Summer writing and change

Summer is not conducive to blog-writing, at least among some of my friends. It may be that we’re too busy enjoying the nice weather. It is easier to convince oneself that there is nothing to do when there is 3 feet of snow on the ground, so sitting in front of a computer is actually productive.

Somehow the week got away from me. Reconnection with high school friends and the comfort of the suburbs (I love not having to search for parking!), sewing (I made a skirt), spending time with friends, getting ice cream and cheese fries at the local shops, biking, and reading.

I look up to realize that we have reached the halfway point of August, and things are heating up. School starting, Greenlake conference, my birthday (whee!), and a dozen other projects, events, and plans. I’m excited.

I also realize that these things all signify changes. This is my last semester of school. The weather will become hostile to bike-riding and the beach. Back-porch chats will be moved to the living room. I start the job hunt in earnest. Friends are getting married, moving, or starting new phases in their lives, a whirlwind of activity that I watch with some bemusement.

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Does this look real?

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I am in awe of this place, and possibilities of structure.

There are so many questions I want answers to, and yet Sunday night I made the observation that sometimes there has to be the acceptance that some questions don’t have answers (in this lifetime, anyway). I want to follow the wisdom of my heart, not get caught up in the words and phrases and thoughtless machinations…

Ah, sometimes the peace comes in mere writing for me. The flow of pen to paper (or, more likely, keyboard to screen) is like a form of meditation or something.

It is easy to allow beauty to diminish through others’ words of disparagement and disappointment. It is ok if one person likes something and another doesn’t. It would be nice if people allowed others to enjoy that beauty without comment.

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The News

I turned on the television to see if a storm was coming in.
Why did I even bother? I could have checked on the computer.
I left it on out of pure laziness,
and I felt like my brain was melting out my ears.
The news alternated between reports of deaths and accidents
to gossip on celebrities and their marital troubles.
I don’t know why I am surprised each time
that I try to find out what is happening in the world
and all I find out about
is what is happening at home.

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I like…

sushi
brussel sprouts
blanched almonds
coffee ice cream
flan
cooking/baking

dancing in the rain
swimming in Lake Michigan
swimming in the Atlantic Ocean
making sand castles
dancing (especially salsa, though I’m not very good at it)
exploring forests
climbing trees
rollerblading/biking

the Garden State soundtrack
Indian films
nail polish
fantasy/sci-fi books
reading in bed all day

skyscrapers (especially working in them)
business-speak
clothing
watching people (I can spot a tourist from a mile away)
making faces
exploring Chicago on a whim

you.

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Art = Fun

I went to an art gallery when I was in Atlanta. On the roof of the gallery was this piece of art by my aunt & uncle’s friend (most of my dad’s family are professional artists). It was a bunch of glass or ceramic domes that were glazed in different ways. The piece was a tribute to some other artists that I didn’t recognize, and we spent a good 15 minutes standing in the sun, looking, commenting, and generally being pretentious. It was awesome. I love art galleries.

(click on the pictures to make them bigger)

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First Day of Ridvan

Happy First Day of Ridvan! I got to vote for a Local Spiritual Assembly for the first time this year, it was very exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚

I sit here, struggling to write my paper for Sociology…I have part of it done. Motivation is hard to come by.

I feel like the world that surrounds me is different. It is not the same street that I live on, or the same back porch that I sit on. We’re all feeling it, and we don’t know what it is. I’ve decided it is useless to speculate. Need to just pray.

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At the speed of…?

*The world moved too fast for me today.
I was scrambling to keep up,
even with 6 eggs (3 for breakfast, 3 for dinner)
I have a protein craving, perhaps. (get it?)

*I missed the stop on the train again, this time at LaSalle.
Not because of a book, but because of conversation.
The diversion took Ramez and I to Dunkin Donuts
(coffee was needed for studying!).

*I decided what kind of ice cream cake I want for my birthday
(in 5 months, the sum of the two digits of my age will equal 4).

*At the library, we discovered that it was closed,
so off to the cafe it was, with 80s music playing overhead.

*Term papers are taking over my life. It is the research part that gets me.
Writing a paper takes no time at all.

*The world has been surreal recently. Everyone around me feels it.
We discussed this last night…I simply can’t tell the difference sometimes
because life has been so completely strange.
We are in a different universe, we think.
That is ok. I always wanted to travel to distant lands.

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I am not complaining. I’m telling the truth.

Sometimes this is about me, and sometimes it is about things I see.
Sometimes the things I see pertain to me.
The 114 pounds of this slender frame can’t hold you all up indefinitely.
The standards that were set have slipped down
And this saddens me infinitely.
We are made for better things than this, my loves.
We are supposed to be spiritually distinct.

