24 September, 2009

The Russia Diaries: Olkhon Island Photos

"We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."
--Anton Chekhov

18 September, 2009

The Broken Spectacles

It was impossible at this point to ignore his eyes: deep set, large and a ghostly blue, the skin around them was dark and sallow, outlined perfectly by a brow at times delicate, at others severe. She could not help but stare.

It was not until this moment when he gazed at so close a proximity that the constant barrier, the screen-like barricade across his gaze the glass provided became intolerably evident. He met her stare: and suddenly the screen fell, his eyes were unadorned, and the unexpected intimacy of his expression made her quiver. His eyes were exquisite. Piercing. Deeply pained.

And filled with love.

She looked quickly away, busying herself once again with the broken frames, clicking the heavy glass back into place with a definite clack. She could feel the unbridled intensity upon her, and despite the chill in the November night, she felt at once hot and nervous.

She was unsettled, but still greater than her disquiet was her astonishment. And greater than either of those was her despair. “There you are,” she announced with false self-possession, “all fixed.” She held the frames out sideways, arm fully extended, and subsequently, she caught the nakedness of his look, which she held for a lingering moment before his “thank you” abruptly broke the spell as cleanly as the break in his now repaired spectacles.

He reached for them now, and the momentary brush of his calloused fingers on hers made her swelter once again. And then, as if replacing a coat of steel armor, Dmitri placed the frames firmly back upon his face, and they were once again at ease.

13 September, 2009

Gratitudes 76-100

76. Men in suits
77. A fully functioning mind and body. What a wonderful thing it is.
78. Love. There is so much love in my life and I am so fortunate and thankful.
79. Great hair. (Mom, who has great-even-though-she-doesn't-think-it's-great curly hair is really jealous hehe!) Thanks dad!
80. The UK. The UK has been so good to me over the last 7 years. It has provided me with an education, an incredible career, a vast range of experiences including places, people and events, as well as a tremendous network of friends that have become like family.
81. April 28, 2001
82. Skype!
83. Roark & Galt
84. the iPhone and my gorgeous Macbook computer
85. East of Eden, for teaching me how to read...
86. Nick. For being real.
87. Judy Chu and our decade of letters
88. VADIM!
89. Russia... The Motherland... ohhhh how it transformed me...
90. Leah Edwards. Angel.
91. Lance Horne for changing my life and the coconut!
92. Jordan, Maggie, Hannah and Madison-- my wonderful brother and his family.
93. Snuggly duvet days (especially when it is a bit chilly and perhaps drizzly too. Yum.)
94. Victoria Hinde and Tasha Sheridan for literally saving my life.
95. The Betts Family - They have provided me with my first and last London home, and have been more than just hosts but friends over the last 4 and a half years. Their home in Finsbury Park has become a symbol of new beginnings to me, and their generosity never ceases to amaze.
96. Emma. Look what one friend-date can do!
97. America
98. Music
99. D...
100. The theatre

12 September, 2009

New York New York...

I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.

-- Ayn Rand

* * *

Dear Readers,

I am about to go on a journey. Not your average holiday, return to Michigan shores, or trip being the Iron Curtain.


This journey is the first step towards a journey of RETURN. A journey home.

For the next four months, I will be based in what many call "the greatest city on earth," The City That Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, The Capital of the World, Gotham, Empire City, The Melting Pot, or sometimes, simply, The City. Yes, dear readers, it is none other than New York.

I am going for a change of scene. I will plant some professional seeds, spread my wings a bit, focus on my super secret writing project (!!!), and return to a few old and very dear friendships that will aid in the nurturing, healing, and flourishing of this slightly depleted soul. Nothing can stop me, I am on my way. Ascension is the only direction in a city like New York, and I intend to ascend in whichever way the universe intends me to.

So. Bring on the Peanut Butter. Bring on the 24 hour diners, the river, the park, a real autumn and winter. Bring on red coats and weekends in Boston. Bring on Thanksgiving. Obama. America. Home.

So much in life doesn't matter. I don't care necessarily what life shall be, nor what it may or may not inflict upon me. I care about what Life IS.

And Life can have it's way with me. It won't break me. Neither you nor me. That determined faith in our own resilience is our only weapon against the cynical, the weak, those who talk of honor but do not practice the word they so loudly and vigorously screech.

Yes. Faith in ourselves; that quiet, steely belief in our capacity to endure and perhaps even thrive in the face of pain. The pain that perfects us, teaches us, heals and sculpts and defines us. Pain is breakthrough, if we have the courage to break through.

In the last 6 months, I have experienced things I have never felt before. Pain I never dreamed I would endure, and yet, I have taken it on with a certain delight. Sometimes one must experience pain past the point of principle on behalf of others. Sometimes our suffering is a matter and ingredient of unassailable personal dignity. the sufferer does not resist/submit/speak/remain silent for others, but for the Self. It is done. Then the Self has earned it's ascension. This power of the Self is the only banner we can hold against all the derailing messages of around us. That's all I need to know about the future.

I am going to New York because I feel a bold step is necessary now. And fortune favors the brave. Here I go. I promise to write.

"I took the tube over to Camden
To wander around
I bought some funky records
With that old Motown sound
And I miss you like my left arm
That's been lost in a war
Today I dream of home and not of London anymore...

-- The Waifs, from "London Still"

06 September, 2009

7 Olive Grove

Goodbye: A List

Everyone at Atakan Market
The Tailor and his wife
Late night watermelon
Star Trek til wee hours
Midnight Mitzvah man
The fountain of the naked woman
Flowers in the park
Snow Day!
Christmas 2007-8
The Christmas Tree Debacle
Beep Beep
Baths with candles
Rose's Cafe for Sunday brunch
Pizza on Demand
3 o'clock school run from West Green Primary School
Turkish food from the wonderful people at Istambul
Mario the mechanic: a hello every day
the 341 to Islington
Black Boy Lane
The Imperial House of Prayer
The nice man at the newsagent
Chicken and Chips man

Living here has changed my beliefs — it changed the way I feel about myself and my community. And it's a glorious feeling. Having lived in Tottenham is not a stain, it's a badge of honor. I believe that living here has helped me to truly see the world.

It is a rough neighborhood, but the thing about Tottenham is this: it is a place where overall, I have found people look out for and after one another. If you can live in Tottenham, you can live anywhere, so they say, and it though at times it has been comically tough, rough, and just plain odd, this has been home, and I have loved it. Tomorrow, when I say I once lived in Tottenham, I shall stand up straight. This was home, and in my memory, it always shall be.

Thank you 7 Olive Grove, for two and a half wonderful years.
I shall never forget you.


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