Saturday, December 31, 2005

What the hell does "meme" mean anyways?

According to Google:

As defined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976): "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." "Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.

So in the great Blogosphere, a meme is a format of writing something that is imitated, I guess. Here are a few...

Here's a fun one via Sharon:

Sum up 2005 in 24 words:

1. Separation
2. Reunion
3. Transition
4. Again
5. Broke
6. Heartache
7. Missing
8. Found
9. Together
10. Decisions
11. Goals
12. Jobs
13. School
14. House
15. New
16. Old
17. Pain
18. Health
19. Intellect
20. Prosperity?
21. Contentment
22. Where
23. Am
24. I?

Next I don't know if this qualifies as a meme, exactly, but it was interesting. (Also from Sharon.)

This site will allow you to upload a picture of yourself, and then it searches a database for celebrities that look like you.

Here are my results:

In case you couldn't tell, that mug on the left is me. According to this site (and what a great ego-booster it is!), I look most like Scarlett Johansson(???) and Judy Garland (awww!). But I also look like Gustav Stressemann (It must be my mustache). I think my huge teeth resemble Katherine Hepburn's (only when she's old). And, c'mon, who wouldn't wanna look like Frodo?

The last picture on the right is Sania Mizra, tennis player from Hyderabad, the first Indian woman to win a "grand slam" (I don't know what that means.) Personally, I think I look most like her - sans athletic prowess, of course.

And, last but not least, this meme from Bitch PhD.

The "Seven" Meme

A. Seven things to do before I die
1. Travel around India for three months.
2. Stop binging on twizzlers.
3. Learn Spanish.
4. Visit New York. (That place scares me. I must conquer the fear.)
5. Finish my PhD.
6. Have a savings account - with money in it.
7. Meditate daily.

B. Seven things I cannot do
1. Watch "Anne of Green Gables" without crying.
2. Live without seeing my family for too long.
3. Be worry-free.
4. Clean up vomit.
5. Keep plants alive.
6. Read one book at a time.
7. Grow my hair long.

C. Seven things that attract me to ...
1. My husband: his generosity.
2. My kid: his scatalogical humor.
3. My sister: her taste in music.
4. My friend Debi: the "different drummer" to whose beat she marches.
5. TKP: her spot-on impersonations.
6. Twizzlers: their chewey goodness.
7. People in general: humor, insightfulness, and good conversations.

D. Seven things I say most often
1. Shite
2. C'mon!
3. Whassup?
4. Rad
5. Somebody please shoot me in the head.
6. Why, God?
7. Isaac, you're the bestest.

E. Seven books (or series or genres or topics) that I love
1. The Temple of My Familiar (Alice Walker)
2. Kingsolver
3. Amy Tan
4. Harry Potter (I know, lame. But hey, I have a kid. That's my excuse.)
5. Anne Rice
6. Nerdy non-fiction stuff.
7. This one's too hard. There are too many. I didn't even think about Isaac's kid's books!

F. Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time)
1. Anne of Green Gables
2. Moulin Rouge
3. The Bourne movies
4. Hindi movies: Kisna, Devdas, Swades
5. Barbra Streisand - Funny Girl
6. Pokemon and YuGiOh (This is not out of choice)
7. Sex and the City and Friends

G. Seven people Two people I want to join in, too.

TKP - you're it! Do this quick before you get stuck in Worcester again.

Wendy - You, too dude!

Friday, December 30, 2005

It wasn't meant to be.

Since I worked a grueling 10 hours on Wednesday, I had yesterday off. With a whole day of household-work-procrastination on my hands, I thought I'd try something fancy with my blog, so I found some great templates and spent quite a chuck o' time trying to figure out how to use them. Sadly, I realized that my html/snazzy web knowledge has become obsolete. I thought about moving the whole blog over to my 10 MB of webspace that my ISP has so generously given for "free", but since I'm fed up with the company (the terrible, terrible corporation that rhymes with "horizon"), I have the feeling I'll be switching to whatever provider finally decides that this area deserves a CHOICE of phone/internet companies. Rural living, ain't it grand?

Check out some of these cool blogs that do not rely on the standard blogger templates...
Bitch PhD
Twisty Faster

When I grow up, I wanna be cool like them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Random Stuff

Here's my current reading list. I rotate according to mood. Although Amy Tan has the ability to make me give up sleep to finish her books, and I think she'll take precedence for a while.

Today's Catastrophe:
At 6:00 a.m. the phone rang. It was my gramma who lives three doors down from us. She said my grandpa fell and can't get up. Masud and I ran down the slippery sidewalk - he was wearing a lungi (google it) and I was sans-spectacles/spike-haired since I was too freaked out to care. Grandpa was outside - where I think he had been struggling for over half an hour, kneeling in a snowbank, and my 90 lb. gramma was trying to help him up. He was freezing and hurt. Masud and I helped him up, took him inside, and then realized that we left Isaac alone at home.

Grandpa fell because their dog, Chips, wrapped his leash around grandpa's legs and pulled hard. Plus, it was slippery outside. This is the second fall that Chips has caused - last week it was my gramma who fell in the street, and crawled over to where the garbage cans were set on the curb and pulled herself up. Her pride was hurt more than anything else.

So far, nobody's broken anything, but this has gotta stop. I told Masud that I think we need to adopt Chips, but Masud is adamantly opposed. Sigh. My gramma hates that frickin' dog, but grandpa is very attached to him. Perhaps we could take the dog at night...I don't know. The thought of poop-picking is not intriguing to me.

Isaac Quote:

I asked Isaac why he did not enjoy the company of a four-year-old girl who came to visit today. He said, "Her silliness gave me a headache."

Medical Mystery Solved:

My sister-in-law Maya (the doctor that I worked with in Bangladesh) has been really sick for the past month or so. She has been in the hospital with terrible abdominal pain, and was finally diagnosed with pancreatitis. Her pancreas was actually digesting itself. Ouch.

A few days back, she and Masud-bhai (her hubby) flew to Singapore for some expert medical attention. They inserted a drainage tube in her pancreas that would help the digestive juices to drain. After the surgery, Maya started having extreme pain. They decided to go back in and remove the tube. Everyone was disappointed because a cause could not be determined.

While the surgeons were removing the tube, they saw something moving. They looked closer and discovered...a worm. And then they found another worm. She had worms in her pancreas.


And with that happy thought, I leave you.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Finally Home For Christmas!

It's been two years since I spent Christmas at home, so I really really enjoyed it this year. I had a few white russians, too, which really made it fun. We played some games, ate lots of good food, and opened presents on Christmas Eve, and then today we had lunch at my Gramma's house. That was great. She got some fried chicken and oven fries from Kwik Trip. I made green bean casserole, and Rob made meatballs. I brought some good guacamole and salsa, too, cuz meat is gross.

This afternoon, we're going to visit my gramma who is in a nursing home. Then I'm gonna hunker down with one of the three books I got for gifts...the Beatles biography, Amy Tan's new book, and Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer. Great reading material for the next month at least.

Isaac is suffering from toy overdose.

But he just said, "I can't wait until next Christmas."


Enjoy the pics and merry Christmas everyone.

more los fotos

los fotos

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another Nari Jibon Picture

It was Kathy's 50th birthday yesterday so she was treated to a glitzy, cake filled celebration, Bangladeshi style.

Awwww, I miss those folks!


There has been lots of hullabaloo lately about the separation of Church and State and using the word "Christmas" in public settings. Isaac's teachers have wished me "Happy Holidays", and I know they have to be careful not to let the X-word slip. As a Muslim, I understand the argument, but I have surprised myself by being on the side of the right-wingers on this one. Christmas is an important part of most Americans' traditions and I don't think it should be censored. But I suppose I am still a little different from the likes of Pat Robertson...I think we should follow Bangladesh's model and just celebrate ALL the holidays.

