees, photosynthesis, growth, development

No. Love is you, I, and a careless mixture of everything else we worry about.

(text and photo)

14 April, 2011



"Once the initial madness of desire has passed and we are faced with each other as dimwitted mortal fools, how is it that any of us find the ability to love and forgive each other at all, much less enduringly?

Felipe didn't answer for a long time. Then he said, "When I used to go down to Brazil to buy gemstones, I would often buy something they call 'a parcel.' A parcel is this random collection of gems that the miner or wholesaler or whoever is bullshitting you puts together. A typical parcel would contain, I don't know, maybe twenty or thirty aquamarines at once. Supposedly, you get a better deal that way - buying them all in a bunch - but you would have to be careful, because of course the guy is trying to rip you off. He's trying to unload his bad gemstones on you by packaging them together with a few really good ones.

" So when I first started in the jewelry business," Felipe went on, "I used to get in trouble because I'd get too excited about the one or two perfect aquamarines in the parcel, and I wouldn't pay as much attention to the junk they threw in there. After I got burned enough times, I finally got wise and learned this: You have to ignore the perfect gemstones. Don't even look at them twice because they are blinding. Just put them away and have a careful look at the really bad stones. Look at them for a long time, and then ask yourself honestly, 'Can I work with these? Can I make something out of this?' Otherwise, you've just spent a whole lot of money on one or two gorgeous aquamarines buried inside a big heap of worthless crap.

"It's the same with relationships, I think. People always fall in love with the most perfect of each other's personalities. Who wouldn't? Anyone can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that's not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at you partner's faults honestly and say, 'I can work around that. I can make something out of that'? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it's always going to be pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you."

"What I'm trying to say, darling, is that I've been watching you carefully for a long time already, and I believe I can accept the whole parcel."

- From Commiteed, by Elizabeth Gilbert ( a book every. single. one. of you, committed or not, should read)

13 April, 2011


Or, How to Motivate Yourself to Write Papers When Sick.

"I'll write three more pages and then I can take a nap"

"Just one more page and I'll go downstairs for a (20th) cup of tea"

And when just the thought of drinking one more cup of tea, taking one more nap, and writing one more page make your throat ache more, you decide to get some fresh air. Only to realize that walking up and down stairs makes you feel like you've run a marathon.

Back to napping.

10 April, 2011

I Am Alive, I Believe in Everything

Self. Brotherhood. God. Zeus. Communism.
Capitalism. Buddha. Vinyl records.
Baseball. Ink. Trees. Cures for disease.
Saltwater. Literature. Walking. Waking.
Arguments. Decisions. Ambiguity. Absolutes.
Presence. Absence. Positive and Negative.
Empathy. Apathy. Sympathy and entropy.
Verbs are necessary. So are nouns.
Empty skies. Dark vacuums of night.
Visions. Revisions. Innocence.
I've seen All the empty spaces yet to be filled.
I've heard All of the sounds that will collect
at the end of the world.
And the silence that follows.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all.

Waves lapping on the shore.
Skies on fire at sunset.
Old men dancing on the streets.
Paradox and possibility.
Sense and sensibility.
Cold logic and half truth.
Final steps and first impressions.
Fools and fine intelligence.
Chaos and clean horizons.
Vague notions and concrete certainty.
Optimism in the face of adversity.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all.

(by Lesley Choyce)

09 April, 2011

Central Park

Our day in central park started with chilly winds and cloudy skies, but the sky soon opened up and the warm sunshine encouraged us to rent a rowboat and explore the park by lake. The colors almost look like Fall, don't they?

07 April, 2011

NYC Surprise

My second day in NYC started bright and early with a "day-trip" to Rutgers University in Newark, NJ for my first conference. I was so impressed with the trains to and from Penn Station -- clean, spacious and efficient (at least by Chicago standards). I was less impressed with Newark. At the risk of offending any Newark residents reading this blog, the part of the city I saw can be summarized in two words: garbage and graffiti. The conference, however, was incredible, and I managed to capture a few glimpses of charm amongst the trash that littered the sidewalks.

After the conference, I head back to Manhattan for the best part of the trip - my love, waiting for me at the Paramount Hotel. He never fails to surprise me (love you, baby!). Right in the middle of Times Square, the hotel is majestic, the interior beautiful and the customer service stellar. We were initially in a small room with a King bed. It was a beautiful room, but a few technical difficulties and a call to the hotel manager later, we were upgraded to a suite with a separate bedroom, two bathrooms and a living room.

After settling into the room, we headed out to B.B. King's to watch some live boxing. It was exhilirating (also, a tip: single ladies, head to a boxing match...it is 99% men) and afterwards we headed to a nearby restaurant and indulged in huge portions (both of food and drinks!).

The best part of the day was walking to our hotel after dinner, knowing that the night, and the next day, were ours.

06 April, 2011

NYC, First Impressions

I left Chicago early in the morning, literally flying into the sunrise. A few hours later, I was flying over sunny New York (air travel never ceases to amaze me).

I caught a fleeting glimpse of Times Square as I made my way to my cousin and her fiancée's temporary apartment (conveniently located right off Times Square...it pays to work for a big corporation!).

They had only two short weeks to find a permanent apartment, so I dropped off my bags and off we went to explore the neighborhoods of NYC and find them the apartment of their dreams.

Spring was in full bloom, ivy crawling up stucco walls, flowers stalls on every corner and little buds reaching for the sky. Unfortunately, though spring was everywhere, the dream apartment was nowhere to be found.

Lesson of the Day: A price range that would afford a penthouse apartment in the middle of downtown here in Chicago will get you a box in Manhattan. Literally, a box. We were shocked and appalled by all the places we saw - eight flights of haphazard stairs, open electric wiring above front doors, minuscule bathrooms I could not even squeeze my hips into, the list goes on and on. It was a rude awakening for all of us.

Eventually, they did find an apartment with both space (relatively speaking) and a reasonable price range, but the apartment hunting experience made me realize that I would rather visit NYC than live there (if I am going to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a small space, I will do it in Paris!). This made the rest of the trip much more pleasant, since I was thinking less about how much I hate Chicago and love NYC (which is what happens with most places I go), and more about how wonderful both NYC and Chicago are. Am I making sense?

After a full day of strolling through the East Village, Gramercy Park (my favorite) and all the "Sides", we dragged our tired feet home (note to self, wear FLAT boots next time) and quickly fell asleep.

04 April, 2011


Henceforth, the only acceptable use of the word "snow" is to refer to these delicate flowers.

In other news, I am back from a whirlwind trip to NYC, full of good friends, lovely places, amazing surprises and delicious food. More in the next posts!