“Rebranding the Immigrant” Club

When did the word immigrant become synonymous with one kind of immigrant? When did the word immigrant immediately imply radical Islamic terrorist? (Kind of like instead of tissue we say, “Kleenex.”) Why, when America has long been defined as a melting pot, is it now trying to rebrand: “Make American great again“. Let’s bring it back to the days of Leave it to Beaver, and … Continue reading “Rebranding the Immigrant” Club

“I’m a Jew Who Loves Christmas Songs” Club

I didn’t grow up in a religious home; I knew I was Jewish and knew it was important that I know that. Together with my parents, I came to America as a refugee from the former Soviet Union in 1979. The anti-semitism drove my parents out; they wanted to live in a country where their religion didn’t prevent them from going to college or getting … Continue reading “I’m a Jew Who Loves Christmas Songs” Club

“I’m in a Renovation Style Slump” Club

Over the last two months, I’ve declined from having no fashion sense to an all-time low: renovation style. This means I’ve rotated between three different pairs of paint-stained leggings with coordinating paint-smeared camisoles and one of two gray sweatshirts, which look almost identical. There have been about five various social functions of different degrees of formalness, from large family dinners to children’s birthday parties to … Continue reading “I’m in a Renovation Style Slump” Club

“I Celebrated Halloween” Club

The first memory I have of dressing up is in second grade when my mother attempted to transform me into a gypsy by layering me in multiple scarves, an oversized skirt, and a multicolored blouse. She added several fake gold necklaces and too many coats of dark black mascara and red lipstick. “What am I?” I remember asking her and she told me a gypsy, which … Continue reading “I Celebrated Halloween” Club

“My Daughter is the Non-Immigrant at an Immigrant School” Club

Five months after I landed in New York City from the former Soviet Union, I had my first day at the public school across the streets from the projects in which we settled. It was an average school, (although I didn’t know the difference) and it was filled with kids just like me: fellow immigrants. We were Russian, Chinese, Korean, Indian; a quintessential New York … Continue reading “My Daughter is the Non-Immigrant at an Immigrant School” Club

“I Use My Horn” Club

Having two children at two different schools in two different states means I’m doing a lot of driving. Living next to the busiest bridge in the country, my many hours in the car is often accompanied by intense traffic and angry, frustrated drivers. I use my horn often, but not to be a bully, just to communicate. Often, though I’m misunderstood and occasionally even pursued … Continue reading “I Use My Horn” Club

“Escaping Explosions” Club

“Where are you? I heard there was an explosion on 23rd and 7th and you told me you were headed to Chelsea. I’m not sure where you were going. I’m very worried. Please call me.” My mother left the message at 9pm; I called her back 20 minutes later. “Thank God you’re fine. I was frantic until I heard from you,” her breathing had slowed … Continue reading “Escaping Explosions” Club

“I Saw Hamilton” Club

      I saw Hamilton: An American Musical on Saturday and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. My family’s obsession with the musical has spanned the entirety of 2016; we’ve listened to little else besides the soundtrack for the last 256 days (exactly as many days as I am deep into my 365-writing project). This grand opus by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a … Continue reading “I Saw Hamilton” Club

“I Lived Through 9/11” Club

Before 9/11, there was just a date on the calendar between the 10th and the 12th which never made me shutter. There was 9-1-1, but not 9/11. It’s like B.C. and A.D. There was life before and life afterward and in the middle, for a day, my city stood still, I held my breath and my heart beat double the speed. I didn’t know when … Continue reading “I Lived Through 9/11” Club

“I’m Always in a Hurry” Club

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in a hurry. I thought the constant hustle came from living in New York City, but I think it comes from within – and from my parents. My father drove fast and hated bad (READ: slow) drivers. We always had to “hurry up” to get to wherever it was we were going to make sure to avoid … Continue reading “I’m Always in a Hurry” Club

“Flavors Trigger Memories” Club

My default vanilla was established in a subterranean ice cream shop in the former Soviet Union, where my parents took me after I had my ears pierced. I was three years old and while I don’t recall the actual needle stabbing in my ear, the intense sweet vanilla lodged itself as the standard by which all future vanillas will have to measure against. Maybe in … Continue reading “Flavors Trigger Memories” Club

“My Sister Lives Far Away” Club

My sister lives far away which means much of our communication is done via text, phone, and FaceTime versus hugs, coffee, and couch cuddles in real life. Our proximity, like most relationships, has ebbed and flowed with the waves of life. We lived together for the first 12 years of her life but after I moved out to go to college, I never came back. … Continue reading “My Sister Lives Far Away” Club

“I’m Afraid of Heights” Club

I live less than half a mile from the George Washington Bridge, a magnificent and iconic span over the Hudson River, providing gorgeous views of Manhattan. The bridge carries over 106 million vehicles per year, making it the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge. It is also a popular bridge for pedestrians and bikers, with a total of 382,433 bike trips and 226,047 pedestrian trips across … Continue reading “I’m Afraid of Heights” Club