I don’t appreciate being yelled at. I don’t appreciate being taken for granted.
I don’t want to be the one to tell everyone to be quiet, or help clean.
It is not my responsibility to remind you of what you should be already doing.
I don’t do these things for you to think better of me, dear youth.
This is my service to God. I do this out of love,
but when you don’t understand the extent or source of that love,
I no longer know what to say.

It is ok if not everyone is the best of friends.
We don’t have to be pals to be in service to the Cause.
I can’t always include everyone, no matter how hard I try.
We have to learn how to be ok with that.
Some bonds are forged over coffee,
but most of them are formed through service.
It is easy to forget what caused us to become so close in the first place.
Don’t minimize that.

I will not let the standards become lower.
We have come too far, with too much hard work, to let it come to that.
Will we become like the society around us?
We are Baha’i youth. Lets figure out how to act that way.

“Rejecting the low sights of mediocrity, let them [Bahแ’ํ youth] scale the ascending heights of excellence in all they aspire to do. May they resolve to elevate the very atmosphere in which they move, whether it be in the school rooms or halls of higher learning, in their work, their recreation, their Bahแ’ํ activity or social service.”

-The Universal House of Justice

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dismiss

I feel a certain reticence in my speech right now. Last night Lindsey asked if I wanted gum…and I didn’t, because I didn’t have the energy to move my jaw. hmm.

The beautiful sun and warmth of yesterday was replaced with freezing rain today. I think we should protest. Or go on strike. Who’s with me?

(something I wrote last week)

It is easy to dismiss the impact of your words
when they are written, not spoken,
and the consequences are removed from your immediate sight.
You don’t want to acknowledge that you’re wrong.
And I don’t find it important enough to contradict or object.

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Snazzy music

I feel snazzy today. All dressed up in my black suit, I feel like a high-powered executive.

Seriously though, there is something about wearing a suit that makes me more…responsible and motivated. Not as comfortable as jeans and a hoodie, but a lot nicer looking.

Current musical obsessions: the Garden State soundtrack and the Wicker Park soundtrack. Thanks to Shan for introducing me to Garden State (both the movie & music) and Lindsey for Wicker Park. I was needing a transfusion after listening to the radio too much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Something confusing about my street: they insist on cleaning the streets twice a month or more in the summer, but in the winter they do not bother to plow. Parking is interesting, to say the least.

Some days, you feel like writing something substantial, deep, and thought-provoking. And some days…the sun is shining and all you want to do is smile.

Time for class!

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Squishy

As I walked to my first day of the new semester,
the word that came to mind was “squishy”.
The weather was really quite nice,
and there was a steady dripping sound
as I walked down the street…
with the occasional “sloosh” as snow
fell off of awnings and roofs.
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I am feeling optimistic this semester! 16 hours, 5 classes. I’ve got so many plans and plots brewing in my brain.

Last night I went through boxes in my parent’s basement. Forgotten, dusty, cobwebby boxes. I filled two trash bags with junk, and repacked 4 boxes full of novels, yearbooks (K-12!), high school graduation things, posters, Louhelen pictures and memories, and my first teddy bear (she is a little worse for wear, but still soft and cuddly). I packed everything into the minivan and brought it to the city. I like having everything with me, easily accessible. It was really wonderful, looking through old things and smiling at notes.

New people: Richard & Nate. They rock. If you don’t know them, you should. That is all.

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Teeth in a box

I actually haven’t taken a close look at them, because I have a rather queasy stomach right now and I don’t think that the doctor cleaned them very well. 4 wisdom teeth are sitting in a clear plastic box somewhere in the bottom of my purse.

I’m doing just fine, by the way. In fact, there was no swelling, drooling, or vicodin-enhanced mood swings. The strongest medicine I’m taking for pain is Advil. I started eating rice last night, and have decided that pureed food is not what it is cracked up to be. Seriously. The biggest annoyance right now? The nasty sinus infection that decided to attack me the day of my surgery…after I woke up, my throat hurt so much I could barely swallow. Combined with the fact that I’m definitely allergic to cold medication…well, it has been interesting. My mom and dad and little sister rock for taking care of me while I’ve been a bum. Thank you!!!

I’ve decided that the next time I tell my friends that they can take pictures with my camera at a party…I’m going to watch them more carefully. I have crazy friends. Nothing inappropriate, mind you…just…silly.

I woke up at 11:56 pm last night, just in time to hear people in the neighborhood set off firecrackers and yell. I then curled up in bed with a good fantasy book and eventually fell asleep. I’m a party monster, yes I am. Happy Gregorian New Year, y’all.

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Chocolate

I home at my parent’s house. I missed Feast in Chicago today for the first time in…a very very long time. I’m sad, because I also know that I’m going to miss the next Feast because I’ll be getting my wisdom teeth out. Such is life!

I just raked half the leaves, came in to take a break. I’ll be going back out after I drink my (Persian) tea and eat some chocolate (real chocolate, the kind that comes in a pretty box and tastes good). I do not care for Hershey’s or Snickers.