In Bangladesh, most people are Muslim, so the Islamic holidays are most widely celebrated. Islam is a very holiday-oriented faith...lots o' there are lots of Islam-related vaycays. (The month of Ramadan is not an official holiday, but people who do work walk around in semi-comas all day until it's time to eat, so it might as well be a holiday. The end of Ramadan, marked by Eid-al-Fitr, is celebrated for up to a week.) Being the inclusive secular organization that it is [please note that I'm typing with an facetious expression on my face], the Bangladeshi government also observes the holidays of the FOUR major religions in Bangladesh.

This is kind of funny, seeing as there are really only two major religions. Most Bangladeshis are Muslim (83%), followed by Hindu (16%), and then Christians and Buddhists fall into the 1% that's left over. But just because they only make up 1% doesn't mean they should be left out. I mean, 1% of 140 million people is actually a lot of people. Important Hindu holidays are observed, of course, and I remember getting a few days off for some kind of Buddhist deal. I think I saw two Buddhists the entire time I was in Bangladesh. They must have felt very special on their holiday. The entire country shut down, just for them!

Christmas is a holiday if it falls on a workday. The Awami League even moved a strike last year because it fell on Christmas day and they didn't want to offend the <1% of people who are Christians by messing up their big day.

I'm an advocate of hedonism, so I say celebrate them all! It would be very depressing for me to not get give presents at Christmas, because it's a big cultural deal for me. I don't give a crap about the "true meaning", whatever that is, but I like the idea that we all get together, eat a lot, and give each other thoughtful gifts! that the "true meaning"? Then I guess I do give a crap.

Also, I enjoy the gluttony that is Eid (not so much the bloodbath that is korbani Eid). I liked the loud and gaudy Durga Pooja celebrations. I like Easter candy. I think Halloween is great. And after all of this self-indulgence, a good, restraint-filled Buddhist holiday would bring it all back into perspective for me.

So, instead of arguing over the fine line that exists between Church and State, I think we should all just load up on egg nog and fruitcake. Although I think egg nog is gross, so I'll just have some other beverage. And I guess I'd rather have chocolate cake than fruitcake. But just because I think egg nog is gross doesn't mean I will restrict others from enjoying egg nog. It is, as they say, a free country. Isn't it?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The FACE of 29.

Hmmm, I'm not sure I like being almost thirty. Somebody at Isaac's school called me "Mrs. Zaman" the other day and it took me a while to realize that she was addressing me!

The other day, my sister told me that an article of clothing I wanted was "too young" for me. Ouch. But TKP says that as long as I have Rage Against the Machine on my iPod, I'm still rad.

There will be no big celebration tonight, although my mom is dropping off cake and veggie lasagna. Everyone is working late, and who cares about birthdays when you're turning 29 anyways? And don't even get me started on the whole "birthday this close to Christmas" deal.

Peace out, everyone. I'm going to have brownies for lunch, because dammit it's my birthday.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Is the weekend seriously almost over? All I have to show for it is a half empty laundry basket - which is quite an accomplishment seeing as it was overflowing two days ago.

Quick poll: How many loads of laundry per week are average for a family of three?

We had a grand total of six loads this week. Is that a lot? I feel like it's a lot. How many times is it okay to wear pants before washing them? Sometimes I feel like one time is enough, but then I try to be an environmentalist and wear them again, but I feel gross about it. I hate it when the knees are all baggy and hang down. Isaac wears his pants twice, but that's because he only has three pairs and has no choice sometimes. Socks and underwear are definitely a one-hit-wonder, but what about shirts? I mean, if you don't spill coffee down the front and you wore deodorant, is it okay to wear them twice?

Anyway, Isaac has become an EMOTIONAL WRECK now that I put the Christmas presents out. I'm trying to explain to him that xmas is for giving, not receiving. But he asks me every five minutes if he can open a present yet, and then when I say no he starts to bawl..."It's too hard to wait, mom! I'm only FIVE!" So I gave in this weekend. I know, bad mom. He'll have like one present left to open on Christmas. But one is better than NONE!

I guess I better gear up for the week. I woke up with a sore throat and have felt crappy all day, so lets see how well this week goes, eh? Only four days though! Friday is a holiday.

And Tuesday is my birthday. CAKE!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Goblet comes to Montello

We finally saw the new Harry Potter movie last night! For those of you who do not know, Montello has a rad little movie theater - pictured to the left in a terribly dark and gloomy photography. I think I took that picture right before it dumped about 7 inches of snow on us.
Isn't our theater cute? It has one screen and these uncomfortable wooden seats, but the ticket prices ($3 - all ages, all shows) can't be beat! Last night, Masud, Isaac and I went to see the movie, and it cost a grand total of $16, including large popcorn and soda, gummi worms and gobstoppers. What a deal!

My sister, however, wanted to see Narnia, so she drove 45 minutes to Portage, where she paid $7.50 per ticket and a lot more for her sourpatch kids.

We really enjoyed the movie, although it was a little bit scary for Isaac. He didn't understand a lot of it - I spent half an hour explaining to him why Harry's parents came back when he was fighting Voldemort. Isaac's probably way too young for this movie, but I never would have been able to get away with not letting him see it. He'll get it in a few years, and it was a fun family night anyway!

Have a great weekend everyone, and don't forget to vote for my NYR! (My hit counter shows that lots of people have visited since I posted the vote request, but only three people have voted so far. Let's get crackin'! This is a democratic blog!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A vote: What Should Katie's New Year's Resolution Be?

I never took NYR's seriously until three years ago when I resolved to floss every day. I actually started flossing every day, and I still do it. It didn't cure my cavity-prone-ness (Sonya the dentist, do you have any input on that?) but it sure did make those twice yearly cleanings less painful! I discovered that NYR's are a great way (for me) to change a bad habit or start a new good one.

This year I'm having trouble deciding what to resolve. I need your help. Below are some of my ideas (with rationale), and I want you, my loyal readers, to vote on which one I should take on.

If you think you have a better one than I listed, feel free to submit it. It has to go by these rules, though:
1) It can not have anything to do with losing weight, exercising, or otherwise restricting/requiring diet or exercise.
2) It has to be feasible - and feasible for you may not be feasible for me. (If you don't know me in real life, here's a clue. I prefer sitting to any other activity. So don't recommend that I take up hiking. See rule #1.)
3) It has to be free. I'm broke. (Yes, I know I have a job now, but I'm still broke.)

So here are my ideas. Friendly critiques are encouraged.

1) (My personal favorite) I resolve to read all the books that are on my book shelf that I have purchased but not read yet.

Rationale: I have the habit of buying books because I love them and want to read them at some point. Usually, I am already reading too many books and the new book goes on the bookshelf for "later". I have about 25 books that need to be read. Fiction, non-fiction, self help, spiritual, poetry - they are just waiting for me. But I keep getting other books from the library or buying new books, and these have just sat here - some of them for years - and every time we move I get mad at myself for not reading them. If I read them, then I can get rid of them and not have to lug them around the world with me (and buy more).

2) I resolve to learn the art of palm reading.

Rationale: This is something that I've wanted to do for a while, but it became a more prominent goal when I was in India last January. Kei, Tanya and I went to a weirdo palm reader on the beach in Kerala (check my blog archives from January 2005 - I'm too tired and lazy to put in a link). Then we went to a less weird palm reader/astrologer in Kolkata. It was so fun! Then I bought a palm reading book in a bookstore there, and I decided to learn how. Think of how cool I'll be at parties! I won't be stuck for things to talk about every again!

3) I resolve to learn Spanish.

Rationale: This would be a good career move - people who can speak Spanish are IN DEMAND, especially in the human services fields. It's been a personal goal for a while, but I have lacked the determination. A NYR might just do the trick.

4) I resolve to go through all of the Bangla workbooks that I bought in Bangladesh, so that I don't forget how to read Bangla.

Rationale: It was damn hard to learn how to read Bangla, and I don't want that to go to waste! This probably would not be a great asset to me in my career (presently, anyway) but it would be a rad skill to have.

5) I resolve to save my spare change in a jar, and when the jar is full, to put it into the savings account that I do NOT spend.

