I Have Been Tagged!

Thanks Surviving for tagging me! People who get tagged must write in a blog of their own ten weird things or habits or little known facts as well as state this rule clearly. At the end you must choose six people to be tagged and list their names. No tagbacks!

1. I was once a fortune cookie for Halloween. I even took the time to fill a register tape with good fortunes and ask passer-byers to rip off a fortune.
2. On another occasion, my friend and I dressed up as boys and would knock on the neighbor’s door and then run to the back of the house so not to be seen. After the third time of knocking and running, the neighbor-boys came running after us. They tackled us thinking we were boys. We had to scream for them to stop hurting us.
3. I once went camping and brought home a cockroach in my ear! The roach was burrowed in my ear canal and wasn’t discovered until a day later-yuck!
4. I am named after my Italian-born grandmother, which happens to be a fairly common Arabic/Muslim name.
5. I have never changed a baby diaper.
6. I have volunteered to wash dishes in a rural village dinner in order to get people in town to trust me. Dish duty also required scraping scraps into the pig feed and dog feed buckets.
7. I can read lips very well. This trait is so much a part of me that I don’t even realize that I still do it until someone puts their hand over their mouth while talking and suddenly I can’t “hear” the person anymore because I can’t see their lips.
8. I have hunted with my father and gutted fish I have caught.
9. I enjoy parallel parking.
10. I have been cussed out by politicians for organizing and educating poor people on their rights to demonstrate and to access their city halls and state houses, etc. I have been personally cussed out by the CEO of a major finance company as well.


I'm a Slacker

Okay, I owe everyone a post and I am at work and swamped as usual so I shall cheat and bullet point the relevant and not-so relevant points of my life:

* I am super-busy and fluctuate between the pregnancy hormone highs and then crash. For once I’m feeling a range of highs and lows never before-experienced-fun!

* Hubby and I were treated to a super-super ultra sound at the University because of the “high-risk” with the family history of Spina Bifida. It was so, so amazing to see the little baby wiggling around inside of me. Mash’Allah, every thing looks healthy with the spinal cord, heart, blood flow, etc. All the fingers and toes appear to be there and boy am I feeling the movement these days!

* I mentioned to the technician that hubby and I had watched an ultra cool “miracle of Life” video by the Discovery Channel and about the amazing new three and four-D technology that let’s you see babies in-utero in “real time” So, walaaa, she pulls out that wand and we get to see the baby in four-D “real time” as if watching a movie. I saw the baby taking sucking it’s thumb and then taking it’s wittle arms and pushing the placenta out of it’s face. Amazing!

* So hubby says (while in the room), why are we keeping the sex of the baby a secret, again? And I’m floored! We had solidly decided against knowing. But, of course when he said that, I became curious too. Turns out that he and I and everyone else in the world, except my Mom were wrong; we’re having a boy! I was so shocked to hear that. It doesn’t make a difference, but I am so glad that now I know and can mentally prepare for a boy!

* Mom and brother are coming to town tomorrow! I’m so excited to have the both of them coming. I can’t wait for Mom to see my growing tummy and the pictures of her first-ever grandson!

* Hubby and I placed an offer on to-be-built house. It is a little out of a price range, but we were swayed by the whole “brand new” and customized to our tastes deal-io. Cross your fingers! We bid low and the agent wasn’t real happy about it, but it is a buyer’s market and all. We’ll see, that’s our final price/offer and we’re sticking to it!

* I got a great annual review and was surprised with a very nice raise, yahoo!
Finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I like it a lot. Too lazy to write a review at this time. Surprisingly, everyone else in book club was rather put off by the characters!

Nuff said for now!


Month Four!

I had my fourth-month appointment on Monday. Never in my life have I been so excited about visiting a clinic. It’s as if I can’t wait to pull my pants down and have another opportunity to hear that heart beat. All looks good so far including heartbeat, blood pressure and weight gain. Speaking of weight gain, could someone please tell me where my waist line has gone? I’ve seem to have lost it and fear that I may never find it again. Oh let the list of sacrifices begins: number one: loss of friend marriage and gain of parent marriage. Number two: loss of sleep. Number three: loss of non-Mommy identity. Number four: SOME loss of bind with non-parent friends. Number five: loss of waist line.

