st-ake sale

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I spent a large chunk of Saturday baking for our junior youth group stoop+bake = stake sale.

We raised over $140 that will be contributed to AIDS research, as part of the annual New York City AIDS walk. We sold books, toys and clothes, but the biggest hit were the baked goods everyone contributed: chocolate chip, sugar and lemon cookies, apple cinnamon cake, chocolate sprinkle slices and gingerbread.

The recipe for the iced gingerbread is from Nigella Lawson...

Astor and Toby thought that running up and down the block shouting "bake sale" at the top of their lungs might help attract more customers...

Greg settled for writing on the sidewalk with chalk - he was left with blue powder on his finger-tips...

Overall, our customers seemed satisfied...

And we all had lots of fun...

Later, we met up with some friends in Prospect Park. We played some frisbee...

and watched the cows, I mean, the kites fly...

As usual, more pictures are posted on flickr.

smelly wellies

Friday, April 27, 2007

April rains have descended on the city once again, and I am not a happy camper.
I set out to work Friday morning and within seconds, *seconds* I tell you, my socks had transformed into smooshy, shlif-shlaffing wetness in my boots. Fine, the boots I was wearing were not waterproof. Fine, I had listened to the weather report before leaving. Fine, I should have known better but really I just don't own waterproof footware!
Hence I purchased these on the way to work...

My poor mother (and sisters) might disown me because of them, but you know what I say to that? *Dry Feet*.
Oh, the one catch: they stink! And noooo, it's not my feet, it is the actual wellingtons! I think I am getting a bit whoosy because of the rubber/oil/plastic smell they give off. It is really potent and pungent, so much so my colleague at work that sits by me commented on it. sigh.
They are in the living room now, and I can still smell them. Maybe I am imagining it, but even brookie is staying away from them.
Anyone know what I can do to get rid of the smell?


I thought I would post another one of my write-ups that made it on mainly for your benefit, mom&dad!

round-ish things

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

3191 is a visual blog created by two talented crafters/photographers. They live miles and miles apart (3,191 miles apart as a matter of fact) and they agreed to take a picture every morning, Monday thru Friday. They don't talk about what they are going to photograph or post, but I find it interesting that many days the pictures have something familiar between them. Like this one.
Inspired by their efforts I took some pictures the past few mornings. Turns out, I like rounded containers.
Here is what I wake up to every morning, Shamim's fantastic cappuccino (
I really think the Rancilio Silvia was the best investment we ever made):

And since spring is finally here we planted new seedlings for the summer just last week - basil, rosemary and mint. The first heart-shaped leaves just started to show their greeny tips:

And finally, our newly acquired "room-mate" gifted us this beautiful creamer and sugar bowl to match our teapot. Thank you Sana...

Ridván weekend

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ridván (paradise) is the most important Bahá'i holiday, also known as the King of Festivals. It is named after a garden outside Baghdad where Bahá'u'lláh stayed for 12 days before departing for Turkey in 1863. While staying in the garden He welcomed the stream of visitors that came to bid Him farewell and announced to them and to the World that He was Him Whom God would make manifest. Friday at sunset marked the beginning of the twelve days of Ridván.

We celebrated this weekend by spending time with old friends and making some new ones, meeting with family, celebrating Ridván with the NYC Baha'i community and generally enjoying the long-awaited arrival of spring.

On Saturday morning Shamim and I hiked over to Hoboken (and yes, the trip was longer that the 30 minutes I insisted it would take us to get there) and had brunch with our friends Roya&Hooshmand, their kids and a whole lot of their friends. Since pretty much everyone there had at least one child I felt we showed up empty-handed!
The biggest surprise was to see my cousin Shamim there with his son Arian (the blond hair comes from his mom). They have been living in NJ for a while and we have been chatting back and forth over email for a while, but hadn't actually been able to see each other in person until Saturday.

So we enjoyed some made-to-order omelets...

...sang songs...

...and expressed our creative sides by making prayer banners all together...

The rest of the day was equally busy with Ridván celebrations, welcoming cousins (Sana is staying with us for a month while he does an internship at the UN) and eating dinner with friends. Jeremy, Tahirih and Nataly cooked for us and then we hung out in Central Park, enjoying the warm night and singing "One" from Chorus Line. Who knew that German-Haitian-Albanian types could make a killer fessen joon?
Today started off with a busy, game-ridden meeting with our neighborhood junior youth group.

We are currently planning ways to raise money for the annual New York City AIDS walk we are participating in at the end of May. The kids came up with the idea of hosting a stoop sale/bake sale next weekend (or a stake sale as Aidan baptized it!) so we are gearing up to bake goodies for that next week. If you happen to be in the Dean and Smith street area around 1pm next Sunday, please stop by and buy some lemonade and sweets.
This afternoon has been warm and sunny - as we queued, waiting for a table at Grimaldi's, Sarah, who was visiting from Toronto, pointed out this funny scene across the street:

It's a young girl in there. Reading her book. Perfect.
More pictures here.


Friday, April 20, 2007

All of a sudden, things just weren’t the same. Long pauses, skipping erratically back and forth, freezing up and randomly turning off. It fought and struggled for a few days, but in the end there was nothing anyone could do. A sad-faced iPod icon appeared on the screen of my trusty 20GB iPod – the little white machine revved up for a few seconds at a time and then just sizzled its way into final silence. After a mere three years, I must lay my Pod to rest.


P.S. Thankfully, we have back-up. Shamim must have had a premonition a few weeks ago because my Naw-Ruz gift was a shiny, bright blue iPod Shuffle. This was his contribution to my marathon training, but it will now have to step up to the new challenge of replacing my trusty friend.

surprise visit

Thursday, April 19, 2007

This blue-eyed, babbling cutie charmed his way into a one-night stay at our home... short but sweet!