Rationale: Who are we kidding. That one is never gonna happen. I'd probaby spend it all on books!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Isaac's comments about the KKK.

Setting: I am reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Isaac is bored, so I read some of it out loud to him. It happens to be a paragraph about Martin Luther King Jr. and the KKK. It said something about the KKK stealing babies. (Yes. I realize now that maybe this wasn't an appropriate paragraph to read to my five year old.)

Isaac: Mom, what is KKK?
Me: It's a group of white people that think they are better than all other people who are not white. They are mean.
Isaac: Why did they steal the babies?
Me: They are bad guys. Don't worry, they don't live around here.

Fifteen minutes later, we go to the library to return the book

Isaac (to the librarian): Did you know about the KKK?
Librarian: Yes, I know a little about them.
Isaac: They are bad guys. They steal babies. We should call the police to put them in jail.
Librarian: That's a good idea.
Isaac: I know.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Speaking of Bombs...

There have been TWO bomb threats in the past TWO weeks at the local high school. Isaac's elementary school is attached to the high school, so the threats resulted in all children being evacuated. The younger kids walked across the street to the nursing home, and the high schoolers had to sit on cold buses for three hours with no coats. (For those of you who live in warm parts of the country, it has been near zero degrees farenheit here for the past few weeks.)

The administration is MAD. Their budget is already tight, and these incidents require lots 'o cash to resolve. In a small community like this, it's not something we can afford to spend money on. The art department resorted to selling ice cream during lunch as a means of raising cash (I know the teacher is buying supplies out of her own pocket - a fact that is very common around here.) I have heard that one of the neighboring towns has had four bomb threats so far this year at their school. If each of these incidents costs $5000, that adds up to a huge chunk of the budget.

I wonder if the number of bomb threats/school violence incidents goes up when our nation is at war. Every day, we are bombarded with images of war, warned of the risk of terrorism, and told that violence is the way to safety and freedom. What kind of message does that send to our children?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Here come the suicide bombers.

There has been a recent hike in the number of violent bomb incidents in Bangladesh. The government is trying to crack down on Islamic fundamentalism, and the radical groups are retaliating. They have started using suicide bombers.

My heart is breaking for Bangladesh.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Say what?

Setting: Our living room, Katie and Isaac watching TV. It's been an intense day of sickness, nose blowing, medicating and doctor's visits. Katie is surfing the net, Isaac is blowing his nose.

Isaac, looks up suddenly: It's hard to take care of kids, isn't it, mom?
Katie: It sure is, dude, but I love taking care of you.
Isaac, pondering: I love that you take care of me.
Katie - feels warm and fuzzy...
Isaac: Mom?
Katie: Yes, baby?
Isaac: I just farted.

So much for warm fuzzies.

Transitions Suck.

Research has proven it, and now I'm livin' it.

Isaac is sick, AGAIN, and I had to stay home from my new job already. Sigh. It just so happens that he got sick on the day that my mom and dad were busy and Masud had a big meeting at work. So much for my "support system"!

Hopefully the bugs will work themselves out soon. Bug #1: Isaac has been SO SICK for the past few months. He has filled his sick-quota for the entire school year, I think. Bug #2: What do working mothers do when their kids are sick? They can't go to school, and should not go to day care either, so what do people do? Especially single moms, what do they do? Please tell me!!! Bug #3: I don't officially have an office yet, and I don't have a schedule yet, either. Hmmmm. Hard to plan ahead.

I'm really tired, too, because I was up all night with him last night. I think I'm gonna turn in early. Like right now. Nite nite. Zzzzzzzz.

Friday, December 02, 2005

If you have time...

check out this post by one of my favorite bloggers, Bitch Ph.D., about her radical married feminist manifesto. Fair warning: there are swear words in this post, but damn, they're worth it.

My friends are in the news!

Kathy Ward sent me this link to a picture of my Nari Jibon friends. They are in a group called Ulka Nari Shongbad, and were marching in a Dhaka procession for World AIDS Day. I think I can make out Anowara in the back and I recognize Suriya's forehead in the middle...the women in front are also familiar. You go girls!

I'm home.

It's always good to get away for a few days, but even better to come home. DC was great, nice and warm actually, but I was pretty busy. Plus, for some reason, I couldn't sleep - so I am exhausted today. I had hoped to meet up with fellow bloggers and hospitable Bangladeshis Zeenat and Tanveer, but it was not to be. Maybe next time, dudes!

Thursday morning I managed to run over to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where - this is going to sound nerdy - I gleefully viewed Abraham Lincoln's top hat and other presidential memorabilia, because I just finished reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. I also put a penny in one of those machines that squishes it flat and prints a little design on the front. Yes, I am a total dork. Picture me running through the exhibits (because I've got to catch my plane) - I got a map ahead of time and knew right where to go - up to the third floor for the Lincoln exhibit, then down to the first floor for the First Ladies exhibit, then the lower level for the penny squishing.

I will understand if none of you return to my blog for a long time.

Masud and Isaac survived my absence, and Masud even did the laundry and washed the dishes while I was gone! Maybe there is hope, after all!

Time for me to get a little work done and then go up to school to observe Isaac's recess shenanigans. He's been having issues with getting picked on at recess and I'm going up to make sure it stops. Nobody picks on my boy, even if his mom is huge dork!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Carb Orgy

Since I don't eat meat, I generally glut on carbs during the holidays. Yesterday I enjoyed a plate full of the worst simple carbohydrates possible...rolls, potatoes, stuffing...and complemented it with my grandma's special cranberry/orange salad and about a quart of dill pickles. Then I polished it off with the pumpkin pie I made - not too shabby although the crust was hard as cardboard.

It was nice to have my family here. We all squeezed into the living room, and I forgot to take pictures. I am usually really good about taking pictures but this year I spaced out. Oh well, I'm sure there will be another chance at Christmas. We opened a bottle of wine, which was apparently very potent, because Masud needed a three hour nap after guzzling a glass. I stuck to beer - wine gives me a headache.

Although I swore to myself several years ago that I would never go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving again, I needed to get some clothes so I braved the mall. It was horrible and I hurt myself on someone's stroller. Why on earth would any sane mother take her young children shopping on a day like today? Please tell me? The sales are not even that great!!

Anyways, the reason that I needed to buy clothes is a good one. Ladies and gentlemen, you will all be relieved to know that I am no longer a HOUSEWIFE. Yes, as of 5:30 on Wednesday, I am the County Prevention Coordinator! I am starting on Monday at 11:33 a.m., when I will board a plane for DC and attend two days of mandatory training for the grant that supports my salary. Talk about hitting the ground running! I am spending the weekend reading pages and pages of goals and objectives, trying to familiarize myself with the substance abuse prevention program I will be implementing over the next five years.

Masud is very happy that he's not the sole breadwinner anymore, and I'm happy to be able to contribute to the family money pot. I really think I'll like this job - it's exactly what I went to school for (and why I should not be using dangling prepositions in my writing). Plus, I don't have to drive very far, only about 15 minutes. Let's hear it for short commutes! And free trips to DC!

In other news, Isaac lost another tooth today. He has a bit of a lisp!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Today's List

I'm allowing myself a blog post as long as I can do it while I finish my morning cuppa. There's a lot to do around here and it appears that I am the only one here to do it. Thanksgiving dinner is to be held at my house, and that means I need to make it grandma-proof by the end of tomorrow - not an easy task when we're in rennovation mode!

Here is my to do list, in no particular order:

1) Finish painting the bedroom walls.
2) Paint bedroom trim.
3) Move furniture where it belongs.
4) Organize the house so that people can walk through it without breaking a hip.
5) Shorten (and iron) my new curtains for the living room so they don't ignite on the baseboard heater.
6) Find a clean surface on which to place my small tinsel tree (Thanksgiving tradition - put tree up after we eat).
7) Vacuum and mop (Uggggg)
8) Laundry
9) Go to second job interview at 2:15
10) Wrap presents that will be prizes in our family bingo game.
11) Figure out where to seat 10 people. (Scrounge up some plates.)
12) Buy ingredients for pumpkin pie (mmmmmm).
13) Make pumpkin pie.

