Friday, December 31, 2010

Sting and Police - Like a Beautiful Smile

I love this song.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

Like a beautiful smile

That fills I know why
Such a beauty won't die
It's eternity's mile
That we walk all this while

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to thime thou grow'st;

Like a beautiful smile

That fills I know why
Such a beauty won't die
It's eternity's mile
That we walk all this while

Like a beautiful dream

That is just what it seems
We're just floating upstream
On eternity's beam
So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to thime thou grow'st;

So long as men can breath, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day Number Eleven

A picture of something you hate.

Sigh. The story of my life. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day Number Ten

A picture of the person you do the most crazy things with.

Oh definitely...

Valerie. :)


There are things we can't change. Like the way the wind blows, or the way the sun rises in the east and shines through your bedroom window in the mornings, or snowflakes in December. Or the color red. Or the people you meet throughout your life, some will stay for a moment and then gone the next; some remain. Or the way your breath catches in your throat when you get a chill or that mini heart-attack when you feel frightened. Or, best of all, how you can't seem to prevent your stomach from aching when laughing hard.

See, we can't change change itself. Change is good even though sometimes it doesn't seem like it. Change is life, and life is always changing. You could be changing, I am changing. We are changing. Things don't change without a reason. Everything is changing, and it is time that we all start to realize it.

I'm ready... to bid this year a good farewell. I met many new people, made new friends, and had my share of interesting learning experiences. This year has been a great one... and the next, 2011... is going to be even better!

I leave you with those three words:

Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day Number Nine

A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

Without doubt, my brother.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day Number Eight

A picture that makes you laugh.

Officially the funniest book I've ever read... ever.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day Number Seven

A picture of your most treasured item. Amongst many things, it's a tie between these two.

My maternal grandmother's ring. The one I'd never take off, tan lines and all. Been wearing it since I was thirteen.
And, my current journal.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day Number Six

A picture of a person you'd love to trade places for a day.

Natalie Portman

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day Number Five

A picture of your favorite memory

Papa always made sure that the Christmases of my childhood were magical... and he sure did :)

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Number Four

A picture of your favorite night. It is a tie between these two.

Bon Jovi concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The last night in Tiberias, Israel.

Ironically enough, one of Tulsa's sister cities happen to be Tiberias, of all places.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day Number Three

A picture of your favorite T.V. show.

It is a complete tie between Dr. House's sarcasm and...

Sam Winchester's smile and/or the way Dean drives that '67 Impala.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day Number Two

A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest.

Fally and I. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Doing the 30 day photo challenge.

I detest conformity with every fiber of my being so I have no idea why I'm doing this, but I am.

I will not be able to blog faithfully for 30 days in a row … heck, I don't know if I'd even complete 30 days. Nevertheless, this is a challenge and I love challenges. Yeah, might as well have fun while I'm at it.

Here I go.

Day Number One: 10 random things about you and the most recent photos\ of yourself.
  1. I love fashion. I love clothes. I love shoes. I love the romantic look: lace, flower-prints, skirts, and dresses to name a few.
  2. If developing crushes on fictional characters were a religion, I'd be the most religious person I know.
  3. I love it when people hug me with both arms.
  4. Whenever I'm pissed, angry, hurt, sad, or wanting to deal with whatever I'm feeling at the moment, I'd drink ice-cold water in a single gulp and watch a really funny movie. Or I'd start cleaning up, and I'd do it so well you'd find everything ridiculously spotless.
  5. Sometimes I have all the confidence in the world; sometimes I am really shy.
  6. I used to think I was cursed because I had curly hair. I once burned a gunk of my hair while trying to make it straight. It’s hard to believe I felt that way considering how much I now embrace my every single curl.
  7. I'm a foodie.
  8. Without realizing, I overcame my fears of darkness, knives, and boiling water.
  9. I laugh easily… sometimes at the most inappropriate times. :-/
  10. I love conversations that last until the wee hours. I love the 20-questions game even more.
Oh, right. The pictures. In order, I suppose.

you know my name, but not my story.
[this recent weekend]

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nathie Marbury with Jessica Baldi, age 5.

Yep, me at five years old. I'm telling the "The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and getting my game face on, being serious about winning Go-Fish.



I apologize if you hear someone laughing in the background. That was just the 26-year-old me. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd.

I can't explain how crazy in love I am with this bookshelf. This is just like a kick for the bibliophile in me.