So I finally move my lazy arse into gear and, gasp, change my insurance information from my maiden name to my married name, which of course is Muslim. So, this name change prompts a need to update my electronic medical record. My male midwife, yes male! proceeds to ask some questions:

MMW: “So what is your race?”
Me: Ummmm, a little stumped because I have never been asked this before, but happy that he would ask rather than make the assumption. I say with certainty, “Caucasian”.
MMW: “Are you sure?”
Me: Thinking what, why would he question my answer? I say, “Yes”.
MMW: “Well where were you born?”
Me: Incredulous, he still doesn’t believe me. Can’t you see my DH sitting right here? We’re married and I’m gori! “Right here in the Midwest, Sir.”

Then the next thing occurred, two men had a conversation about the logic of the quad screening test and then I change my mind. You see, DH and I had decided against the quad screen test because of its unreliability and then the possibility of stressing myself and choti out because of the results. We knew that we weren’t going to terminate because of the results, so why worry, right? Wrong. Abovementioned MMW gave us the run down and unintentionally swung my decision the other way. You see, because DH’s niece was born with Spina Bifada, we are the prime candidates for the screening. And the earlier we can detect (Quad screen) a probability of a SB defect, the better our chances of helping a baby get the care he/she will need at birth. So there, I changed my mind, gave blood and now I sit and wit for the results.

Any others with experiences as I sit here and bite my nails?


Choti's Marriage Proposal, Desi Humor

DH’s cousin (actually second or third cousin) is expecting. She is having a boy. She says, “If your having a girl, consider this her first marriage proposal”. Ha ha.


Oh She's Trippin on Memory Lane

Oh sweet, sweet day off work. I feel that this may be one of the last days I will get to enjoy myself as me and not “Mommy”. I started the day with reading the newspaper and some academic articles and essays on the topic of race. I enjoyed a lovely bath and shave my legs for the first time in eons (shaving seem so trivial these days ha-ha).

I mozied out of the house to have lunch with myself. Oh, how I cherish peace and quite moments with myself! I then went to the coffee house for chai latte and some quiet reading time. Afterwards I took a walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the high temperatures (40 degrees!) and sunshine. Birds were chirping and the snow was morphing into water gushing into the drains; a glimpse of spring, what a gift!

Ah, these days of reminiscing. Most of my dreams and waking hours have been filled with vivid and emotional memories of my past. Every phase of my life is being replayed and moving through my head as of on a reel of film. I see myself in my messy childhood room with not a care in the world in regard to my matty, unkempt hair and wardrobe from Salvation Army. What mattered most was grooming my little pony and scheming ways of making my Barbie’s life more magical and fantastical...


Thump, thump, thump

I heard my bambino’s heart beat! Wow, what an experience. I cried and DH smiled from ear-to-ear. The whole pregnancy experience has become all for more realistic since hearing a live heartbeat in the depths of my chubby belly. DH and I e-mailed each other through out the day writing,” thump, thump, thump.”

On other news, I am braving very cold weather in this Northern state in which I reside; I’m loving my fuzzy robe and fireplace.

I am reading book number two for the book club: Dearest Friend, a biography about Abigail Adams. Honestly, I’m struggling with getting to page 100. I’ll blame it on pregnancy, but it may be the content that causes me to sleep no matter which time of the day I pick up the book.

I have been very involved with training, volunteering and attending forum discussions on for a new exhibit at the science museum. The exhibit takes a unique look at race from a combined socio-political, genetic, historical and biological perspective. After 20 hours of training, I have been afforded the opportunity to serve as a volunteer on the floor. I work every other Sunday for four hour shifts. Mostly, I work with engaging kids and parents in dialogue about the question, “where do humans come from?” These questions follow an underlying theme that shows that race is all made up out of fear and a need for retaining power or “whiteness”. The studies suggest that all humans came from sub-Sahara Africa and changes in skin melatonin and physical features are mere adaptations as a result of migration. Studies also show that I am genetically more similar to any random person from Nigeria or India, etc. than someone in my immediate family, thus refuting the notion that genetic makeup is unique to race or follow any immediate family patterns. I’ll be sure to share more about my experiences with this whole experience.

Hotel Baji is still running. Roommate has been trained to wash dishes, pick up after himself and to turn the heat down when he leaves, etc. For now, it’s a slight hindrance, but okay because it gives DH a friend while his wife falls into sleep stupors.

I broke the news to the folks I work with and they were all quite surprised and overjoyed. Everyone has been so kind with their well wishes and support. I feels great to receive such tremendous love from family, friends and co-workers.


Meri Sahaili

She is such the dynamic force, that her name whizzed round and round the neighborhood block days before I even caught a glance.

"She’s pretty and sophisticated", they said. "She’s mature and cool". "She’s from the CITY and knows all about real life."

Who was this mysterious gal that shook up our white-bread block in the burbs?