I got to spend time with my mom last night, and of course we had a lot of fun. I need to do this more often. (hi mom!)

Chicago folks, I suggest a visit to one of the many museums in this fine city on a Tuesday, perhaps this coming one? It shall be free. Discuss. Email me. Or call.

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Learning

Right now I’m learning how to be not selfish.

I’m learning how to cut down on complaining.

I’m learning how to study (wow, fascinating. In my senior year of university!) Well, actually I’m learning about how my brain chooses to acquire knowledge. It tends to adopt a method of “the best shortcut” of doing things, which can be helpful most of the time. When I walk down the street, I start calculating the quickest way to get somewhere…even if this means cutting through buildings. It means I summarize things in my head. My brain latches on to what I find interesting…even if that isn’t what will be on the test.

I’m learning how awesome rocky road ice cream is at 2 am.

I love 93 XRT (radio station). Some artists played recently: Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Modest Mouse, Ben Harper, Counting Crows, R.E.M., Coldplay, Flaming Lips, Doors, Depeche Mode….the list goes on.

I’m learning to appreciate just how much laughing with you lifts my spirits. How much the joy in you affects me.

Hey world, are you out there?

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Writing & Finals (not related!)

I know that I am a good writer.

What frustrates me is that I don’t always have the time or the inclination to show it.

I find it fascinating to proofread other people’s work.

People messing up there, their, and they’re will inevitably make me growl under my breath, roll my eyes, and cringe.

I use big words because I don’t know the smaller word that means the same thing. I’m not being pretentious. I just learned to read at a very young age. And many of my “books of instruction” were the Baha’i Writings.

I know that I am bad at writing fiction. I love reading it, but am often picky about the quality.

Books I’ve finished recently: Cryptonomicon, The Alchemist, The Valkyries. Baha’i Book: The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. I have a list about a mile long of Baha’i books that I want to read. Perhaps over break? I’m slowly working on the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

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Forgive me if I’ve forgotten your birthday. If I haven’t called or emailed you back. If I seem distracted when I say hello or shake your hand. If I wander off in the middle of a conversation or forget what we were talking about. If I vent my frustration and forget to ask how you are doing.

I’m working on it. Give me a few more weeks until finals are over.

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Things of note

1) Omid (Allen Eghrari) has a blog. We grew up together, so it is fun to have this window into his life at med school. yay!

2) Group projects should be outlawed. I have 5 of them this semester. Yes, one in EVERY class except Logic. And some of my groups are extremely lazy…which affects my grade.

3) Parties are awesome. Thanks to everyone who came out tonight!

4) I have a list of books to read that is so long it hurts to think about it. This is outside of my school reading, mind you. The first on the list is The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. (Read it online here) I started it a few days ago.

4) I vote in a Baha’i election tomorrow for the first time. How cool is that? Such a responsibility, I’m excited!!

Speaking of tomorrow, I need sleep so that I can function like a normal human being.

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The End of An Era

LAST DAY OF BEING 20. I have no opinions, thoughts, or feelings on this. Except that my friends are unnaturally excited that they can now take me out dancing. haha.

Enjoy the weekend, y’all. I’m off to Persian Conference.

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Hold on

Hold onto the people you love.

Make sure they know that you love them. Be loud and vocal about it.

Give hugs frequently and without reserve.

Smile and laugh whenever you are given the opportunity.

Walk down the street with full confidence that you know where you are going, even if you feel very lost.

And most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of a good, hot cup of tea and some homemade food in an emergency situation. I cook to heal, and it really does work…at least for me!
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I wanted to say to the girls in my house that I love you all very much. You’re beautiful people and I’m lucky to be in the same residence as you. Also to the guys down the street who take us all in stride and let us use their internet unreservedly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Breakfast

I like coming downstairs in the morning and there is music coming out of Raina’s room, and there is a pot of water on to boil, and a couple of wonderful ladies sipping tea at the dining room table. It really feels like home now…I’ve lived alone too long in the dorms. Someone is always home with 5 women in the house, plus added friends, family, and random drop-ins.

This morning Jessica was reading out loud from some birthday book about our various personalities…the September 4th one (my bday) was right on. It was really funny…I usually don’t think those things have any merit but when all the girls are saying “oh yeah, that’s Sholeh EXACTLY!”…well, it does tell you something. I don’t what that something is, however.

Our house transmits sound quite well. Since it is about 100 years old, we have creaky wooden floors, squeaky doors, and random creepy noises. People talking in the kitchen can be heard in the opposite parts of the house. I think we’re learning to adjust our noise levels.

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Topics of Conversation

In every question of social interaction, the answer depends on the circumstances surrounding that question. When someone asks what to do about something, one must know more details in order to give an opinion.