This made me smile... LOTS!

Apparently today is National Cupcakes Day... among other things, I'd make this on Valentine's Day so whoever is in my vicinity may consider themselves lucky... :)
Some things don't change

l'espirit de l'escalier.

My Italian great-great grandparents are probably rolling in their graves.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I realized something...

I love it when people ask me questions.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I don't know why...

I have no idea who wrote it. I found this by accident and I can't seem to get this out of my head.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Put on your yarmulka, here comes Chanukah

No potato latkes (a.k.a. those ridiculously greasy potato pancakes I could never get enough of) or chopped chicken liver (which I think is God's gift to Jews) for me tonight. On this very first night of Chanukah, I'm working on paper after paper. Since I can't really do a leisure blog, thought I'd post something I wrote for class a couple of years ago.

This is pretty... long. Yeah, like Hanukkah. :)


When I was seventeen years old, I wrote in my diary making a self-confirming statement: “I am a Jewish girl. I will always be one.” My mother would roll her eyes at me saying, “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish.” One of her favorite stories of my early-Jewhood would be when I was five years old, coming across a humongous Star of David necklace that only big and tall males would use, the one that probably would chain my five-year-old self on the floor if I put it on but I turned to my mother going, “I want it.” That was the beginning of that “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish” fixation. My father, on the other hand, would laugh at me and say, “So firm and determined. That must be the Italian in you.” Being Jewish and Italian, I grew up being reminded that I am of dual cultures and religious beliefs. Since so, I’ve been cultivated with being at ease that my mother is Jewish and my father is Italian, hence my last name, Baldi.

What I’d question would be whether Judaism is a faceless race? You can’t identify Jewish people by just looking at them. I, for one, don’t look Jewish yet, I’ve experienced feeling I was set apart from others and had the privilege to be ashamed of the religious conviction that I was born to. After reading “The J.A.P. Chronicles” by Isabel Rose, I realize I could relate just a little bit to what is to be considered of a Jewish American Princess; especially when it was mentioned that ‘you can take the Jew out of the temple, but you can’t take the Jew out of a girl.’ I am this complete reform American Jewish girl who has been to a temple only twice in her lifetime: one for a childhood friend’s Bar Mitzvah and the second time was when I was prearranged a Hebrew name.

My Hebrew name is Rivka Shifra bas Shoshanna. If you are to Americanize the name: it will be Rebekah Sylvia of Susan. In the Judaism way of life, it is believed that the bond between mother and daughter is truly essential, and my mother’s name is Susan. In other words, I am of my mother’s, her offspring, her daughter. I remember the day when I was given the name vividly.

I was fourteen years old, just the day after my freshman year prom; I changed out of my prom dress to a long-sleeved black dress, tights, and flats. A deaf rabbi from Baltimore named Fred Friedman invited my family and I to his temple. As soon as I walked into that orthodox temple with my mother, brother, and stepfather led by Rabbi Friedman, I knew I was in for quite an educational experience. I also felt at home. I was nowhere near to being orthodox; still, these were my people. Women were separated from men by a wall that had blinded windows, and on our side, there were rows of bleachers for us to sit and peek through the blinds at men who was on the other side of the wall. Ranging from elders to little boys, the men walked around while praying; there were no bleachers on their side. They talked to each other, discussed prayers, blessings, and wisdom. Men shared their Torah, traded verses, and women didn’t need to pray. Jews believe women are already innately ‘blessed by God’ while the opposite gender must inquire for blessings by praying. So, along with other women, my mother and I watched in silence. We watched my stepfather, my brother, Rabbi Friedman, and the rest of the males at the temple pray together to officially sanctify me with a Hebrew name.

When we left at the end, they all waved their hands bidding me a farewell with saying, "Shalom, Rivka." It was a wonderful moment.

It wasn’t always wonderful. I, admittedly, was embarrassed to be Jewish when growing up. It wasn’t something common between me and my young peers. I’d boast that I celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah so that I’d be able to find a relation between me and others who aren’t Jewish. There were no other children I knew who were Jewish, and being a normal young girl wanting to feel belonged, I’d boast saying, “With Mommy, I get to light candles and receive gifts for eight nights in a row. Santa comes to Daddy’s with all those wonderful gifts.”

I was ridiculed and questioned because I was Jewish. I remember being bothered. I have faint memories of my divorced parents arguing over religious issues, I remember asking both of them about what they believed in, and they were always very honest. My preschool teacher once told my mother that I said Santa didn’t like Hanukkah. 