I am privileged to say that she is my friend and, one of the few I consider a hero.

She rode up on her pink Huffy sporting the confidence of a runway model, world knowledge that I thought was only scripted for movies, a beautiful smile and an edge that could kick any boy's beeeeehind.

She was tough and intimidating, I knew that shy ugly-duckling me would never have a chance to win her affection. Boy was I wrong and that would be the first of many times I would guess wrong about by dear, precious friend.

It was the summer between fifth and sixth grade. I was moving from elementary to middle school and carried every pubescent horror that accompanies that stage. I had big out-dated glasses, fashion styled by K-mart, a wash and comb hair do and oily, pimply skin. I lost my father to suicide earlier that year and my mother to depression/overtime work. I lost my religion and innocence, but had no one to share it with. Fifth grade memories torment me to this day. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties. The one party I was invited to was with the “dirty” girl and her cousin molested me in the middle of the night. The other friend I had was a confused cross dresser.

My dear doll face as she was later to so be named, did not seem to see any of these ugly-duckling qualities. She quickly befriended me and lured me out of my tortoise shell. Did she know the gift she gave me? Will she ever? We spent summer nights riding side by side round and round the block. The boys fell over dead vying for her attention, and there I was, her princess, her bridesmaid, her honored secret keeper.

So many things she said went straight over my naïve head. She was city girl and I was sheltered by the boundaries of the white-middle class ceiling. She knew I was bluffing when I pretended, but she never once made fun of me. She took me under her ever-powerful wings and delivered me to the doorstep of teenage-hood.

Days at the city pool were awkward. I would have to leave my expensive ear (hearing aid) at home and rely on the forces of loud children to guide me through the days. I kept my “problem” a secret and thought I was pretty good at my game. What I now realize is that my dearest doll face knew my deep, dark secret and took care to protect me, despite risking her stature as the “coolest” girl at the pool.

Doll face introduced me to boys, makeup, clothes, pop culture and the like. Although she was notorious for running off her mouth at her parents, she never expected me to do the same. When we decided we would sign up with modeling agencies and become world-famous teenage icons, her father said “yes”, my mother said “absolutely no and wipe off that make-up”. My dear doll face accepted my Mom’s orders and reassured me that I did indeed look more beautiful sans make up.

She introduced me to the depths of my soul. When we were old enough to drive, she would pick me up in her black camaro with tee-tops down and we would cruise winding country roads. Music blaring and stealing sideways glances and smiles all the way. We would pull up to the cemetery and sit at our favorite spot, the 30 foot cross.

There we would cry about our lost childhoods and the fathers that abandoned us. Her story is too deep and private to share. Now well into my adulthood, I realize that I never fully understood the impact of her childhood experience and never truly will. For this and the woman she now is; she is my hero.

She introduced me to drama and poetry and we braved all odds of “not being cool” by becoming thespians. That’s what always made her so cool; that she had the confidence to do whatever she pleased.

I was and still am so proud to have her by my side. When I lwas leaving for college, she showed up minutes before I was puling out of the driveway and she gave me a very dramatic goodbye and sent me “off” almost like a mother to child. Looking back, I now realize that she knew more than I that we were about to diverge paths and my leaving the block was symbolic of how our friendship had grown.

We kept in touch, but had very different paths as she was braving life in the Big Apple working with big music execs; I was safe in the confines of my little Ivy League tower.

She married and I was blessed to be a part of the princess’ fairytale. Not having found myself nor my mate, I went to parties and bad boyfriends. Sadly, we drifted.

Recently we reconnected and I was so very honored that she found her way to my wedding (purple hair and all!). I still regret that I didn’t have a traditional wedding party in which to adorn her as a beautiful bridesmaid that she deserved to be.

But, now with the distance and the few and far-between conversations we have, I feel closer to her than ever and cherish her as a great, great friend.

My dear doll face, I am so sorry that you had to learn about the news of my next chapter in life through such a place as My Space. I hope that you forgive me for not calling you sooner; it’s just that I was unsure how to break the news that I had stepped out of the “club” so to speak and wanted to be sure that it was the right time and place.

Thank you for leading me to womanhood and standing by me through thick and thin. Thank you for sharing your inner self, it honors me more than you will ever know. Please let me return the favor any time you need to call on me, I’m here doll face.


So, so tired.

Every night I fall asleep with musing in my head. Long, perfectly written and witty journal entries fill my mind and I swear, “I’ll post that first thing in the morning.”

