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.