Sunday, January 21, 2018

Passage of the Years

Early February flowers in Morningside Park last winter

I received a poem in my email a little while ago, written by a Buddhist Monshu centuries ago.  

Yesterday is Spent
Summer and fall slip away; the months and years go by; yesterday is spent, and today draws to a close.
Little did I know that I would grow old before I knew it, with the unnoticed passage of the years.
On occasion during that time, I must have known the beauty of flowers and birds, of the breeze and the moon; I must also have met with the joy and sorrow of pleasure and pain.
But now there is not even a single instance that I remember in detail.
How sad it is to have grown gray with age, having done no more than pass my nights and days to no purpose!
When I deeply reflect on the apparent soundness of my own existence, not yet been called away by the relentless wind of impermanence, it seems like a dream, like an illusion.
As for now, there is nothing left but to aspire to the one way out of birth and death.
—Rennyo Shonin

I used to think that I didn't like poetry (or, at the very least, didn't understand it). But I have really enjoyed reading some of these Buddhist poems lately. The second line, about growing old and letting the years pass by, so beautifully speaks to my soul. I am still decades from having grown gray with age (though last night I counted at least 4 silver hairs), but I hope I am living my life with purpose, with awareness, and with love. 

Friday, December 29, 2017


It was our first Christmas together, just the two of us. We have had a hectic December, with me traveling, and Nate working 24/7, and then the both of us getting one of those special New York colds -- the kind that that lasts at least two weeks and makes you stay in bed for days. Plus, I've been trying to save my vacation time for the summer, so a low-key Christmas seemed like a welcome retreat. At home, quiet, with no days spent on planes or trains or in cars stuck in traffic.

We even got a beautiful tree! Our first tree-buying experience went something like this:
-We've got to take advantage of our super tall ceilings.
-Yes, let's get a 12 foot tree!
-OK, maybe 8 foot.
-With a metal stand. None of that plastic nonsense.
-Excuse me, how much is that tree?
-$135?! Do you have any uglier trees, that nobody wants?
-Yes, as in, cheaper...
-Oh, this one in the back? That's missing a couple bottom branches, but if you turn it the other way, nobody can tell?
-Perfect, we'll take it!

(A little kid, seeing Nate carrying our new addition to the family on his shoulder, yelled "Mom, that's our tree! We got a Christmas tree!" It was super cute.)

Our decorations may be lacking, but the spirit is there. Plus lights! My grandma told me I can come get her box of ornaments next year (since for some reason, she didn't get even a tiny tree this year. Neither did my mom. I really hope that the no-tree-when-you're-older gene doesn't run in the family.).

All the previous years, save maybe one or two, Nate and I have spent Christmas apart with our families. But this year, we were alone but together. And that's really how it felt -- together, but alone. We did all of the wonderful New York Christmas activities. We went to the beautiful tavern in Central Park and drank hot apple cider, while sitting next to a gorgeous marble fireplace, listening to Nat King Cole. We saw the beautiful, though misshapen, 50 foot tree in Rockefeller Center, with the Disney-like light show of dancing sparkles of red, and blue, and purple, and silver. We even saw the Macy's window displays of cute little mice riding bicycles and holding tiny shopping bags, the waving Santa, the Holiday Lane, and the white, sparkling decorations draped from the ceilings. I think no other city does holiday cheer with such grandeur like New York. It's really magical.

But, all the while, I really missed my family. I wish they were there, with me, sitting around the couch and drinking hot cocoa, playing cards, and chatting away into the night. Life is funny that way. You still miss your mom, even when you're almost 30.

Next year.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Handyman in the House

Our garbage disposal has been broken for a couple of weeks. We haven't called the landlord yet, since it's really not a big issue, but it's starting to smell a bit because you can't fish out all of the food pieces out of the drain (and I'm getting tired of sticking my hand down there. gross). 

Instead of asking Nate to figure out how to fix it, though, I decided to fight the patriarchy and take the matters into my own hands. Irina, the handywoman. (Ironically, as I type this, "handywoman" autocorrects to "handyman." Fight the patriarchy, autocorrect!) 

Anyway, I was ready for this big project. I got out the toolbox. I pulled up a Youtube video on how to fix garbage disposals. It was on. Turns out, all you have to do is push the reset button at the bottom of the disposal. But hey, the disposal now disposes again, and I have me to thank for that!