Perhaps that is my problem with philosophy. I’ve taken philosophy classes (for fun), and I always got in huge discussions with my professors and TAs about whatever it was we were talking about. I guess things were so abstract that it seemed quite pointless to me sometimes.

Also, it always seemed that belief in God was seen as a weakness. Always found that quite funny. It’s like there is a campaign out there…”Being an Atheist is COOL. Join Now!” Come on now…it doesn’t matter! hehe. In any case, I enjoy reflecting on those experiences, and it has taught me to not get so frustrated at sheer stupidity. Well…sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m going to go clean now. And eat.

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leaving home…

Finish this sentence:

“I never leave home without __________.”

Also, my 21st birthday is in 21 days. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you REALLY must buy me something, see the Amazon wishlist on the right. haha.

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Delicate

so why d’ya fill my sorrow
with the words you’ve borrowed
from the only place you’ve known
why d’ya sing hallelujah
if it means nothin’ to ya
why d’ya sing with me at all?

-Damien Rice

I stood outside today on the lawn of my parent’s home. I hadn’t stopped moving all day…driving, eating, packing boxes. I hadn’t just…taken a breath and closed my eyes to think. When I opened my eyes and looked up, there were those cliched perfect white clouds with the perfect blue sea of a sky. The weather was such that I felt comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt (I don’t dress up all the time, you know…). For a blessed moment, there were no lawnmowers, chainsaws, cars, children shrieking, sirens, or dogs barking. The wind picked up just the slightest bit and brushed skin of my arms…

Even with all of the thoughts and stress and worry…things really will be ok. The eternal optimist in me lives strong. There are a lot of people I really miss right now and a lot of things I want to accomplish in less time than I would like. Sometimes I think I’m so impatient to DO things that I forget how much I really am LIVING.

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DaVinci wasn’t as good an artist as ME

No point to the title. It just came to me. The only reason it is there is because I finished reading The DaVinci Code a couple of days ago. It was an interesting, fun work of fiction, but I can honestly say I did not take that much out of it. Good to know what people are making such a fuss over, though!

I’ve edited my “People to Read” sidebar over to the right, and there are some new people! Andrew, the famously fantastic fun person that is really cool to know; and Dan Payne, the physicist spiritualist South Dakota-loving saint. Ok I made all that up but it was FUN! And they’re really cool people.

My dad is making his famous spaghetti (from scratch!) tonight, and even though I ate dinner 2 hours ago, my stomach is getting rumbly. I’m bringing the recipe for it with me in my head to the house.

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4 more days

My internship draws to a close. I don’t have any real insights about it, except that I have very little interest in retail. hah! Who would’ve thunk it?
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There are usually reasons for the things I do, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. There are certain ways I approach things, and if that isn’t the way someone else would handle it…well, I’m myself, not someone else, so it makes sense to do it my way, eh? I’m only 20 years old (almost 21), so I can’t claim that I have a large amount of experience in the world. I’m blunt, forgiving, trusting, silly, smart, and very tough when I need to be. I dislike confrontation but will take care of myself and those I love.

Most of all, I decided quite a while ago that letting people walk all over me was unacceptable. I do not put myself in situations where people feel they can take advantage of the fact that I’m a nice person. If someone makes me uncomfortable, I just can’t spend much time with them. That is simply what it comes down to.

I’m not very…personal on this blog. There are reasons for that, too. But the above is very public information about who I am, because I’m up front about that. Every aspect of “Sholeh” is non-negotiable, it is simply…who I am. And I really like that.

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Thought

Sometimes I have too much time to think at work.

Especially when resetting the men’s jeans wall, which is mind-numbingly boring and 24 feet long.

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Mind dump

Working in Logistics, I have discovered that I am not cut out for a 3 am job. That is all. I work with Security this week. Woot. It is a lot cooler than it sounds…I hope.

Book update:
I finished the two fantasy books I had talked about and read two more (total 4). I am still working on Anna Karenina, got bored with it for a while there. I returned The Rise of the Creative Class to the library. I just couldn’t get into it! ๐Ÿ™

Recent movies (in no order):
Spiderman 2
Mean Girls
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
A Life Less Ordinary
Two Week’s Notice
Much Ado About Nothing
The 13th Warrior
Ella Enchanted
Dodgeball
Shrek 2
The Chronicles of Riddick
and a couple more I don’t remember.

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KFC, Yoplait, etc

I’ve been eating a lot of chicken and yogurt recently. I wonder why.

In any case, the job is going well, I’m learning a lot although today was rough. 10 hours on my feet = pain. I’ll get used to it.

The link for the New Food of Life is here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Speaking of food and cooking, leave a comment with essential ingredients for any kitchen. I’d like to see what people think are essential. It can be a cooking implement such as a spatula or food processor, a spice, or something else. Talk amongst yourselves.

Chicago DOES have beaches. See?

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