But there is one day I remember clearly. It was years after my confusion in preschool: it was on a Friday when I was in the seventh grade and the middle school staff at the Maryland School for the Deaf had a meeting so the students gathered at the auditorium playing a game with the principal’s supervision. The game we played was Let’s-Get-Know-Each other: the principal would point out a trait, an interest, background, physical appearance, et cetera and the students will stand up. In other words, we were taking a notice of each other’s similarities and differences. So, when the principal innocently said, “Who is Jewish?” I all of sudden felt my face flushing with humiliation when I saw that only two of us stood up. I found myself feeling an interferer once again, the feeling I have not felt for a long time. I did not stand up boldly and proudly.

However, that completely changed only the following year when I discovered Anne Frank in an eighth grade English classroom. I was thirteen years old. After that, I knew that if I was asked to stand up again, I’d have stood up boldly and proudly. I probably would have bolted up with pride, making a statement. From that point and on, I decided to self-educate myself about the Holocaust and what does it mean being Jewish? What does it mean to me?

By the time I was sixteen years old, my understanding and confidence had developed. Needless to say, my confidence was put to a test one day at the cafeteria during my junior year of high school. I was sitting on a table next to a group of boys who were my friends but one of them approached me, ensuring the fact that the others were watching, as well… and he purposely told me a joke about the Holocaust. A hurtful joke. My face didn’t lie, I was stricken with the cruelness and I could hear my younger self making a mental nudge, “Told you so. You’d never be normal because you’re Jewish.” Although the Aryan boy had apologized later on, it still stung. To this day, it still does. My senior year, I witnessed the irony of an African-American student, who have been teased himself because of the color of his skin, being expelled from the school for making a harsh ethnic joke to a much younger Jewish boy about his faith.

I wasn’t exclusively comfortable with announcing that I was Jewish such as wearing jewelries or attires until college. Nowadays, it’s the contrary; I’ve discovered a love of assembling Star of David charms, I have quite a collection of t-shirts standing boldly and proudly that I’m a Jew, and I hope to study Hebrew. It is rather compelling about how the older I get, the more I am curious about Judaism. When I was growing up, I’d celebrate holidays such as Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur but I’d take them for granted: the food, the gifts, the family-gatherings, the stories… they were such festivities to me. I’d feel culturally belonged. Yet, I’m beginning to feel how I can be so “Oh my goodness. You’re so Jewish” when I admit I am practically almost inattentive towards the true ambitions of being Jewish. Personally, it is simply logical to me if I understood the purpose of each holiday with depth so, when I practice them, I’d be Jewish, rather than ‘oh, it’s just because I’m culturally Jewish’.

Although it is true, I am only culturally Jewish, I still respect the belief so much… because can anyone really hold a faith they don’t wholeheartedly agree with? Anyone could value it, cherish it, and know that it is part of you… but, in my opinion, a belief is different when you give your full faith into it. I am not going to turn Judaism into a lifestyle but it is true that I feel mostly comfortable with being Jewish, it is the article of religion that I was born to, and I don’t plan on practicing otherwise. Judaism, to me, is a choice of belief that I was given to from my ancestors. I’d consider that a blessing. Since so, I’m sticking to my bona fide. Besides, I do feel this conviction to gain insight about ‘my people’.

If you're in the contracting business in this country, you're suspect. If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey, you're indictable. If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey and are Italian, you're convicted. Raymond Donovan said it best. My paternal kin is Italian and hails from South Jersey with pride. Even though almost none of my family members live in New Jersey anymore but we definitely left a mark. Here is to that side of family that I belong to, they are loud, never so rich, and college seems far fetched. Oh, being Italian never was a problem.

In fact, I’d savor every drop. My family ‘are, were, is’ in the mafia so I’d prance around, going “I am what you’d call a Mafia Princess!” although there is nothing to be proud about. My grandfather, who my cousins and I call Pop Pop, would keep us updated about our Uncle Johnny who had to flee to Scotland due to a mafia trouble; there, he befell a kind of disease. Pop Pop told us that when he asked Uncle John about how he's holding up, he hinted him he's eating a lot of pasta. That was his way of telling us he's doing absolutely divine! But that would be all I know. The women coming from a mafia family must never know what their fathers, husbands, sons, or uncles do... the men fiercely protect their girls. They aren't all about money and murder. They are usually Mama's boys who's truly generous; I would know how much they love mint chocolate chip ice-cream after a really good dish of pasta. Not only that, but I would know how their sense of humor comes naturally and how charismatic they'd manage to be. That does sound like my Baldi clan. At the reunion in New Jersey years ago and at my father’s funeral, we gave each other gigantesque hugs, planting jumbo kisses on one and other and not one drop of ice-cream was left!

