Saturday, December 22, 2012

Leaving for Pakistan!

After seven years away and almost not being able to board our flight yesterday, we are now waiting in Jeddah for our flight to Pakistan. I am so happy and grateful that Feraz will get to experience the country I love so much with me! Please keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Silly Mayans

When they Mayans said it was going to be the end of the world, what they meant to say was that it would rain really hard. Easy mistake.

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Ordinary Day

Tonight, we had a Friday night like one we have had over a hundred times since we moved to DC. Feraz's brother, his wife and our little niece came over for dinner. My sister-in-law's brother and his family, including their two young kids came over as well.

We had a yummy, if not very spicy, dinner and then had dessert. Two desserts in fact. We talked about what had happened in the week and plans we had for the weekend. The kids ran around. They are all under three but are old enough that they can start playing together. They all plop around following one another, learning the basics of human interactions. They are so sweet and innocent.

At one point, four of us were playing Apples to Apples and two of the guys were tossing the kids in the air and catching them in unison. The third baby looked up smiling and we all looked over to watch the very quaint scene. I thought to myself, we are a family and I felt so plainly happy.

I will always remember these days. When our niece is still so little that we can cuddle her in our laps. When all of us have our parents. When all of us have our healthy and our families.

On this tragic day in our country's history, I am so, so thankful for our ordinary Friday.

Thoughts Upon Hearing of the Shooting in CT

May we be protected from feeling the pain and horror of the families who have lost their children today.

May we be gentle caretakers of each other so no one around us ever feels they have to kill innocents.

May we live in a country where there is accessible mental health care for anyone who needs it.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Brandon and Kristen Get Married

When my friends Brandon and Kristen told me they were getting married, I was so incredibly excited and happy for them. They are a couple that has stuck with each other through good times and bad and show me the power of commitment and hard work in a relationship.

I was even more excited when I found out their wedding was in Pittsburgh! Feraz and I were really looking forward to check out this city that National Geographic named one of its top 20 places to visit in 2012. Here are some pictures from the wedding and our awesome trip.

We saw the most beautiful sky on the way there.
Entering Pittsburgh. 
At the reception at the church. Feraz had orbs around his head all weekend.
Lisa, Steve and a caricature artist.
A classy groom with embroidered initials. 
Afterwards, we went to see the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh. This mural of the Bosphorus was the exact view we had from our old apartment in Istanbul. Incredible.
Primanti Brothers is our new favorite restaurant. 
Road tripping requires stretching and donut breaks.
See all the pictures here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Michigan in October

We are so lucky to be able to visit Michigan two months in a row! We came in October for Feraz's birthday and to celebrate Eid. We are here again for Thanksgiving now! Before this trip gets away from us, I wanted to share some photos from our last trip here.

Found a great abandoned railroad track to photograph.
My friend Sara has been getting a lot of mice visitors in her house. They capture them in live traps and then keep them in a critter box until they can release them. We went to Belle Isle to set this little one free!
We had some time to visit the two University of Michigan campuses near us. It was such a walk down memory lane. Go visit your alma maters! Its so much fun.
We stopped in Bay City for Feraz's birthday dinner.
Feraz has been praying in some random spots on our road trips. On our last one he decided to stop and pray in a mall parking lot in Lima, Ohio. I think I prefer empty playgrounds.
Good times! Can't believe how much the law school has changed! Its beautiful.
Camera wars. I love *Sara. She is for keeps.
You can see the full set here. It includes Eid pictures!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Detroit and Sandy

I was taking a look at the Buzzfeed piece of 21 images of why the NYC Marathon was cancelled. Minus the water, a lot of the pictures look like they could have been taken in parts of Detroit. And for some reason, that really upset me. Just doing a basic google search for Detroit, some of the images below came up.

via affordablehousinginstitute.orgd caption
I wish that we treated all places in our country that need disaster relief with similar outpourings of love and compassion.

Friday, November 16, 2012

HitRECord! Should we capture the moment or just enjoy it?

Have you heard of HitRECord? It is an online collaborative production company started by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is a space where all types of artists can come together to work on stories, music, movies and lots of other things. It has been such a great resource to find and I would have loved to have had an outlet like it when I was younger. It has pushed me to write more, learn how to do really basic sound and video mixing and start looking at the world through a more artistic lens.