BIG feet.

city nature

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New York City is not a particularly "green" city. London, DC and others really show us up when it comes to taking care of nature and incorporating it into the landscape. Sure, Central and Prospect Park are all well and good, but where are London's Primrose Hill or Greenwich Park?
Shamim and I do our bit, growing a whole variety of plants and greens (basil, mint, watermelon, cucumbers and more) on our fire escape, and we've basically forfeited our bedroom to our plants (I have to actually climb over the bed to get to my side, because our ficus is so out of control).
Maybe I am resentful because spring here has yet to bloom here , but it seems like every time I step outside these days I am reminded of how far away we are from everything green and refreshing... how about this poor old tree stump that has been trapped into the fence?

Here are some other shots of "greenery" in Brooklyn...
This flickr group has a more positive attitude towards urban nature. Maybe I'll be inspired...

nor'easter and puppets

Monday, April 16, 2007

It started at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, drippety drop drip drop drop. I know this because I was laying wide awake in bed (sigh), trying desperately to catch sleep.

Usually on a day like this, I would make a point of not leaving the house at all, and haply engage in some other type of homely activity like cleaning up, baking or just watching an old movie on tv. That was not an option yesterday as I headed to our neighborhood junior youth group first thing in the morning. The bottom of my jeans was wet and stiff within minutes and my tragically non-waterproof boots were soon soaked. At that point, you just have to give up, enjoy the moment and go stand on the curbside, waiting for a car to drive quickly through a puddle.
In the afternoon, the weather didn't deter sixty New York City Baha'is from gathering at the center and engaging in some very active reflection about the activities in our cluster.

Oh, and one more thing: it's now Monday morning and it is still, sadly wet outside. I think I want to take Brookie approach to life and just hide in a box:

the bigger picture

Thursday, April 12, 2007

We had a wonderful weekend on the West Coast - visiting friends in Seattle and family in Victoria. Throughout the weekend, I took quite a few touristy pictures, and other people enjoyed taking sneeky snaps of me taking pictures. The ones in the left column are by our friend Maziar.

the deed is done

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

If all goes well, and the no-injury gods are looking over me, here is what I will be doing on November 4th 2007...

saving the world

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The check-out clerks at our local Key Foods must think I am nuts. First of all, I show up with all my produce all over the place, not placed in neat little plastic bags. Then, they start scanning my items, and very kindly they place them in a doubled up plastic bag. And what do I do? I stand at the end of the counter, systematically undoing all their work. I am "one-bagging" my items (WHY do I need 2 bags, one inside the other, I do not understand), or just identifying the ones that I can carry home in my arms, without the additional plastic.
So if you see me walking on Montague, running across the street to my home with my arms full of groceries, toilet paper and more, don't worry. It is my
teeny weeny contribution to saving the world.

Which has lead me to consider further steps I can take to reduce wasteful attitudes in my life. According to Climate Crisis, here are things I can do:

  • Use energy saving light bulbs: we have made the switch!
  • Use less hot water: sometimes, courtesy of our building's poor plumbing system
  • Reduce thermostat temperature: no control over that in our home, although all our heaters are off.
  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer: I don't think our fire escape can handle that, although we could set up a line between our building the one adjoining ours. Plus, I would miss going down to our creepy basement (more on that at another time!)
  • Turn off electronics when you're not using them: I recently started turning all my monitors off when I leave work, as well all the others I see on and unused on my way out the building.
  • Unplug electronics from the wall when not using them: tougher to do at work, but will start doing this at home. I always leave my iPod charger plugged in... not good.
  • Only use dishwasher when full: what's a dishwasher? You mean Shamim?
  • Recycling: YES YES YES! Another reason to visit our nasty basement.
  • Plant a tree: I want to plant some trees with the participants of our junior youth group. Also, does planting lots of basil and thyme on our fire escape count?
  • Support local farmer's markets: Cadman Plaza market here I come.
  • Eat less meat: my mommy tells the same thing... but it's so yummy!
  • Reduce miles you drive by using public transport: I ace this one.
  • Lots of car suggestions: I vow to buy a hybrid, once I actually get a car.
  • Fly less: mmmmmh, nope. I just can't do that. I am waiting for the industry to come up with green flights.

Happy Feet really had an impact on me!

135 Joralemon Street

Monday, April 2, 2007

Every time we walked to the YMCA, Sahadi's, the movie theater or really anywhere on Atlantic Ave, I would drag Shamim down Joralemon Street so we could take a look at one of my favorite sites in Brooklyn Heights: the burnt out skeleton of a house at 135 Joralemon Street (thanks to New York Landmarks for this picture).

It's been a dream of mine to take it over, restore it to its former glory and then live in it for years to come... Well, obviously someone with various millions of dollars had the same idea, purchased it for about $2.4mils and has started complete renovation of the building. It's looking beautiful.

According to the Museum of the City of New York the house was built in 1833 and was originally part of the Remsen family farm (there is a street named after them in Bk Heights - I might have to investigate their history). The picture below was taken by photographer Berenice Abbott in 1936, and at the time it was owned by a Mrs. Morton Cross Fitch.

The house was landmarked in 1966.
While rummaging through google search results I stumbled across an entry from a blog of fellow Brooklyn Heights resident, who had also admired the house from afar and even got a chance to take a peek inside. Lucky him!

Brunch with the newlyweds

Sunday, April 1, 2007

We joined our newlywed friends Ramin and Mallory for a lazy Sunday morning brunch at Bubby's in Brooklyn. I've been trying to figure out our camera and how to get decent pictures out of it. Ramin was very kindly encouraging of my efforts, but being a world-famous-amazing photographer, my attempts really pale in confront to his.