Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Rundown

Here's what they're gonnna learn me at the U this semester:

Sociology of Gender: this awesome class is only 1 credit, and all I really need to do is show up for the class in order to get credit. I get to rub elbows with many of the dissertators from the top sociology department in the nation and learn the ropes while discussing gender issues. What could be more awesome???

Stats for Sociologists II: the sequel to last semesters "easy" stats class. It's not going to be easy this time around. We will be learning about something called "logit models" and logistical regression. Useful but painful for the brain.

Labor in an Integrated World: Globalization, labor movements and how things have changed in the last 50 years. Awesome.

Economic Geography: This class deals with globalization and the creation of new "knowledge spaces", or international collaborations between educational institutions. Love it.

Sociology of Socio-Economic Change and Development: another 1 credit seminar where I can just sit and listen (maybe talk sometimes) as the divine dissertators talk about stuff.

Development Studies Seminar: a 1 credit class for which I'll need to make a presentation, do weekly readings and contribute thoughtfully to the group. This is the only class that I have with ALL the other development studies program students, and I have the feeling it's going to be great. But I'm also intimidated. I'm always intimidated - that's so lame.

All in all, this semester is probably going to be more work than last semester, but at the same time it's going to be way more relevant and FUN. If my brain explodes, at least I'll be enjoying myself while it happens.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Nobody's born a bigot.

But it sure sets in quick.

Isaac has been telling tales for some time - there was the girl who said he was adopted because he doesn't look like his mom. Innocent mistake, I thought, and explained to him what it meant to be adopted, and that it's not a bad thing, and why the girl might have thought he was adopted.

Then a girl told him that "Bangladeshi people stink." A tad more offensive, but easy to laugh at. Yes, some Bangladeshi people do stink, but so do some Americans. And I bet that little girl would stink after a day in 104 degree weather! Ha ha, he he.

But yesterday he came home with another story. It seems his buddy "D." said some horrible things, most notably, "I wish Bangladesh would get bombed." Isaac took that one hard. I asked him why he thought D. said it, and Isaac said that the other kids don't like to hear about Bangladesh. I managed to keep my voice calm and come up with some soothing words, but in my mind I was thinking, "Next time I see that little asshole I'm gonna give him a piece of my mind!!" Then, my jewel of a child says, "Mom, I have an idea. When Baba comes to visit, why don't you both come to my class and talk about Bangladesh? Then the other kids will learn about it, and maybe they'll understand and not be mean."

Oh I love him! I've worried about the whole race thing for a long time - even before I married Masud, actually. Being mixed race is tough, or so I've read. But I think he's got the strength to handle it, and I'm starting to chill out a little. And maybe these trials will help him to become a great diplomat, and he'll grow up to solve the Middle East crisis or something. You never know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Buns in the Ovens

It seems like everyone I know is pregnant. Warning: if you know me, be sure to have safe sex because I must be giving off some kind of fertility vibe. One woman in my office just had her second baby girl (she's also a PhD student!), another woman I work with is 3 centimeters dilated and will go any day now, and another friend from high school is getting ready for her first baby. My cyber-buddy Big W has an ADORABLE baby girl whom I've never met but am in love with. Another good friend of mine just announced yesterday that she is pregnant with her fourth child.

While my own uterus is closed for business, I still am amazed at the miracle of parenthood. It's such a life-changing, soul-shaking, utterly incapacitating and exhilarating experience. The instant that little squirmy being came out of my body and was place in my arms, I immediately understood unconditional love. I knew that I would easily throw myself off a building in order to keep him safe and happy. It only gets better with each milestone: walking, talking, and now losing teeth and reading. I feel so fortunate that the universe saw fit to give us to each other.

It seems appropriate to note that it's blog for choice day. Please head over to Bitch Ph.D.'s blog and read her wonderful post about pregnancy. She discusses the fact that even in our modern world of birth control and IVF, pregnancy is often not a matter of choice. A great read.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Brady Bunch

My good friend Shompa revealed to me that it is not necessary to pay the exorbitant fees charged by places such as Kinkos or Walgreens for taking passport sized pictures. Thanks to her, I took these myself and made sure they were the requisite 2x2 size and as I type they are being printed out at the local one-hour photo place. Now we can all get our passports renewed so we can go to Mexico in June!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Brokeback Mountain

I finally watched this movie last night and I loved it so much! If you have not seen it yet, you definitly should. It's a beautiful love story. After I got done watching, I had to call Masud and tell him how much I love him.