I hate to end my post on that unlucky number, but I just got a mouthful of coffee grounds, so that must mean I'm done.

Stay tuned for cute pictures of Isaac, who lost his first tooth yesterday!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bangladeshi people are happy people.

A friend of mine emailed me this BBC story about a survey that they conducted in Bangladesh. I was already aware of most of the findings, but the last page reminded me of something I used to say all the time. "Bangladeshi people are some of the poorest in the world, but despite that fact, they are happy."

I stopped saying that after I spent nine months there, because I saw a lot of sadness and grief. Honestly, it's very hard to be happy when you are starving. Yes, people that I met briefly - rickshaw-wallahs, taxi drivers, guards - spoke of their happiness and pride in their country. They would always ask me, "English Madam, what do you think of my country?" I would reply that I love Bangladesh, and watch their face brighten in a shining smile of white teeth. They would tell me how happy they are.

But there were people that I got to know on a more intimate level - my friends at Nari Jibon, Momota - who helped me take care of Isaac, the house girls that lived with me in Malibag - they showed me the dark side of living in poverty. It is a place where happiness lies in usually unattainable things like safety, regular meals, a new outfit - things we take for granted every day in the US.

What I realized from this survey, which says that "70% of those canvassed agreed with the statement 'I am happy with my life today'," is that maybe this display of happiness has more to do with national pride and religious beliefs than actual happiness. Bangladeshis are very proud of their country - and rightfully so, since they fought so hard for it in 1971. They want bideshis (foreigners) to have a good impression of their country. Muslims believe that all the things that happen in our lives - both good and bad - are the will of Allah. Being unhappy with what Allah has given us would be a terrible and disrespectful sin. Many times, during times of hardship, I've heard people say, "It is the grace of Allah. It is the mercy of Allah. Allah knows what's best. Jak - Allah-Barashah"

Sometimes I do wonder - if, by some miracle, the grinding poverty, social inequality, corruption and tendency towards natural disasters could be lifted from Bangladesh, how would that change the expression of happiness in Bangladesh. What a glorious thought - to see the hopeful happiness that they project become reality.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Messy House

Here is what I am dealing with - we have to paint the walls before we can put in the floor, and we have to put in the floor before we put stuff away. So it's a mess in here. To prove it, here are some pictures.

The living room is a dark chocolate brown. Very yummy. I need to install some lights eventually, but it's coming out nicely.

Isaac's room is DONE - even the floor is in! He loves it. He's a neat freak and the messiness in the rest of the house was driving him bananas.

We chose a color called "Greench" for our office. It's a celery green. We have started calling this "The Kermit Room".

Our bedroom will be the last to be finished, since it will require taking apart our mammoth bed. I thought I wanted to paint it blue, but I'm sick of blue. Now I'm considering grey - I think I need a muted color to go with my bright wall hangings. Any advice?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm Feeling Lucky

Things are coming along nicely with our house...Isaac's room is done, the living room is painted, the office is almost painted, and hopefully we will lay the floor for both the office and living room this weekend. That will help a lot with the small, dangerous piles of rubble that cover the floors. We have to wear our shoes in the house - a cultural taboo in Bangladesh, but a necessary evil here.

I'm not quite up to writing a witty post yet, so bear with me. In the mean time you may want to entertain yourself with this little trick that my brother told me about. Go to Google and type "failure" in the search field. Click on the "I'm feeling lucky" button. (If you have the Google Toolbar, click on the arrow of the search button and scroll down to "I'm Feeling Lucky".)

When the page comes up, please come back here and tell me what you think about the results. Was it a hacker? Does somebody at Google have it out for Bush? Whatever the case, it's pretty funny.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Do you know about this?

Thanks to Zeenat, who gave me another reason to procrastinate.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

List Mania (written on Friday...finally got around to posting!)

1. I’m too pooped to think of a theme for today’s post, so I’m going with another disjointed list. Living in a cluttered mess has definitely affected my gray matter.
2. Belated Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends! Eid was a bummer this year at our house – all I had time/energy to cook was some polau and meatballs. To tell you the truth, since I didn’t fast at all this year, I didn’t even realize it was Eid until my brother-in-law called. Masud’s sister Maya is really sick and in the hospital, so a somber attitude prevails in all of our Eid phone conversations.
3. Congratulations to my friend Wendy who got engaged last weekend!!! I’m already looking forward to the wedding. I’m planning to eat lots of cake.
4. I’ve been working in my dad’s gym all week so he can do things like install my natural gas water heater, my washer and dryer hookups, and figure out what the gross smell is coming from the back porch (my guess is: Dead Mouse). Since I’m here anyway, I’ve actually been exercising. I’d love to tell you that I feel great and will definitely keep it up, but that’s a lie.
5. I bought some paint for the bedrooms. I chose a slate blue – darker for our bedroom and lighter for Isaac’s. I thought it was a nice twilight color, sleep conducive, but I painted a 2-foot section and decided it looks more like a dungeon than anything. I bought another gallon of white and I’m going to try some mixing this weekend.
6. Still no news on a job for me. Sigh. I sent in my fingerprints and essential info with $100, so hopefully soon I’ll get my substitute teaching license.
7. Kathy Ward is going to Bangladesh on November 22. I’m jealous, and I really miss my friends there. I miss my friends in Minnesota, too. Lots of missing.
8. Isaac informed me that if he had a magic lamp with a genie in it, he would wish that he never had to go to school again. Apparently worksheets are boring.
9. I am sick AGAIN! I have had three consecutive colds in the past month and a half, all of them with their own special ickyness. I have the feeling that all the carpet removal will help. We bought some of that fake wood flooring and we’re excited to start laying it down this weekend.
10. A woman came into my dad’s gym yesterday while I was there – she is a little older than my mom. Her daughter, who was a little older than me, was killed in a car accident last week. Reality check.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

More proof of my maternal unworthiness.

Kids ask lots of questions. Sometimes it gets tiring, even annoying. Sometimes I make up the answers.

One of Isaac's favorite questions to ask is what things do. For example, yesterday we were driving to mom's house, and he said, "Mom, what do cars do?" I know that he means "How does a car work, who invented cars, what makes them move, why do we have to put gas in them, etc etc etc". So I make up a story about how internal combustion engines work and usually try to throw in some kind of moral to the story, like how hybrid cars are better for the environment and cheaper in the long run.

At some point, probably long ago, Isaac asked me what moths "do". When he wasn't satisfied with my answer of "Eat, sleep and poop", he said, "No, mom, what do they DO?"

Apparently, I then said, "They suck out your brains." This had to be more than a year ago, and he didn't mention it until last night.

We were walking out of my parents' house, it was dark, and there were moths flying around the porch light. He started running and screaming. I said, "What the heck, Isaac, what's wrong?" (Side note: Is it ok to say "What the heck" to a kid?) He said, "They are going to suck out my brain!!!" It took me fifteen minutes in the car to calm him down enough so we could drive home. When we got home, we googled "moth" and I showed him that moths don't suck people's brains out. But I couldn't resist saying, "The kind of moths that suck people's brains out only live in central North America."

"Mom, do we live close to central North America?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I'm back...with a new wireless DSL router!

Lots to report, so here's a convenient numbered list.

1. I am officially the worst mom in the world. I dropped Isaac off at school this morning, all the while saying to myself "Katie you have to remember that today is early release, that means he gets out at 2:40, so be here early." Well, at 2:53, there I was unpacking a box of plates, when the phone rang. I answered, and it was the school secretary (also a friend of mine) who said, "Hello, is this Katie, the mother of the year?" Poor Isaac was sitting in the hallway waiting for me. Aughhh!