“Searching for Geocaches” Club

Legos were the first way I bonded with my son. I would help him sort through his almost thousand-piece Star Wars sets, organizing them by color, shape, and size, and page-by-page, we’d work through the multiple booklets and put together some flying fighter contraption which lived on his bookshelf until we moved. As a voracious reader, my son preferred fantasy/science fiction while my brain insisted … Continue reading “Searching for Geocaches” Club

“My Neighbors are Dying Around Me” Club

When we first moved into our building in Fort Lee, NJ, just on the other side of the infamous George Washington Bridge, it was because my cousin had recruited us here. She had a gorgeous apartment in the building and had twin boys the same age as my daughter. The family connection (and more affordable real estate) convinced us to cross over the bridge from … Continue reading “My Neighbors are Dying Around Me” Club

“I’m in the M.A.D.D.” Club

I learned to drive in 1990 when my biggest fear on the road was the drunk drivers in Staten Island. In high school, in driver’s ed, and on billboards around town, M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) messages were shoved down our throats. By 16, this scare tactic had successfully inflicted fear against drunk driving, AIDS, and teenage pregnancy. I reflect on those days nostalgically as … Continue reading “I’m in the M.A.D.D.” Club

“I Don’t Selfie Stick” Club

Rushing through Times Square a few weeks ago, a promotional van for Zoolander 2 caught my eye. They were taking photos and printing them onto froth foam, creating headshot-worthy lattes and as if free java with your face on it isn’t enough, they gave me a bonus selfie stick! I have made fun of the ridiculous looking tool ever since they invaded my Wall Street … Continue reading “I Don’t Selfie Stick” Club

“My Boyfriend’s Friends Hit on Me” Club

I’m not generalizing, (I kind of am), but I can bet that at some point if you ever had a boyfriend, and he ever had friends, the likelihood that said friends would hit on you is very high. Like probably. Probably definitely. Most of the time it is completely harmless and can even be flattering, am I right ladies? A boyfriend’s friend hits on you … Continue reading “My Boyfriend’s Friends Hit on Me” Club

“I Don’t Run” Club

I’ve tried running for exercise, for the ease of being able to do it anywhere, for the health benefits and mostly in search of the elusive runner’s high. The only problem is the brick wall blocking the running ability in my brain. I’m not an unfit person. I can walk 20 miles. I can rollerblade many miles. I have stamina and agility but my body … Continue reading “I Don’t Run” Club

“I’m Not a Pocket Person” Club

I don’t like to keep things in my pockets; I never did. I appreciate pockets as a resting place for idle hands or for a good pose, but I never thought pockets were convenient for storing things like wallets, keys, cell phones. I’m like the Princess and the Pea and I feel anything and everything in any pocket. After college, I purchased two “lady business suits” (one … Continue reading “I’m Not a Pocket Person” Club

“I Ignore the Weather Report” Club

How much of your life have you spent worrying about and preparing for imaginary futures that never com to fruition outside of your mind’s stage? Recently I was allowing the weather forecast to control my plans, as usual. Once again, as a blatant metaphor for life, I learned planning has nothing to do with what actually may happen. The weather forecast was 90% chance of all … Continue reading “I Ignore the Weather Report” Club

“I Always Thought I’d Be…” Club

Last week on a walk through New York’s Rockefeller Center, home of NBC, I stumbled upon a live broadcast of Access Hollywood. Arianna Huffington was the guest and she promoted her book and discussed two of my favorite things, sleep, and sex. The dormant rebel in me thought, “I could wave my hands in the air in the background” or “I could hold up a … Continue reading “I Always Thought I’d Be…” Club

“My Husband is a Celebrity” Club

My husband is a unique brand of celebrity: he is a rock star to children! As one of New York City’s most popular professional clowns, his name elicits Justin Bieber-worthy teenybopper screaming reactions. “Looney Lenny! Looney Lenny!” From three-year-olds to ten-year-olds are the true die-hard set. These are the ones who come out whenever he’s performing, like mini followers of the Grateful Dead, only they’re … Continue reading “My Husband is a Celebrity” Club

“I’m Never Going Back to a Corporate Job” Club

Spring in New York City is a unique descriptor which means everything to the native city dweller. Walking through the streets of the greatest city in the world in 74-degree weather, the sun warming my newly exposed shoulders, I am dancing with every cloud. New York City is a high-fashion supermodel in every season, but with the blossoming pots of baby blue hydrangeas decorating even … Continue reading “I’m Never Going Back to a Corporate Job” Club