No, my internet connection is STILL NOT FIXED. I am sitting in the cafeteria of the local high school because they have wi-fi here. I just finished serving dinner for the Montello Community Dinner Theater, and I have some au jus dribbling down the front of my shirt, but I thought I'd check my email anyway.

For some reason, I can't seem to get my attitude right about starting the new semester. While I'm looking forward to my new classes, other less pleasant aspects of the impending semester are not sitting well. I dread the four hours of commuting, and the fact that I have to get into my cold car, and then into a cold van and then walk a cold walk before I get to my office at 7 a.m. - oh Lord. I am trying to have a more healthy approach to grades but I know that anything less than an A is not going to satisfy me. And I'm resolving not to procrastinate this semester - but I do that every semester.

As a matter of fact, that's what I'm doing right now!

But I'm sure once I "get into my routine", things will be easier. I hope.

Now I need your opinion. I have FOUR friends who at any moment will be squeezing out a baby. Actually one of them already gave birth a few weeks ago. I want to buy them something fun, and I'm thinking of this t-shirt I found on state street that says, "I might barf." (it's for the baby to wear.) Now, I find that hilarious, but the question is, do other people?? I've learned that not everyone enjoys laughing about bodily fluids the way I do. Opinions?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why doesn't blogger let me post more than five pictures per post?

Gina and I both made pies. Gina's was better - my mom keeps talking about how good it was! Mine went in the garbage yesterday. It tasted like Gerber baby food.

I wrapped Gina up in this cheap sari and she looked like a true "buri" (old lady). Sorry Gina, but we need to get you a flashy Bollywood sari!!!

Sister love.

More love. Geez, I hold that dog a lot.

Gina taught me how to waltz.

Dinner party pictures

Devon is our new buddy, and Said brought dinner from his restaurant.

We played a "get to know each other" game. It turned out to be really fun, especially when Said had to read the word "turd".

I think Page was trying to avoid the camera, but her boyfriend Andy is a ham. (And he's really nice.)

We had a little "Gina-roke" as Gina sight-read some of the songs from my dad's 60's music book. I think we were a little too loud. Rajas is good at singing Beatles songs.

Here I am pretending to play the piano. All those lessons with Mean Mrs. Adrian, and I can barely remember the notes on the bass staff!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Damn the Wilderness!!!

Having time off from school is so great – all companies should give at least a month’s vacation so that employees can sloth the days away and return to work with a renewed desire to…not be slothful. But here in the wilderness, where my internet is STILL not working, I am slowly beginning to go mad.

My satellite internet was installed on December 15, and it worked for approximately one week before the lights on my new modem fizzled to a pathetic flicker. The repair man came and tried to fix it but determined that either the dish or the modem is defective. Of course he had installed the very last dish that he had in stock two days previous, and another one won’t be available until the end of this week. So here I sit, typing this post on my laptop in my kitchen, and I’ll have to save it and post it whenever I finally get up the courage to brave the 3 degree weather to go to a hot spot and upload.

Technology blues aside, I have had a wonderful break. My closet and dressers got cleaned out and organized, my fellowship applications got written (almost), and Isaac remembers what it’s like to have a mom. I’ve even managed to host a small dinner party (pictures forthcoming). I still have three glorious days off this week before I plunge into the next semester.

Right now I’m trying to decide whether I should take a shower or work on my to-do list. I love this dilemma.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


TKP asked for a reading list, so here it is. It's kinda short right now because I got frustrated with's listmania function - but that means you can get through it quickly, and then you'll know everything that I know!

Monday, January 08, 2007

A Wedding!

My brother Rob knows how to torture me. Way back in November, we were chatting online and he sent this horrible sentence: "Can you keep a secret?"

He knows I can't!!! I'm a terrible secret-keeper, so don't tell me your secrets. I can't even keep my own damn secrets! I just feel the need to share - the weight of holding secrets inside is too much for me.

Anyway, the secret was that he was planning to propose to Lisa over Christmas. He did, she said yes, and so now I can finally release my secret to the whole world!

They are going to get married in June, and we're all going to Mexico to celebrate with them. My dad is going to officiate and the wedding will be on the beach.

Isaac is really excited that he has a new aunt. He's been bemoaning the fact that he has more Bangladesh relatives than American ones. I told Rob and Lisa to start the kid factory right away so Isaac can have some cousins in the Midwest.

(A little bummer note: Rob and Lisa have mono! Send them get-well-soon vibes!)


