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my neighbor

January 18, 2016

You must be thinking…two posts in one week Ameena? Something very important must have happened to justify this!

Well, not really. But I feel COMPELLED to relay details about the mother sitting next to me on my flight to LAX this past Friday.


On my flight to LA…love the snow covered mountains.

First off, she had the coveted aisle seat, which probably kicked our 5 hour and 14 minute relationship off on the wrong foot. (Although the seating arrangements were obviously my own fault!)

And she didn’t share well, hogging up the table between our seats with her numerous cups of tea, water, and wine, and buckets of cashews and cookies (often all at once).

But what really troubled me about this lady was that she got up 251 times during the flight to cater to her two whiny children who occupied the two seats across the aisle.


Watching the sunset from my parents house.

So if these kids were little I’d totally get it. I mean, nobody needs to relay the importance of quick airplane reflexes when your child barfs at the drop of a hat. But these kids were barf-free (not even a threat), and at 8 and 10 years old were definitely old enough to:

  • Tie their own shoes. (Seriously, she tied her son’s shoes.)
  • Adjust their own seat.
  • Find their own iPad / book / earphones.
  • Reach into their carry-on, in front of THEIR feet, to get their own salami. (Not really sure what to say about the salami. Really I just don’t.)

A half picture of the very pretty Rosario Dawson, who sat in front of me on my way back to NYC this morning.

I’m looking deep (very deep) inside to see if I’m really just jealous that this selfless mom had no problem getting up 251 times during the flight…or if I’m just allergic to lazy, spoiled children.

I know I’m unfairly judging right now but I’m tired and jet-lagged from my red-eye home this AM. Plus I just cleaned out the fridge, emptied my suitcase, made the beds, emptied the dishwasher, and cleaned Maya’s breakfast dishes.

Maybe my flight companion and I had more in common than I initially thought?

the food situation

January 13, 2016

Me: “As soon a Dad gets back to NYC I’m going to LA for a few days. Okay?”

Maya: “Okay. But what are Dad and I going to eat while you’re gone?”

My first thought:@#$%@#.


At a restaurant…because Maya was hungry.

My second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts:

  • Have we really made so little progress since the first time I left her with Ali 2 years ago?
  • I’m confused. The way she’s acting you’d think I cook like Ina Garten. Is she forgetting I opened a can of sodium-laden Trader Joe’s Chicken Noodle soup for her dinner tonight?

Maya about to eat….

  • Apparently she’s not going to miss me at all, just my skills with the Oxo can opener.
  • Ali’s been out of town since mid-December. Funny how she posed no questions about how she and I were going to manage when he left to be wherever in the universe he happens to be right now.

You guessed it…Maya eating!

I think it’s ironic that I – a person who thinks so little about food – lives with 2 people who are obsessed with their next meal.

I’ve decided that this time around I’m not going to worry about their food situation. After all, if they can’t manage on their own for a whopping 67 hours I just don’t know what to say.

**Note. That last paragraph is totally false. Of course I’m going to worry what they’re eating. I’m already worried and I haven’t left yet. Sigh.



brooklyn. the dog.

December 29, 2015

All Maya has been asking for, for the last 5 years at least, has been a dog. And so for Christmas, Maya’s uncle gifted her a dog.

Here in London.


At The Wolseley for Breakfast.


I’m a bit unsure of the plans for the dog (Maya named her Brooklyn) as we are leaving to go back home shortly. But I do know that:

  • Brooklyn is more work than a child.
  • It’s putting my OCD into overtime.
  • There is no space at our place in London for Brooklyn.
  • There is no space at our place in NYC for Brooklyn.
  • Brooklyn is not coming home with us.
  • We are NEVER getting a pet of any kind. And that includes a goldfish. (I can barely keep track of Maya’s potato.)
Brooklyln. The Dog.

Brooklyln. The Dog.


To soften the blow I took Maya to Hamley’s and let her build a Snoopy at Build-A-Bear.

I waited in line for 40 minutes so the dog could be custom stuffed, and then waited in line for 15 more minutes so I could pay for it.

I bought it a dog bed, a leash, and an outfit.


Dragged Maya out for a 1.5 hour walk through Hyde Park.

I even said Snoopy could come home with us, despite the fact he is too big for our carry-on luggage and thereby is in strict violation of Rule 98: We Are Each Allowed Only One Carry-On And Everything Must Fit.


Lunch at Ishtar.

I’m so envious of moms who have a knack for making the holiday season so warm and fuzzy, and who have the patience for pets and mess and chaos.

I am not that mom.

Maybe next year, instead of a pet, Maya should ask Santa to gift her mom a boatload of patience and a cure for OCD?




December 12, 2015

Ali and I (unsurprisingly) don’t see eye-to-eye on the subject of giving Maya an allowance.

In a surprising streak of independence, however, Ali decided to ignore my very strong feelings on the subject to give Maya $5 a week anyway.


At Fig and Olive. Where we waited SO LONG for our food that we got it on the house.

I was annoyed (unsurprisingly) because:

  • Maya does nothing to justify receiving an allowance. Seriously, when I was 10 I was washing the family cars and polishing the marble. At 7 am on a Saturday. Maya can’t even put her toothbrush away without written instructions.
  • I don’t understand why she needs an allowance when she pretty much gets whatever she wants from either Ali, me, or another family member, as we all try to buy her love.
  • I don’t like Ali’s streak of independence. I don’t like it at all.



If one more person tells me Maya needs braces….

Anyway, after about two days of NOT taking out the recycling, NOT emptying her lunch box, and NOT putting her dishes away, I found out Ali gave her a cost-of-living increase, taking her to $8 a week.