“I’m Obsessed with Hamilton” Club

Hello, my name is Galina and I’m addicted to Hamilton: An American Musical. It’s been consuming my days. I wake up singing “How lucky we are to be alive right now” and quickly segue to “Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints” and go to bed singing “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” I suspect my husband and teenage son are … Continue reading “I’m Obsessed with Hamilton” Club

“I Hate(d) Carnivals” Club

The minute I saw the lights near the library, I knew it was that time of year – the church carnival. Augh. Nothing about the yearly carnival at the church parking lot tempted me. But to my almost six-year-old daughter, this was a palace of rainbows and unicorns; the very incarnation of FUN. My husband promised to take her on Saturday if the weather cooperated. … Continue reading “I Hate(d) Carnivals” Club

“I Ruin My Own Surprises” Club

I always check Google Maps before we go anywhere, even if I don’t need directions, just so I know exactly how long the ride is predicted to take. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t care. He says, “I bought the ticket, I’m taking the ride and it’s out of my control. I don’t stress out about it.” (See: “My Husband is Always Late” Club.”) … Continue reading “I Ruin My Own Surprises” Club

“I Play the Hamilton Lottery” Club

I’ve entered the online “Hamilton” lottery every day since it’s inception over two months ago. I’ve submitted two entries each day (one for myself and one on behalf of my husband), even on days I’ve had no babysitter. I don’t think mathematically I’m increasing my odds, but maybe I’ll be rewarded by the theater gods for my diligence and genuine adoration.  Today “Hamilton” received a … Continue reading “I Play the Hamilton Lottery” Club

“I Get Along Best With My Gay Friends” Club

I’m not sure what the science behind it is, but gay men and I have a chemistry which has repeatedly proven successful. I get along well with gay men and they think I’m dandy; we bond over chatting, and a mutual adoration of my big hair and pouty lips. I’ve always had a hard time with girlfriends but gay men were a great compromise of … Continue reading “I Get Along Best With My Gay Friends” Club

“I’m in a Fashion Slump”Club

I’m in a fashion slump and this is nothing new. For the last seven years, I’ve worked from home and subsisted on a wardrobe of leggings, yoga pants, camisoles, two pairs of jeans, four sweatshirts, and five plaid shirts. For three seasons of the year, I wear a jacket, even on date nights, over my outfit-less outfits, which help buffer the urgency to shop. On … Continue reading “I’m in a Fashion Slump”Club

“I Weep at Track Meets” Club

Emma finished the mile in 5.4 minutes in the 85-degree heat. She did so with the ease I do nothing, not even write these words. No panting or hunching over in exhaustion; if she was sweating, I couldn’t tell. This was a private school track meet in New York City. At the onset of 7th grade, my son had the opportunity to choose a sport … Continue reading “I Weep at Track Meets” Club

“I Have Spring Fever” Club – 100 Word Story

I woke up with spring fever. My eyes stung from the orange sun creating a spotlight on my face; my ears tuned into the inaugural bird symphonies of the season. My sun-deprived body was tugged by an invisible magnet outdoors. I held my husband’s hand as we hiked up rocky terrain hovering over the shallow red-sand beaches; the famous bridge in the distant haze. We … Continue reading “I Have Spring Fever” Club – 100 Word Story

“A New Way to Worry” Club

There exists a trifecta of responses given to a person who is stressing out: “Calm down,” or “Relax!” or “Don’t worry.” These comforting phrases only work as triggers to make me angrier and want to slap the deliverer in the face. However, earlier this week, my 14-year-old son may have invented an interesting psychological “calm down” technique in lieu of the useless trifecta. We were … Continue reading “A New Way to Worry” Club

“I Do My Own Taxes” Club

I’ve done my taxes on my own using TurboTax, from the comfort of my own home, for the last 8 years. The software stores all of my old documents for me and welcomes me and guides me kindly and simply through questions which I can do on my own schedule (or at 3am). Even with a small business return to file, I never paid more … Continue reading “I Do My Own Taxes” Club

“Living Outside My Native Tongue” Club

I have this fantasy one day I will be in the elevator (or anywhere) and Russian-speaking people will talk about me without knowing I understand them and I will turn around and surprise them with my exquisite command of Russian curses. This has yet to happen. At our last Gogol Bordello concert, I found myself surrounded by fellow Russians in midlife crisis partying with this … Continue reading “Living Outside My Native Tongue” Club

“37 Years an Immigrant” Club

Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of my immigration to America from the former Soviet Union and I forgot all about it. The date isn’t circled or marked on my calendar. Maybe my parents independently raised a shot glass toasting the memory, but I’ve gone years without noting the day. For my parents, it marked the day they started their new life but since 1979, there … Continue reading “37 Years an Immigrant” Club