Morning comes and I’m jolted into fast speed and then launched right back into bed 16 hours later. I start each morning with slight nausea, but still no morning sickness mash’Allah. I convince myself that a shower really is a good thing despite my desire to sleep the extra thirty minutes. I swallow some pills, put together a sorry excuse of a lunch and out the door I go.

Once I enter the work vortex, it’s never ending chaos. This crazy work schedule has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The fact that the day seems to go exceedingly fast is most advantageous. This despite this caffeine addict’s forced pregnancy-induced with drawl from caffeine! Furthermore, I am constantly moving in circles, visiting one part of the building or another throughout the entire day, this has to count toward my recommended daily exercise, right? And, I am now, for the first time in my life, forcing myself to sit down and have lunch each and every day. Mental note, this is a practice I must forever maintain. Nothing is too important to miss lunch, right?

The downside is that this pace is physically and mentally exhausting, thus my desire to sleep ten hours a day and my inability to post any of my brilliant thoughts.

Pre pregnancy, I made attempts to reach out into the community with hopes of meeting some new people. I joined a book club which is rockin-cool. We ladies found each other on Craig’s list and we are an awesome pool of gal power. I may or may not have already mentioned, but I’m too lazy to re-read my boring posts to find out, so here it is: we are one part chemist, one part high-school shop teacher, one part web designer, one part geologist and one part social service administrator. Again, how cool is that!? We just finished What is the What by Dave Eggers. This is about one Sudanese boy’s (Valentino) survival during of his village take-over which was the start of the years long war still being fought today in Darfur. The book takes us on a dreadful and heart wrenching journey through Valentino’s ten year-old eyes as he and hundreds of other orphaned boys dubbed the Lost Boys trek thousands of miles through Sudan to Ethiopia and ultimately Kenya. The journey lasts nearly a year and ends with many many lost boys dead to lion attacks, starvation, malaria, crocodile attacks, land mines and the like. Once at refugee camps, life is full of sadness and hunger for a period of ten years. Finally, the boys are invited to live in the states. There they find that life is very complex and tough.

Whoa it’s waaaay past my bed time. More on my museum adventures and updates on my recovery from my alcoholic upbringing as I continue to journey through the steps of Al Anon.


I'm Here (Raises Hand from Back of Room)

I am so drained. I’m sorry for not responding earlier, but I’m so I don’t know, everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

DH and I went to long-awaited, highly anticipated appointment on Monday. The first appointment is full of scary questions about your family medical history. My comment about two cousins with heart disease plus DH’s niece with Spina Bifida was enough to scare them and put us in “high risk” category.

After all the tests, we excuse DH and do the exam. The nurse was unsuccessful at detecting the heartbeat. This was extremely disappointing. I’m so full of mixed emotions and feel no closer to validation.

I am still having very little to no symptoms (perhaps phantom) coupled with the no heart beat and the “high risk” is all very daunting.

I have been keeping very busy (too busy) with work. I had to train three new staff this week plus my new volunteer commitment at the museum is taking up far more time and energy than anticipated. On top of that, hubby’s drifter friend is coming to live with us tonight. He is a great guy who happened to fall on bad times and was living in his van, so we opened our home and here he comes!

Sigh. Please any stories on your similar experiences greatly needed by this solo-flying gal.


Best Wishes for 2007

I’m not sure where to start. I went to my Mom’s house for Christmas. In the two days preceding, my Mom made a lot of comments about babies and hoping that 2007 was the year that DH and I would make her a grandma, etc. It was becoming very difficult to keep the lies under control!

On Christmas Eve we did our traditional one gift and a toast for the New Year (since I am rarely home for New Years). So my Mom makes her big long speech and toast for a baby, etc. Then DH and I gave her present. She opened it and immediately shouted and started crying when she saw the baby bib.

Boy oh boy, cat out of the bag! It was so happy to see her so ecstatic and to have pulled a good one on her. She asked if she could tell her Aunts and cousins and brother whom we were about to go visit. I told her I didn’t think it was good timing with it being so early on and the fact that I haven’t been to a doctor, yet. She was visibly upset that I said this and was just bursting at the seams to tell the world that she had finally been chartered into the Grandma’s club. So I caved and agreed.

It was so nice to hear how genuinely happy people are for me and DH. The kind words and hugs were beautiful; and it made the event all that much more real. My friends were told as well and they were all very genuinely elated.

Symptoms come and go. One morning I was dry heaving like crazy, but did not vomit. Other days I have had very, very sore nipples and nausea. More days than not, I feel wonderful.

I cannot wait until I have my appointment on Monday! Insh’Allah, my fears will be squashed and I will be able to behave like a normal woman happy to be graced with pregnancy.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!