2. I have avoided my usually Halloween candy binge this year, probably because I've been so busy cleaning, unpacking and basically trying not to lose my own head in the mess that is my house. I did buy a bag of Willy Wonka's mixed candy today - all the greats: Sweetarts, Runts, Laffy Taffy, Bottlecaps and Nerds, in small single serving packages. Halloween is great.

3. I still like our house. At the closing, the seller Mr. Zellmer signed everything and then told us that he had installed a new furnace. Everyone in the room - the realtor, the mortgage officer, the title company official - was speechless. We had already signed all the papers three weeks prior that said we would buy the house as is, and Mr. Zellmer went and spent a few thousand dollars to replace the furnace out of the kindness of his heart. It gave me hope for the human race.

4. Mr. Zellmer also gave us three lawn mowers (the yard is tiny but he says three lawn mowers were necessary), a snow blower, two vacuums and a carpet steamer, a dresser, a bed, a rad vintage sofa (I have started calling it the "davenport"), four lazy boys, a desk, a table and chairs, two chest freezers, a refrigerator and a stove. Seriously.

5. Isaac has bronchitis and some kind of stomach bug. He has to use an inhaler and he is on amoxicillin. (Does anyone elses children turn into demon spawn when they are on amoxicillin?)

6. My brother came back safely from China. He really wants to move there now. I hope he does, cuz then I'll get to visit him.

7. My grandpa walks his dog, Chips, down in front of my house every morning. He stands there and talks to me and doesn't notice that Chips is pooping on my lawn. I feel bad to mention it, so I come out later with a baggie and clean up. Ewww.

8. I can't believe that last year at this time I was in Comilla. They ran a picture in the local paper of John Kerry campaigning in Milwaukee - he was standing in front of some beautiful autumn leaves - and I remember feeling so homesick! It's good to be here, George W. and all.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Brief Hiatus

Last post from Minnesota!

Since my DSL will be cut off momentarily and I'll be consumed with unpacking for the next few days (weeks, years?), my next post may be delayed.

Masud is here for the weekend. Most of everything we own is crammed into our living room and kitchen, since I'm trying to have the rest of the house nice and clean before we leave. It's causing some familial strife, and reminds me of that Sex and the City episode where Aiden has moved all of his boxes into Carrie's apartment and they have a fight about it. During a particularily tense spousal conversation, Masud said, "There is just too much stuff to deal with in this family!" I wasn't sure if he was talking about material posessions or emotional baggage, or both. Whatever he meant, I know we are both looking forward to having a normal life and living together as a family again someday soon.

In other news, my brother made is safely to the other side of the world, and is enjoying a good time with his girlfriend. When I asked him how China was, he said "There are a lot of Chinese people here." Sigh.

And, of course since I am busy for the first time in months, I just now happened to find a great book to read - one of those that I have to force myself to put down so that I can finish doing important things. Although I'm usually skeptical of Oprah's book club selections, I had to pick up "A Million Tiny Pieces" by James Frey. Let me tell you, it's a doozey. It's an autobiographical account of his experiences in rehab. I won't reveal too much, but there is a part where he has to get a double root canal, and since he's in rehab, he can't have ANY ANESTHESIA. Not even one little shot. I almost threw up when I read it.

Well, back to staring helplessly at piles of junk and eating kitkats to sustain myself.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Do you care about my pictures?

Check out Isaac's new hairstyle! He is SO RAD!

Rob used to have a natural mohawk - no gel needed. Mom called it his "rooster". Rob is supposed to be flying to China tomorrow - if the UPS guy came with his visa and passport today, that is.

This is a picture of the house we are trying to buy. October 17 is a possible closing date. I've got my fingers crossed!

This is the two-car garage that comes with our house. The part on the left converts into a screened-in patio in the summer. Rad.

This weekend was Princeton's Harvest Moon Festival. The drama group from Montello High School did a "living statues" thing to raise money. They stood still until somebody put money in their little buckets, and then they would move around. This dude actually made his own armor. He's rad.

Page was the Tin Man. Those pants are not flattering.

A conversation.

Isaac: Mom, will you spike up my hair into a mohawk today?
Me: Sure, dude! That will be rad! What do you think your friends at school will say?
Isaac: They will say, "What happened to your hair?"
Me: What will you say?
Isaac: I'm RAD!
Me: What if they don't know what RAD means?
Isaac: I'll have to 'splain it to them. It means I'm a cool dude.

Rock on, Isaac. Rock on.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another day, another box.

As moving day (theoretically) gets closer, I spent the day packing and stacking boxes. Masud's little Subaru has a surprising amount of space in it, so all the boxes I spent last week packing up have been carted off to Wisconsin already. I am leaving tomorrow afternoon, so I got busy and made a new pile. It seems like I've made some headway, although I am still intimidated by the mountains of things that I own. I am going home this week because I have an interview - a real one for a real job that I really want - on Thursday. I'm incredibly nervous. Being rejected for the flunky jobs is not bad, but not getting the job I went to school in hopes of getting, that would be a blow. I'm kindof expecting that I WON'T get the job. They scheduled me at the very end of the day, so I'm the last interviewee. Do you think that means they are saving the best for last? I doubt it. But I bought a snazzy new outfit yesterday in hopes of winning them over with style. I'll let you know if it works.

My mother-in-law left on Saturday. She is now basking in the California sun with my brother in law Mithu. I do miss having her here at night - it gets a little bit spooky here, especially with the bright red neon cross that they light up on top of hte Lutheran Church. It shines this red glow through my bedroom windows and makes me think of Satan. Scary.

In other news, since our bank loan has been approved I can officially announce that we are buying a house. We found this adorable tiny place on Main Street in Montello. It's an old two bedroom with just enough space for the three of us. It has a rad little garage that turns into a screened in patio in the summer. If I can remember to take my camera when we go home, I'll try to post some pics. We are just waiting for the bank's appraiser to make sure it's not a dump, and we can move in. I am HOPING that it won't be any later than next week Monday. PLEASE GOD, I hate being in limbo. Geez, I'm such a complainer!

Egad! Time to run up to school and get Isaac. Where did the day go???

Friday, September 30, 2005

Top 100 Hits of 1994 (The year I graduated from HS)

Now you will all know how bored I am. This is another one of those cute blog things. If you like the idea, post it on your own blog. Go to a site called Musical Outfitters, and type the year you graduated in the search box. It will give you a list of the top 100 songs for that year. Next, go through and bold the songs you liked, strikethrough the songs you hate, and leave the ones you are indifferent about. Thanks to Zeenat for the strikethrough code!

1. The Sign, Ace Of Base
2. I Swear, All-4-One
3. I'll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men
4. The Power Of Love, Celine Dion
5. Hero, Mariah Carey
6. Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories
7. Breathe Again, Toni Braxton
8. All For Love, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
9. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
10. Don't Turn Around, Ace Of Base
11. Bump N' Grind, R. Kelly
12. Again, Janet Jackson
13. I'll Remember, Madonna
14. Whatta Man, Salt-N-Pepa
15. Wild Night, John Mellencamp and Me'shell Ndegeocello
16. Without You / Never Forget You, Mariah Carey
17. You Mean The World To Me, Toni Braxton
18. Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Elton John
19. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, Prince Symbol
20. Fantastic Voyage, Coolio 21. Baby I Love Your Way, Big Mountain
22. Regulate, Warren G and Nate Dogg
23. If You Go, Jon Secada
24. Back and Forth, Aaliyah
25. Now And Forever, Richard Marx
26. When Can I See You, Babyface
27. Please Forgive Me, Bryan Adams
28. So Much In Love, All-4-One
29. Shoop, Salt-N-Pepa
30. Any Time, Any Place / And On And On, Janet Jackson
31. Shine, Collective Soul
32. Said I Loved You...But I Lied, Michael Bolton
33. Return To Innocence, Enigma
34. All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow
35. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, Crash Test Dummies
36. Can We Talk, Tevin Campbell
37. Funkdafied, Da Brat
38. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), Meat Loaf
39. Gangsta Lean, Drs
40. Because The Night, 10,000 Maniacs
41. Cantaloop, US3
42. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team (Ok I admit, I liked this song for 10 5 minutes.)
43. Come To My Window, Melissa Etheridge
44. Stroke You Up, Changing Faces
45. I'm Ready, Tevin Campbell
46. 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters
47. Anytime You Need A Friend, Mariah Carey
48. Because Of Love, Janet Jackson
49. Linger, Cranberries
50. Loser, Beck
51. Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms
52. Gin And Juice, Snoop Doggy Dogg
53. Never Lie, Immature