From the intro sequence.

This week JGL kicked off a HitRecord Live Show tour in DC. I wasn't sure what to expect but I wanted to support HitRecord so I bought two tickets, grabbed my BFF and went to check it out. It was actually a pretty fun experience with random people getting pulled on stage to make art on the spot, showing off finished products made my the HitRECord community and even a sing along.

We got this picture together.
Although I enjoyed the show, I didn't leave thinking "That was the best thing I have ever been to." But when I got home I uploaded some of my pictures on the site and I started checking out what other people had recorded while there. Someone took a picture I posted and "re-mixed" it meaning they edited it with their own take or contribution. By the time a few days had passed, I started to realize what the show really meant. It was the celebration of a community of artists who are working together, supporting each other and saying that art is valuable and we are all capable of creating it and making something beautiful. HitRECord takes the sometimes lonesome endeavor of being an artist and makes it into something truly community sustained.

JGL talking about starting HitRECord with his brother, Dan.
One thing that my friend mentioned not liking and that I often think about is that when people are busy recording everything at shows, they are no longer experiencing the moment and that somehow cheapens what is happening. What do you think? Is it ok to be recording when you are doing so consciously to make art? Or is it more important to be present? When we are recording and photographing, do we do tend to miss out on the atmosphere and we lose out on the whole picture?

Everyone was encouraged to turn ON all recording devices.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reflections on Obama's Projected Win

I am glad that there is someone in office who will appoint Democratic Supreme Court justices to keep the Court more balanced. I am relieved that women's reproductive rights will remain protected. I am proud that Americans have overwhelmingly taken a stance that all citizens of this country, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve basic civil rights. But I struggle with the fact that we have a two party system, that most my friends vote on party lines without considering individual candidates, that party affiliations have stagnated our political process and that people fail to realize that unless they give their local candidates and issues as much attention as the presidential election, we will never truly build a more perfect union.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nanowrimo! Could you write a novel in a month?

Have you always wanted to write a novel but have never made yourself sit down and do it? Nanowrimo is a program that helps you write a novel in a month. From their website:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. 
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. 
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
I did my first Nanowrimo a few years ago. I wrote the novel and never looked at it again. A few weeks ago, I opened up the document on my laptop and it was so strange reading the words. I don't remember writing them and I stopped several times and thought, wow, I did this. It was a great feeling and even though I'll probably never do anything with that novel, it holds a special place in my heart as being my first, big work. It was an amazing experience to go back and read it. I've decided to do Nanowrimo again this year. It is a great way to discipline yourself as a writer. Most of what you write might not be amazing (though it might be!) but it helps you get a lot of practice in.

What about you guys? Anyone else doing it? Anyone do it before and produce something they really liked?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall in Michigan

When we lived overseas, the number one thing I missed about America was Fall. Growing up in Michigan, I fell in love with the changing of the seasons and no season announces itself like fall. I love looking out for the first bursts of red and yellow in the trees. Fall is particularly magical because if you are not careful you will miss it. It often seems like all the leaves fell overnight and somehow you didn't take the time you should have to appreciate them and now the long, cold winter has set in.

Feraz and I always try to do some drives around fall and this year we were lucky enough to be able to drive to Michigan and see the trees changing through five states. A week ago, I would not have guessed that a giant storm named Sandy would come and snatch up the end of fall in one giant swoop. So grateful that we got to appreciate the season fully before that happened.

Here are some pictures I took from a trip to Stoney Creek Park with Feraz and my mom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

the hirshhorn - ai weiwei

There is a terrific Ai Weiwei ("According to What") exhibit at the Hirshhorn right now. I didn't know almost anything about him until visiting it but I am obsessed. 

Weiwei's art explore the relationship of the individual and society. Many of his pieces are intended to question the values of self and society and are thought provoking. If you are in DC, I hope you get a chance to check out this inspiring exhibit.

We walked from Georgetown to the Hirshhorn. It was a lovely, long walk.
Made a few stops along the way.
I loved all the Ai Weiwei quotes. 
Beijing 2008 Stadium
Wenchaun Steel Rebar
Ai Weiwei "Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn"
Wooden chambers capturing all the phases of the moon
Tea houses made from tea.

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