I was greatly duped that Santa was real. I sang Christmas songs, attended church considerably often, and I have wonderful Christmas Eve memories. I have a nontraditional attachment with Christmas, for it only has a sentimental value to me. The holiday is simply a reason for me to spend time with my father. Christmas isn’t part of my culture, but it is a part of my father’s and he’d truly make the Christmases of my childhood magical.

My family is far from being prejudicial nor are we racists; we accept people of all kinds. My grandmother, a deaf Jewish woman accepted my father, who was a hard-of-hearing Protestant. My grandfather, a regular Catholic white man, didn’t give it a second thought when my father told him he is marrying a deaf Jewish girl. I was taught to be culturally sensitive, probably because both of my parents came from contradictory backgrounds and our house is a mixture of Deaf, hearing, and hard-of-hearing people. My brother’s best friend came from Africa and we consider him a part of us; my cousin found himself being interested in the same sex and he wasn’t loved any less. So, paradoxically, my earliest memory of color has no akin to my religion, or race, or culture, or disability but the color of my eyes.

It was during one summer when I was seven, and I was living on Featherwood Street. Summers were always the best on Featherwood Street. Since the houses in the neighborhood were formed in a circle, we the children would play outside on the cul-de-sac street until the sun was out of our sight, and sometimes we’d remain outside playing under the streetlights, catching fireflies. I’ve been living on the same street along with the same children for a long while and we all knew each other fairly well. It didn’t matter that our means of communication were unlike, or that I was a girl not a boy – we were blind to our differences, I could have an extra arm and nobody would have noticed. We were children, sunburned and oblivious to scraped knees, after all.

But, one day, our blond-haired-blue-eyed neighbor was having a birthday party for their also blond-haired-blue-eyed twins, a boy and a girl. The party being next door, I walked over by myself like I would during any day on any summer on Featherwood Street and sat on one of the beach chairs. It wasn’t five minutes before the boy, younger than me, came to me and stared into my eyes. He pointed to them and yelled, “No! You can’t be here!” It was beyond my understanding but on a reflex, I stood up and ran back to my house, deeply wounded. I vowed I’d never tell anyone what happened, although I couldn’t gather about what happened. I couldn’t even question it. When my mother asked me why was I back home so quickly, I came up with a fib. Just because I had brown eyes, I couldn’t at least be at a birthday party.

I encountered the same occurrence shortly after I moved out from Featherwood Street. My fifth grade class did an experiment, and this time, I understood. When studying slavery and segregation, my fifth grade teacher decided to surprise us unexpectedly one day that the brown-eyed students will not be able to drink water from the fountain nor be able to go to the bathroom, I was appalled to see BLUE-EYES ONLY taped on the bathroom door. I remember protesting saying, “but wasn’t I able to go there whenever I wanted just yesterday?” We had to sit separately from blue-eyed students in class and during lunch. We couldn’t play outside during recess, and had to stand in the back of the line. It was no fun, and I was near tears at the end of the day, bursting out, “but it is not my fault that I was born with brown eyes!” I was literally thirsty and confused; I felt furious and unjustified, my freedom being snatched away.

In other words, I felt like a real human being. A point was being made. Next day, the blue-eyed students endured the segregation, and I was mortified to discover that I actually felt ‘powerful’ and grateful I wasn’t blue-eyed. Even though it was only for two days out of our already-ten years of existence and we knew it was just a diversion, and that life would return back to normal. Still, the learning experience brought an entire new stance for us, especially as fifth graders.

Self-awareness usually occur when you step out of your house, into schools, workplaces, or simply to go next door. Inside your own house, you are morphed into with what you are most comfortable with, and naturally, it is because it is the only thing you know. It is your home, where you can flop comfortably anywhere. A single person can be of many rooms, cultures with or without a face or a name. History of discrimination and accomplishment has revealed the best and the worse in every society there is; some we are proud about, some we aren’t. That is one thing we all have in common as human beings: we are diverse.