54. Streets Of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
55. Getto Jam, Domino
56. Endless Love, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
57. I Miss You w/ Aaron Hall 58, Understanding, Xscape
59. This D.J., Warren G
60. Cry For You, Jodeci
61. Keep Ya Head Up, 2Pac
62. Who Am I (What's My Name?), Snoop Doggy Dogg
63. Another Night, Real McCoy
64. Your Body's Callin', R. Kelly
65. Tootsee Roll, 69 Boyz

66. I Can See Clearly Now, Jimmy Cliff
67. Never Keeping Secrets, Babyface
68. Crazy, Aerosmith
70. At Your Best (You Are Love), Aaliyah
71. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, Meat Loaf
72 Amazing, Aerosmith

73. Always, Erasure
74. Groove Thang, Zhane
75. Dreams, Gabrielle
76. Mr. Vain, Culture Beat

77. Mary Jane's Last Dance, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
78. Anything, SWV
79. Beautiful In My Eyes, Joshua Kadison
80. Stay, Eternal
81. Flava In Ya Ear, Craig Mack
82. U.N.I.T.Y., Queen Latifah
83. Prayer For The Dying, Seal

84. Secret, Madonna
85. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
86. Everyday, Phil Collins
87. Don't Take The Girl, Tim McGraw
88. Got Me Waiting, Heavy D and The Boyz
89. December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Four Seasons
90. Indian Outlaw, Tim McGraw
91. Always, Bon Jovi
92. I'm The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
93. Back In The Day, Ahmad
94. Love Sneakin' Up On You, Bonnie Raitt
95. I'll Take You There, General Public
96. Always In My Heart, Tevin Campbell
97. What Is Love, Haddaway
98. And Our Feelings, Babyface
99. Bop Gun (One Nation), Ice Cube
100. I Wanna Be Down, Brandy

Color Quiz = Scarily Accurate

ColorQuiz.comKatie took the free personality test!

"Needs release from stress. Longs for peace, tranqu..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Food-aholics unite.

I think I wet my pants a little when I read this part of a post from Lightning Bug's Butt.

"Have you ever been eating food so good that you suddenly wish you had two stomachs? Or maybe a valve that could divert the food away from your belly and through an escape hatch. Some food tastes so good, I want to eat it alone. I don’t want anybody around who might talk to me and interrupt the mouth-loading process. Don’t talk to me. I’ve got a bucket of bite-sized cream puffs. Vocal communication will reduce throughput by 30%."

Drat! The networks want to ruin my life!

Since I had a kid and relenquished the TV to shows like Thomas the Tank Engine, Between the Lions and Spiderman, I have not been a very loyal tv watcher. When I was in jr. high/high school, I used to buy a copy of TV Guide once a year, when the new fall season started, and I would chart out my weekly tv watching schedule. That was back in the day when they didn't switch the schedule every other week. Anyway, I just happen to be very interested in three new shows this season, and imagine my sadness to discover that they are all on at the same time! This is a disaster.

Tonight the lineup is as follows:

8:00 p.m. (Central Time) CBS: The Amazing Race, Family Edition

8:00 p.m. (Central Time) ABC: Commander in Chief

8:00 p.m. (Central Time) NBC: My Name is Earl (and at 8:30, another good show, The Office)

And tonight, just to make it even harder to decide which show to tape, Isaac is performing the JWP school song and the Star Spangled Banner at the Homecoming Volleyball Game - his first public performance - and it's at...8:00 p.m.

Masud's favorite show is called "House" and it's on Fox. Guess what time: 8:00 p.m. central time, Tuesdays. The world is not fair.

I can only hope that they switch up the schedule again. If anyone from the networks is reading this, I can afford about an hour a night to watch TV, so please, PLEASE spread these out over a couple of nights!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

100 Things About Me

1. I am messy, but germ free.
2. I make to do lists and rarely complete them.
3. I’m really glad that I had a boy.
4. I don’t have a lot of friends.
5. I don’t want a lot of friends.
6. I can speak Bangla, and can sort of read and write it.
7. When I’m alone, I sing loudly and badly.
8. I think farts and poop jokes are hilarious.
9. I was a PK.
10. I graduated from high school when I was 17.
11. I can’t handle tooth pain.
12. I hate cooking, but am happy when something I cook is good.
13. My favorite food is dill pickles.
14. I wish I was brave enough to shave my head.
15. I have a tattoo on my back that I want to get fixed because it’s ugly.
16. I think people that have their tongues pierced are cool.
17. I think bellybutton piercings are gross.
18. I grew up Republican.
19. My husband is approximately 9 years older than me.
20. I can tell if I like a new person within 5 minutes of meeting them.
21. I am not a vegetarian because I feel bad for animals. Meat is gross.
22. I’m addicted to sugar.
23. My dream is to have a job that allows me to travel all over the world.
24. I don’t want to be rich, I just want enough.
25. I lie to people when I think the truth will hurt their feelings.
26. I have decided that I don’t hate math.
27. I want to start playing the piano again.
28. I want my son to become a doctor or the first minority President of the US.
29. I started reading when I was four.
30. I can recite all the presidents of the US.
31. I can recite all the books of the Bible.
32. My next goal is to learn Spanish.
33. Most of the time, I want to lose 25 lbs, but sometimes I like my pudgy self.
34. I want to adopt a child in maybe 10 years.
35. I’m scared to go to graduate school.
36. I love doing laundry, but hate doing dishes.
37. I want to see Tori Amos in concert before I die.
38. I have a crush on Ewan McGregor.
39. I don’t think it’s wrong to burn CDs from your friends.
40. I hope my son becomes a skateboarding dude.
41. I want to take martial arts lessons.
42. I like to drive 5 speed cars.
43. I believe in aliens.
44. I envy people who don’t care what others think.
45. I like brussel sprouts.
46. I don’t like mushrooms.
47. I have huge feet.
48. I don’t have a gallbladder.
49. I love reading bedtime stories.
50. I don’t like wine.
51. I enjoy cheesy tv shows like “American Idol”.
52. I’m addicted to Diet Coke.
53. I’m ashamed of some things I’ve done in the past.
54. My favorite color (presently) is red.
55. I want to design my own clothing line.
56. I miss painting and drawing.
57. I want to learn how to make stuff out of wood.
58. My best feature is my nose.
59. My nose is pierced.
60. I was really mean to my brother when we were little.
61. I was awesome to my sister when she was little.
62. I think my sister is really cool.
63. I like girl bands.
64. On my 21st birthday, I didn’t get to drink because I was in Bangladesh.
65. I oppose the death penalty.
66. I think all guns should be banned.
67. I gag when I clean the bathroom.
68. I’ve never, ever gone to a bar and gotten drunk. Not once.
69. I’ve gotten drunk in plenty of other places, though.
70. I never wanted to get married or have kids.
71. Many things that have happened in my life were a result of inertia.
72. I am really close to my mom.
73. I’m really afraid of the dark.
74. I have an anxiety problem.
75. I have told people that I hate them.
76. I used to get lots of speeding tickets.
77. My last speeding ticket was in 2001.
78. I have never had a car accident (while I was driving).
79. I have bad credit.
80. I can’t handle being a stay-at-home-mom.
81. If I don’t have something to worry about, my brain shuts down.
82. I break a lot of dishes on accident.
83. I hate wearing makeup.
84. I won $1000 at a casino after betting $2 in a slot machine.
85. I love butt massage.
86. I buy lots of books that I don’t have time to read.
87. I read 6 books at a time.
88. I loathe exercise but want to be physically fit.
89. I think mowing the lawn is stupid.
90. I collect statues of the Hindu god Ganesh.
91. I want to save the world.
92. I rarely shave my legs, and I have more body hair than some men.
93. I also rarely wear shorts.
94. I hate wearing skirts.
95. I wore only men’s pants until I had a baby and grew hips.
96. I have had 2 operations in my life so far.
97. I am afraid of death.
98. I want everyone to like me.
99. I had braces.
100. I think it is vain of me to assume that people want to know 100 things about me.

