Browsing Category: House


“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted, fluttering back to Earth.” – The Awakening

And more, much more than this, I did it my way

If you want to know the state of a nation’s economy, walk into your public library on a weekday afternoon. If it is anything like Canton, MI you will find it full of middle-aged people on the computers, browsing the aisles or just passing the time flipping magazines. The parking lot is full and in some strange way, it feels like you are at a carnival.

Michigan has the highest unemployment in the nation but still I see people smiling, opening doors and generally seeming ok. Despite the dismal reports, I am optimistic that the economy is improving. Reasons that my small world has led me to this conclusion: 

-My law firm has started sending us presents again. This gives me hope. And a sugar rush.
– I have seen people shopping in the non-sale sections at shopping malls. In grocery stores, the carts are looking more full and I notice non-essentials such as vegetables packed along with the essentials like Twinkies. 
-Restaurants are packed. If people are eating out, that means they can still afford to and that the teenagers of America still have jobs and teenagers spend all their money!

You might be one to look at Goldman Sachs recent rebound and get excited but such market trends are highly suspect. Instead, just take a look at your neighbors and the average person. Once they are convinced that this country is on the upswing, this country will be on the upswing. 

But moving on to more exciting topics. All this recent time spent at the public library takes me down memory lane…
I love to read. I have always loved to read. My best memories from my childhood are sitting in a big stuffed pink bunny rabbit with a pile of ten books next to me and reading until my parents dragged me away. I used to even read my book while riding on my bike around the neighborhood. I was hooked. There were the Goosebump books, the Sweet Valley Twins, Boxcar Children and the Babysitters Club. There was Ramona Quimby and a slew of other imaginary characters. Anais Nin said “I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.” I completely agree but when we are young, I think sometimes we read to escape to a world in which we can live.

Do you remember the summer reading programs at the library when you were a kid? I used to get so excited about them. I lived for the freebies they gave. And they gave them for reading!!! What a fantasy world we lived in. I coveted my bouncy ball or ice cream gift certificate. If you read the maximum amount of books you might be so lucky as to get a free book! I never had my own books as a kid and when I got one it was like a secret treasure. 

Welcome to 2009. Now days the library is giving out prizes like WII systems, iPod touches and a host of other techie toys that will assure kids are in front of the tv or lost in a set of head phones. It seems a bit counter intuitive but that didn’t stop me from inquiring about the age limit for the program. Teens, you say? How about 19-year-olds? (Hey! I could pass…)


My friend Jesse recently wrote me an email in which he mentioned, “I wonder sometimes if we’ll ever know how many poems have been written about us by people we didn’t even know were writing poems about us.” Eureka! I love this thought.

When I was in Turkey I would often see people caught up in trying to get just the right shot of the fishermen on the bridge or of the sunset going down over the Bosphorus. But while they were looking at that little screen they would miss out on so many things going around them. I want to be aware of the world around me. I want to be in touch with other people so I may never miss the person writing poems about me.

You may feel you’re done, but there’s no such thing

My mom called me at 4:20 today. Being in the library I let the call go to voicemail. Soon there was that little light on the phone that indicates there is a new voicemail. A certain nagging feeling made me check the message even though I usually leave voicemails unchecked for weeks at a time.
The message began with my mom saying, “Sumeera, I have some bad news.” Immediately, the panic struck, I thought of my dad, my sister and my brother. I thought about my numerous cousins, many of them young and prone to accidents. And as my mind tends to do, I ran through every worst case scenario in that millisecond. I could feel my heart in the bottom of my feet. 
But it wasn’t anything like that. Instead, my mom told me that our neighbors house burned to the ground. And there was another type of sinking feeling. We knew that house well. For years, when my family went on our evening walks or even just stepped outside, we used to see it. It was a magnificent house with a wrap around deck, huge half circle staircase that led up to beautiful double doors. It had a little walkway the led up to the water and a perfectly manicured backyard. It was definitely one of my favorite houses and I often looked at it with longong, hoping to one day live in a house just like that.
But this house always seemed cursed. Over the years it would go on sale again and again. As other neighbors stayed in place, this house perpetually had a for sale sign. As soon as someone had moved in, they were moving out. My parents described the inside as glorious as the outside. It was perfectly decorated. The architecture was something to talk about. But still, no one stayed there for long.
When I talked ot my mom, the first thing I thought to ask was, “Were they crying?” My mom responded, “How can you cry when there are hundreds of people standing around you?” I can’t imagine the grief you must feel to see almost all the things you have in this world gone in minutes like that. I can’t imagine how invasive and exposed you must feel under that big sky as there are firefighters, reporters, policemen and neighbors standing all around and all you can see is your life crumbled before you. But my mom told me that eventually the tears did come, even the father broke down.  
They had left something in the microwave as they ran out to CVS to pick up something. That one small choice. To have a snack. To have something heated up when they returned. Maybe they forgot that it was in the microwave. Maybe they just hit an extra zero when setting the time. Maybe they thought of something someone had said to them and they were distracted for a second. Maybe that choice will haunt them for the rest of their life.
It isn’t fair.
It is a small moment. It is an honest mistake. It is a giant, giant regret. But it doens’t matter. And that is all there is to it. Some days, that is all there is to it.
Please keep this family in your prayers and good thoughts. May God make this trial easy for them and make something beautiful be born from it. Ameen.

it’s darker than you know in those complicated shadows

When I was in Birmingham I borrowed Chocolat and Blackberry Wine from Feraz’s cousin. In both of these books the author stresses that there is everyday magic. That life is not random and that each little thing we witness is leading to something better. In both her books and in many others I’ve read, there is talk about the winds changing. Although I have never fully understood this concept, today I felt it. 
It was one of those days that the magic grabbed me and forced me to see it.
While I was at the library waiting for Feraz to come pick me up so I could go home and pray, he sent me a text that said, “I will bring you a scarf and a kite.” What great gifts these turned out to be!

I prayed under a tree, next to a pond and this simple act was so reviving. To fee the grass and dirt as you prostrate to God. It feels as though the world is giving you a hug.
The sky was full of pinks and purples and blues as the day descended and against this sky we flew the Besiktas kite that Feraz bought for three lira from a street vendor. There was something very inspiring about seeing our kite from Istanbul against the beautiful Michigan sky. There is something magical about running with a kite, letting it catch more and more air until you are sure that it must be dancing and you have to be careful to hold on to the string because you are so lost in it’s dance. (If this sounds too hippie-ish, go fly a kite and you will know exactly what I mean!) 

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better Feraz turned to be with a devilish look and said, “Let’s get pizza!” On the plane ride home we fantasized about the different foods we had missed and that we would eat when we got home. Pizza was high on that list! I couldn’t believe we had waited this long for it.
We sat in bed and ate mushroom pizza for the first time in so many months. My God. What a beautiful, beautiful thing. We both commented that there is no pizza in the world like Michigan pizza. We are simple folk. We love our Little Ceasars. And it loves us.
Then, we put on Knowing with Nicholas Cage. In Ann Arbor my friends and I used to rush to see the newest Nicholas Cage movie. When we heard he was making a new one, we would follow tabs online and countdown the days until it was coming out. There is something incredibly inspiring about the fact that Nicholas Cage makes movies. I mean, have you seen any of his movies? Have you seen how he acts in them? There must be a God if a man like Nicholas Cage has a job! 

I went to bed so thankful for how full and wonderful God has made life. No matter what good I do in this world, it will never be thanks enough.