“I Used to Live in the City” Club

When we moved to NJ from New York City (NYC) four years ago, we did so kicking and screaming (our rent increase of $1,200 forced us out). We thought this might be a “five-year plan,” which aligned perfectly with my personality as I’ve never lived anywhere for more than four years. We moved to the first building off the George Washington Bridge, which is as … Continue reading “I Used to Live in the City” Club

“I Heart the Library” Club

A library is a museum of books; a shrine to literature. It is more accessible than a museum and always free to enter. It is far less elitist the a museum: a poorly written book could exist on the shelf next to best-seller. Obviously the greatest aspect of the library: borrow books (up to 50 at a time!), enjoy them at your leisure (in the … Continue reading “I Heart the Library” Club

“I Love Theater” Club

I don’t remember the first show I saw on (or off-)Broadway which ingrained the love of theater in me but I don’t remember not LOVING it. This week, I finally saw Book of Mormon. It had been the anniversary gift my husband and I had been promising to one another for five years. It was everything I hoped it would be and more; the funnier … Continue reading “I Love Theater” Club

“Don’t Ask Me To Pick a Place to Meet” Club

I’m not good at picking places to meet – for coffee, for dinner, or to exchange artwork and catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in real life for 25 years. When my husband drags us along, completing his travel-based project across the country on 2-week road trips, it falls on me to find places to eat along the way. Thank the technology wizards … Continue reading “Don’t Ask Me To Pick a Place to Meet” Club

“Hearts Still Find Me” Club

When I first created HeartsEverywhere.com, I wanted a catchy name for a blog I could use as a writing platform. The name came obviously and easily. Deep in love, I discovered hearts everywhere, which exploded all around me alongside Twitter and Facebook. Throughout the year, I sought out reinforcing signs from the universe yearning for the reasons and explanations. I was so uncertain of myself, … Continue reading “Hearts Still Find Me” Club

“I Pick Up Hitchhikers” Club

I don’t live on the edge much. I observe expirations dates and tax deadlines. I stop at all red lights and will not text and drive. But even I have a sell-out price to tempt danger. We live in a building right off the George Washington Bridge. We love this location for its proximity to Manhattan (ten minutes to midtown) but we have begun to … Continue reading “I Pick Up Hitchhikers” Club

“I Ignore Homeless People” Club

This morning as I sat in my car, my seat warmer keeping my ass nice and toasty, Elvis Duran is entertaining me because they’re talking about what movie represents your love life … and I think to myself is there a movie with clowns in it that aren’t scary? And it doesn’t dawn on me until they’re been off the air for two hours, that … Continue reading “I Ignore Homeless People” Club

“I Lived in the Projects and Didn’t Know it” Club

“Oh I didn’t realize you grew up in the projects!” my husband says the first time I bring him to visit my grandmother, who has lived in this same housing complex for her 40 years in this country. Apparently “Cooperative Housing” is fancy for projects, but I have always thought it was a perfectly normal place to have my rudimentary years in this country. The … Continue reading “I Lived in the Projects and Didn’t Know it” Club

Anniversary Night Recap

It was the perfect night – as we knew it would be. The evening was exactly what this couple needed to celebrate their 6-year-anniversary. After careful consideration, we decided on an evening that was typical for us. We went to our usual sushi place in Union Square – and instead of going to see King’s Speech, even though I knew it would win the Oscar, … Continue reading Anniversary Night Recap

Six Years Ago Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be six years since the day I met my love. We’ve spoken about it for the last few weeks – “can you believe it’s six years since the day that changed our lives forever?” We wanted to go to a nice dinner; my sister is babysitting – but none of the restaurants that made the “best of” lists seemed to get either of … Continue reading Six Years Ago Tomorrow

Central Park, Carnegie Deli, Times Square

On this first spring-like day in 2011, we meandered through my favorite place in NYC: Central Park. It was 67 degrees and all the leftover blizzard snow created muddy pathways, but it was gorgeous. Couples lingered on benches eating lunch; runners circled the reservoir, and we strolled our 8-month-old under the still-bare trees. After a few hours, we made our way downtown and decided to … Continue reading Central Park, Carnegie Deli, Times Square

Celebrating 8 Months with Pizza (Is There a Better Way?)

Mackenzie turned 8 months old today and to celebrate, she got up an hour early – but compensated with a late nap. After returning from my drive to pick up Jake at school in Riverdale I found the girl still sleeping at 5pm. Strange for someone who goes to bed around 6:30pm. I was excited at the prospect at dinner out with the whole family. … Continue reading Celebrating 8 Months with Pizza (Is There a Better Way?)

A Girl Raising a Boy: What I Want for My Son

I’m a girl whose raising a boy. He’s six now; I’m 34. How can I control the programming for a gender for which I hold no code? I want to sculpt him into a good man. I want to make him tough enough to take the punches and emotional enough to cry when they hurt. I want him to be aware of his happiness first … Continue reading A Girl Raising a Boy: What I Want for My Son