The Barbara Bush Blues

(reprinted from The Star Tribune, Sunday, September 25, 2005. Page AA6)

By Rohan Preston, Star Tribune Staff Writer

"So many of the [displaced] people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this [chuckle], this is working very well for them." -Barbara Bush, Houston, September 2005

Poor people everywhere:
hope for disaster, displacement, flood,
pray for mudslides, earthquakes, wildfires -
for that's when the going really gets good!

Pray to be flushed out of your home -
to watch it float away to rot:
pray to end up in the Astrodome
on a little Red Cross cot.

Away from the 'hood, you get nutritious food
and free dental care;
you get coupons to hoity-toity salons
that can scrub the goo from your hair.

You get clean clothes, deodorant soap
and warm water to wash;
you get all this and most every wish -
plus a tidy bit of cash.

True, you may lose some of your little bums
and your minimum-wage job,
but these are just blips: after the apocalypse
you live high on the hog.

So, clasp your hands and pray to join the thousands
living large and scot-free!
They've got such good gravy, forget First Lady -
I wanna be an evacuee.

Rohan Preston is at

Saturday, September 24, 2005

As if you didn't already know.

Isn't it funny that Republicans are right next to fascists on this graph? He he. You can all start calling me "comrade" now.

You are a

Social Liberal
(88% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(6% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Moving as workout: strength training + cardio.

Who needs Tae Bo when you have thousands of boxes to move?

Yesterday I spackled all the nail holes that I created. Then I painted the bathroom white, because I don't think the landlords liked the shade of orange I had painted it.

We still don't officially have a place to live yet, but I've been busily packing and sorting things into piles (dump, thrift store, and keep - just like that show on cable called "Clean Sweep"). My sedentary lifestyle is definitely catching up with me, because I'm so sore that I don't think I'd be able to handle the pain of a massage!

It's good pain, though. I'm so happy about this change that it's kindof scaring there some big catastrophe waiting for us around the corner? Or have I been living with "think the worst" Bengalis for too long?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Here's something weird I found today.

I was randomly surfing around today (yeah, I know, I must have too much time on my hands) when I stumbled across this weird archeological phenomenon.

At first, I thought it was a hoax, so I had to google it, and I found an actual town website for this area! They actually have this giant naked dude as their town logo! Hmmmmmm. Why didn't I learn about this during one of my ancient art history classes? It's pretty rad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Contemplating Moving...

I’ve been married for 8 years, and this will be the sixth move. That’s a lot of moving. I’m a pro at this point. I know how to box things up logically by room so that unpacking is easier, and I know what things I need to keep at the top of the pile (tools, box cutters, essential pots and pans for cooking those first meals, cleaning fluids, Isaac’s video games) so that they can be accessed immediately. It’s still a pain in the ass. The worst part for me is that I have grown attached to my surroundings and being a person who hates change, it’s hard to say goodbye.

Things I will miss about Janesville/Mankato:

1) This little farmhouse that we live in, while it has its problems (see next list), is so adorable and I just love it. Our landlords just resided it and it’s now as adorable outside as it is inside.
2) There are two parks right outside the door, and the school is within a 4-minute (slow) walk.
3) I have a huge clothesline in the back yard, and I love the smell of sheets hung out to dry in the summer breeze.
4) The town library is an old Carnegie building, and it reminds me of the library I used to go to as a little girl.
5) The grocery store in town has wood floors and rows and rows of the essentials (but no tofu), and I don’t think there are many stores like it left in the world. It’s kind of like one of those general stores from the olden days.
6) My good friends, Deb and Sue, both work at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and I will miss going to have lunch with them.
7) Mankato has a good library, and I could always go up to MSU to look at journals (ok I’m nerdy).
8) Both of the big supermarkets in Mankato have tofu AND organically grown produce.
9) Taekwondo
10) Minnesota Public Radio, one of the top NPR affiliates in the country is beyond great. I will miss it every day. Good thing they have podcasts!

Things I will NOT miss about Janesville/Mankato:

1) The mini-sized claw foot tub that we bathe in daily (we don’t have a shower), which I once adored, I now abhor!
2) There is a stinky smell that comes from the downstairs bathroom no matter how much I clean it.
3) This house has a closet dearth.
4) I hate having to drive five hours to see my parents.
5) Living close to the school has its disadvantages – when school gets out at 3, about 50 sixteen-year-olds drive past my house at high speeds and I’m terrified I’ll get run over one day. (Do I sound like a little old lady or what?)
6) Mowing this huge lawn sucks. So does shoveling the huge driveway.
7) Speaking of snow, this house is FREEZING in the winter and HOT in the summer.
8) Janesville has a lot of religious psychos living here. (Sorry if you are one of the religious psychos. I don't mean to sound like a bigot. But I guess I am.)
9) There is no place around here for me to go to grad school.
10) The kitchen floor in this house is gross.

Our house...

Since we are leaving, our landlords put the house we're renting up for sale. It's so sad. Despite some very aggravating problems, this house is adorable. I think our landlords are really sad about it, too. It was in their family for a long time, and they bought it because they loved it so much.

Today was a long day. I had to drop the car off early in the morning for some maintenance, and then I went to the MSU library to download some journal articles while I still have access. Then I had a last lunch (as opposed to a "last supper") with Deb and Sue, my bestest buds for the past 9 years. Today Sue mentioned that she's getting sick of all of these awful goodbyes we're having to say. At least this time I'm not going to the other side of the globe. Wisconsin is a visitable place, anyway.

I'm killing time, waiting for the finale of Rockstar INXS at 9:00 tonight. What is it about these "relative nobody goes on a primetime reality show and becomes a super famous singer" shows? They draw me in like a moth to the flame, and then I find myself wasting hours not only watching the show but either calling in my vote or logging on to the website and repeatedly clicking on the "Vote" button. Maybe I have a hidden desire to become a famous singer. I know I sure do envy Tanya's singin' skills! Talk about the life of the party!

Random question: If anyone who reads this knows how to do that cool strikethrough thing with text in HTML, can you please email me with instructions?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Decisions, decisions

Two things I hate worst of all in life are 1) having to make huge decisions in a short amount of time, and 2) uncertainty. They often go hand in hand, and usually end up giving me heartburn, insomnia and lots of zits.

We drove to Wisconsin on Thursday, hoping to spend a four-day weekend looking for apartments/houses/duplexes (dupli?) to rent. Mom and I drove around fruitlessly on Friday, and all the places we looked at were really expensive ($750 for a 2 bedroom pit in Portage? I don't think so!) and gross. I became depressed. Then we toyed with the idea of kicking Page out of my Grandma Hatch's little apartment that is attached to my mom and dad's house. We all decided that the place is much better suited to my neat-freak sister than the Zaman family. Cramming all of our stuff into that small space would have caused a minor breach in the time-space continuum. Plus, Page is really happy there and I'd feel like a jerk kicking her out.

So we're still not sure where we'll go. We have a few ideas, but I'm not going to tell you what they are until I am sure one of them will work...

So I'm still awash in uncertainty and decision-making agony. Plus, Masud is in Wisconsin (he bought a rad little Subaru station wagon that I love - bumper stickers shall be applied) and he's so busy with his new job that he's no help for my troubled soul. So I'm in Minnesota with the kid and the mother-in-law. And the un-mowed lawn. And the mountains of stuff to sort and pack. Sometimes I wonder how single mothers handle it all?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chakri Hoyegiyeche (The Job Has Been.)