Me: I’m really mystified Maya, as to why you are now getting $8 a week for doing less than you did before you started getting an allowance?

Maya: Well Mama, you’re the one who lectured me about how girls make less than boys for doing the same job – just because they’re scared of negotiating. So I negotiated.



At Moti Mahal Deluxe…moments before I unknowingly ate something that contained milk. I’ve never known such sickness.

As you can imagine, my mind was a battlefield of thoughts:

  • I’m raising a smart-ass.
  • A lazy one.
  • But why shouldn’t she get paid to do nothing around the house, just as her father does nothing around the house?
  • At least my constant lectures aren’t going in one ear and out the other.

Actually, I’m secretly quite proud to be raising a fighter. Even if she’s a lazy one.




a potato

November 24, 2015

I’m currently on a flight to Los Angeles with Maya and her potato.

A potato you ask? Why on earth does Maya have a potato?

Well because a very smart doctor friend of mine suggested that holding a potato somehow helps those who have motion sickness.


This picture has NOTHING to do with this post, but Delta will only let me connect to one device at a time and I have no access to the pictures on my phone (despite the astronomical GoGo InFlight charge I just paid).

I have no idea how it works.

I don’t really care how it works.

(I am admittedly curious what TSA thought of a potato in our carry on, but I suppose they’ve seen stranger things.)


Ali was either rolling his eyes at me (seems likely) or at the terrible service we had at Gotham Lounge in the Peninsula Hotel NYC (where this picture was taken).

All I know is that since we left our NYC apartment 4 hours ago I’ve made sure that Maya has been holding this potato as though her life depends on it.

And the fact is that we are currently 2 hours and 8 minutes into this flight and Maya hasn’t complained that she’s feeling sick EVEN ONCE.

So a big thank you to my friend Sam whose suggestion has allowed me – for the first time since Maya was born – to actually think that there is hope for Maya’s motion sickness.

In the form of one of my favorite vegetables no less.


Only Maya knows how to take a picture apparently. Ali and I are kind of challenged when trying to look at the camera at the same time.

Rest assured that I’m still armed with various airsickness bags just in case this post jinxes everything. But until then?

It’s all about the potato.

shopping with maya

November 4, 2015

There are few things more painful than shopping for clothes with Maya. This is because:

  • She’s inherited her father’s indecisiveness.
  • She has zero concern for time constraints.
  • Her love for neon colors goes against everything I know.
  • Maya insists that everything is either too tight or too scratchy*, which makes trying on clothes exhausting.

Tea time at the Peninsula Chicago.I forgot my hair brush and blow dryer. Things were a bit scary. Hence the braid.

*Maya recently started cutting off any and all clothing labels and tags. Since her Hello Kitty scissors aren’t the sharpest, this has led to holes in just about everything she owns. Which has led to Ali lecturing me that Maya has no clothes and why can’t I replace her holey clothing?

–>There are FEW things more annoying than this lecture.


In our hotel room…the free bear made for a successful trip.

So on one hand, I admire the fact that Maya can wear her hot pink Nike’s with her orange Target dress without caring she’s offending my sensitive color palate.

I also think it’s great she doesn’t let her watch rule her world, like I do.


The aftermath at Nordstrom in Chicago. After trying on no less than 8 pairs she FINALLY bought the snow boots. FINALLY.

But last week, when we were in Chicago and Ali insisted we buy Maya new snow boots? A process that took almost an entire hour? I wanted to scream “For the love of God, will you just MAKE A DECISION?”

I’m still recovering from that painful shopping expedition. It’s been a week.

All that’s left to say is that I fear the teenage years.

the grocery list

October 14, 2015

As organized as I am, you’d think I’d have a plan in place for Maya’s school holidays. But really, they just throw me for a loop. EVERY TIME.

Luckily, however, Ali is in town, which meant he and Maya were able to celebrate Columbus Day together this past Monday.

It seemed Ali was a bit overwhelmed by the idea of spending 12 hours with Maya though, because prior to me leaving for work he asked if any errands needed to be done.

He’s never asked that. Ever.

In honor of Ali's birthday we all went shopping so he could purchase his billionth pair of khaki pants. Maya and I were forced to create our own entertainment.

In honor of Ali’s birthday we all went shopping so he could purchase his billionth pair of khaki pants. Maya and I were forced to create our own entertainment.

Instead of verbalizing the smart ass comment percolating in my head….

(“Of course there are errands to be done. There are always errands to be done. I mean for one thing, have you not noticed the refrigerator is echoing it’s so empty?”)….

I handed him a grocery list with instructions to buy organic EVERYTHING, and then left to battle the crowds at Grand Central.

We also went to Mastro's where Ali and Maya dominated a piece of cake the size of Texas.

We also went to Mastro’s where Ali and Maya dominated a piece of cake the size of Texas.

At work, however, my sarcasm dissipated and I began to feel quite unsettled.

Mainly because Ali + the Grocery Store + Maya yield Frankenfoods like Cookie Crisp and Doritos.

And also because giving up control of even mundane things like the grocery list stresses me out to no end.

As I trekked home I talked myself down from a panic attack.I told myself that even if Ali bought non-organic peas and Fuji apples instead of Gala, I was going to survive.

The following day Maya was still on such a sugar high that I made her walk about 9 miles.

The following day Maya was still on such a sugar high that I made her walk about 9 miles.

So guess what Ali bought?

Absolutely nothing. He and Maya went to Shake Shack, Cold Stone, played video games, and went rock climbing instead.


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