My internet is not working and I'm so mad about it I could pee. Of course the customer service phone number makes me wait on hold for at least half an hour before they answer, and then they promised me that the installer would call me within a day to set up a time to fix it. That was Friday, and still no phone call. Grrrrrr.

I had a great weekend, chillin' with my sistah mostly. We went to State Street on Friday where I spent money that I didn't mean to. We had a great lunch at Qdoba (which I've decided that I prefer to Chipotle, but I'm not sure why.) We also visited our Grandma H. on Saturday and Grandma and Grandpa M. on Sunday. Those are hard visits but it was nice to have her with me.

I'm working almost every day this week in order to get almost every day off next week. I love days off.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ten days in Ohio

Nothing against Ohio, but I don’t like it. This is mostly because I’m mad that Masud’s company is located here and not in Madison. Masud’s little one-bedroom apartment is located right next to the NFL Hall of Fame, and overlooks a pile of rubble that used to be a bowling alley. The Hall of Fame is great if you care about football (which we don’t), and the pile of rubble is a depressing view out the living room window. Canton is bigger than I thought, and has all the big stores, and even some of the small ones, but I find it depressing because my Dear Husband has to be here all by himself.

We did have a nice, nearly fight-free visit, though. The first three days were mostly filled with naps. On Christmas morning, Isaac was pleased to discover that Santa had found us all the way in Ohio, and left a magician’s kit, a pirate telescope, and a fun card game under the table where we left the cookies. (No Christmas tree in this Halal household!)

The day after Christmas, we foolishly decided to go shopping. We first went to Masud’s very favorite store, “The Dollar Tree”. Upon entering, I noticed that Masud had been to the store before, and equipped his kitchen from the wide array of flimsy utensils and cookware on display. Isaac made a beeline for the toy department, and promptly filled his basket with Yu-Gi-Oh! Marbles. I’m not sure what he’s going to do with them, but they are in his new Star Wars Pencil Case that we bought at Target later that day. We had planned to visit several stores, but we were nearly killed several times by erratic drivers and wayward shopping carts. I had forgotten that the day after Christmas is the Second Worst Shopping Day of the Year. And the sales were not even that great!

By far the highlight of our trip was our visit to Michigan and Canada. We drove up after Masud got off work on Friday and met Tanya at her sister Sonya’s place in Ann Arbor. I consider Tanya my Best Friend Who Has Been To Bangladesh and Who Therefore Understands. We had a great meal at this place called Seva, where everything on the menu was vegetarian and I became dizzy trying to decide what to order. I usually have the choice of the house salad or cheese pizza from the kid’s menu. I settled on some kind of enchilada with pineapple salsa and it was oh, so good. Tanya also has beautiful long black hair and I’ve decided to try to grow mine out. I know it won't be the gorgeous silken blackness that I envied, but I've never had long hair so I figured I'd give it a try.

We then continued on to Canada, via the aptly named “Bridge to Canada” between Detroit and Windsor. I found Canada to be very much like the US, only more expensive and a little weird. Case in point: Tim Hortons, Canada’s version of Starbucks, is found on every city block, but when we went in and I ordered a skim latte, the woman behind the counter looked at me like I was speaking Bangla and asked her boss, “What’s a latte?” They serve plain coffee, coffee with cream, sugar or both, or mochas. And donuts. Good donuts.

We had a great visit with my buddy Shompa, though. Shompa used to live with us back in the day, and she’s up in Canada with her hubby Shumon. They are presently either on the plane or sleeping off their jet lag in Bangladesh, in preparation for their THIRD wedding celebration. They sure know how to party.

Anyway, some of you may know that Isaac is a tad particular about which kind of adult he will allow to touch his gameboy. Said adults must be extremely calm, soft-spoken and NOT aggressive. Shompa and Shumon both fit the bill, and Isaac had a great time with them this weekend. Masud ate lots of spicy Desh food (we even stopped for some misti on the way home), and I got to reconnect with a good friend with whom I had lost touch. It was a great visit, and now I can say that I’ve been to Canada!

The last two days of our trip were sad, because the three of us kept thinking about the fact that our time together was almost over. Isaac has cried because he doesn’t want his baba to be alone, and I’ve cried because I miss hearing Masud sing his ridiculous Rabindra one-liners.

We’re all trying to focus on the future when we’ll be able to live under one roof again. It was good to visit, and I can’t wait for the next one, but somehow these brief connections make the pain of separation more acute than ever.