I love literal translations of Bangla. It's funny. Like "Gondho Lage" means "I feel a smell." And "Juta Khulo" means "Open your shoes."

Anyways, Masud got a job offer on Friday, and it is a good one. He'll be a design engineer at Penda, which is a company that makes truck bedliners and irrigation systems (the link between the two being that they are both made from thermoformed plastic.) He is really excited because he gets to do a lot of hands-on stuff, he doesn't have to supervise anyone, and he will get to learn a whole bunch of new software. Always the nerd at heart, he can barely wait to get started.

The company is located in Portage, WI, which is smack-dab between my hometown and Madison - very, very perfect. I'm scouring the web for job possibilities in the area. There are not many "health" related jobs, but a ton of office jobs that I'm sure I could make do with.

Masud is going to start work on the 19th of this month, and I'm going to slowly pack up our belongings and get ready to move. We have to find a place, first, which is why we decided to take things slowly.

Now comes the hard part...making decisions. Where should we look for an apartment, where should Isaac go to school, where will I be working, should we live closer to Madison in case I get into grad school, we have to buy a car in the next week, etc etc etc. Agony for people like me who HATE MAKING DECISIONS.

In other news, I've become addicted to other people's blogs. If you are at work and need to waste time, or even if you don't need to waste time, check these out. Fair warning: Some of these blogs may be offensive to some people. There is some swearing involved in some of them, and sexual references in others. I think they are funny as hell.

Adventures of a Domestic Engineer
pop fizz
Short and Sweet Like Me
Bitch Ph.D.
The Best Page in the Universe
Uncle Torture
White Noise

Reading these blogs kindof makes me an insecure blogger. My blog is just not cool when compared to them. And I'm thinking I need a new name for my blog, and also I kinda wish I had refered to my loved ones with cool nicknames like these people do. (Ex-Bitch Ph.D. calls her child Psuedonymous Kid, Short and Sweet calls her husband "the boy".) Oh well, we all know I'm uncool anyways, there's no use pretending. But if anyone has suggestions for a new name for my blog, please hand it over.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I feel that I need to explain why I have not mentioned Hurricane Katrina. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Natural disasters are awful. Couldn't somebody have helped people get out of there before it hit? What are we, a developing country? Why are people still dying? It's insane, and I'm going to stop talking about it now before I get on a soapbox.

The "bewful girl" and the "mean boy"

Isaac came home from his first day at school completely exhausted. Sensing that he didn't feel like talking, I gave him some chocolate milk and put on a movie so he could relax. Over the past two days, I've gotten little hints of information here and there. Here's an example of our conversation.

"Hey mom, do you know in tae kwon do when I was doing those kicks? That was pretty cool, huh, mom?"
"Yes, Isaac, you were pretty good!"
"I can't wait to break another board, mom. There was a bewful girl at school, mom."
"I'm excited to watch you break another board, too, Isaac! Tell me about the beautiful girl."
"She was bewful, mom. I tried to talk to her, but she was too shy and she didn't say anything."
"Maybe you can try to talk to her again on Tuesday."
"Mom, can I dig a hole in the back yard and bury something in it?"

In another conversation, we were talking about why beach balls float, and he suddenly mentioned a mean boy.

"Was the boy mean to you or to somebody else, Isaac?"
"He was mean to me. He laughed at me when I was handsome."
"Why do you think he laughed?"
"He's not handsome. He wore pajamas all day."
"Maybe he was jealous of your handsomeness."
"Will my basketball float like this beach ball?"

As much as I want to push the issue and find out as much as I can about Bewful Girl and Mean Boy, I know it's best not to make a big deal about it. The social world of's a mystery indeed.

I got 7 out of 10 right, which means I passed. This is a darn hard test! Try it and let me know what you get (click on the title above).

Friday, September 02, 2005


Isaac is so happy today!

Here's where I started bawling and had to run away and leave Masud to deal with this moment by himself. I think Isaac started to realize that he had to leave us and go in by himself.
That's his teacher in the foreground.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Books I'm Currently Reading

One of the perks of being jobless is that I have time to read. Since tomorrow is Isaac's first day of school, I am anticipating glorious minutes of uninterruped reading time. Here are some of the several books I have dog-eared at the moment.

1. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics by Cynthia Enloe (Because I know nothing about international politics or feminism)
2. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (because she's my new favorite author)
3. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (because I got the book for 25 cents at a garage sale and think I should read at least one Margaret Atwood book)
4. Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David Hawkins (because it's good stuff, Meynard)
5. Sex-workers in Bangladesh: Livelihood at what price? by Qurratul-Ain-Tahmina and Shishir Moral (Because I need to work my way through the pile of books I brought home from Bangladesh, one by one)

There you have it, a book for any mood...

My mother-in-law thinks it's weird that I take books into the bathtub with me. It's something I've done and loved as long as I can remember. My mom and dad remember it, too, cause they were always knocking on the door telling me to get out of the tub.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Geography Bowl

I have made a resolution to learn some world geography, starting with our friends to the north. With some fancy googling, I found that there is a cool website that has these downloadable puzzle maps that help children and remedial adults like me learn geography. I downloaded the Canada one, and much to my surprise, I learned that Ontario is not a city, but a huge province! Also, I thought that Canada was cut into four big chunks, but it turns out there are actually 13 "chunks" including little Prince Edward Island.

Now that I've educated you about Canada, go to the website and download the puzzle so you can learn and be smart like me. My new rule is, if you can't name the territories, you can't be my friend.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dumb ribbon magnets make me mad.

One of the weirder things that happened in this country while I was gone was the invention of those magnets that people stick on their cars in lieu of bumper stickers. They usually are yellow or red/white/blue with "Support our troops" written in an ugly script font on them.

Now, I know that people have become very fervent since the whole 9-11/Iraq war deal, and I know that many people are feeling the need to express their views. Everyone who saw my old Volkswagen Fox knows that I'm a huge fan of the bumper sticker. But, geez, if you really believe in something, there are a hell of a lot of better ways to say it than a freaking magnet! They are not even permanent! (Not that I would want you to ruin the paint job on your Durango, but if you're gonna say it, then say it for life, dude! Make a freaking commitment!)

Anyway, what really makes me mad about this is that somebody probably paid $5 for a piece of crap that was made in China (those businessmen are laughing their asses off at you people!) And what have you accomplished? You've created an eyesore. Bumper stickers are supposed to make you unique and help people to contemplate something. For example, there is a great bumper sticker that says "Visualize whirled peas." That is a cool bumper sticker. But what the hell do I care that you "Support the troops"? Everybody "supports the troops". We do it whether we want to or not with our tax dollars, and of course we don't want to see our friends and countrymen killed in a war. So what exactly are you telling me to do?

A much better use of your $5 would be to buy some Oreos and ship them over to the troops. Or, call up that phone number on the Christian Compassion website and donate the five dollars to feed a hungry kid so the fundamentalists can't lure him in with food and convert him into a terrorist. Or, hey, send it to me. I'll give it to my friend who is in the national guard. He was in Iraq, and I'm sure he'd appreciate some support.

Anyways, with a little savvy googling, I found some other people who hate those ribbon magnets. You can even buy a magnet from them that says "I support the guy in China who makes these idiotic magnets." Now THAT'S worthy of my bumper.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

My son, the yellow belt taekwondo champion.

Here's my adorable boy, pre-test. He is so darn cute in that outfit!
I'm sorry, is it annoying when a parent gushes over their own child?

Here they are warming up with one of the junior black belts.

Looks like that kid on the right has a wedgie.

As part of his test, he had to break a board using "hammer fist".

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my weak little dude broke the hell out of that board!

(OK, so it was on the second try, and I think Master Winkler kindof bent it a little.)

Isaac had just gotten his belt, and was supposed to stand at attention,

but he couldn't resist showing me his new belt. Awwww!

This is Isaac with his hero, Master Winkler.

Master Winkler's got it goin' on. Uh-huh.