Monday, April 30, 2007

Advice needed.

I've recently learned that I don't have a very good handle on what is and is not socially acceptable for a seven-year-old to say, so I need some advice. My question involves one of my favorite cartoons on Cartoon Network, namely Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Not only does this cartoon have excellent illustration, witty dialog, and a diverse cast of characters, it also makes heavy use of potty humor. We all know I'm a huge fan of potty humor.

The above graphic is an illustration of the character named "Cheese". Cheese is an annoyingly adorable little guy who likes to repeat phrases such as "I like chocolate milk", "I like cereal", and "do-it-again-do-it-again-do-it-again..." ad nauseum.

Isaac and I LOVE cheese. Here is a great example of the genius of Cheese from you tube:

Note the last line in the clip - where Cheese says, "I pooted."

Yes, I laughed out loud.

So here is my question: I drew the above graphic with the accompanying text, and plan to make a t-shirt for Isaac. Is it okay for Isaac to wear the shirt to school? I know he is not allowed to use the word "fart" in school, nor is he allowed to make farting noises with his mouth or any other body part. He is also VERY aware of the fact that he is supposed to say "excuse me" when he lets one slip.

I REALLY want him to wear the shirt to school, just to push the envelop. Is that bad? Tell me honestly now!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend Report

1. First of all, I'm posting this picture because I find it aesthetically pleasing:

2. Hobnob thinks he looks "pensive" in this picture:

3. This is how the Domestic Nemesis looks when she's working really hard on her paper:

4. My mom has converted Isaac into a full-blown gardening addict:

5. Our neighbor has a big truck thing and he is helping us to beautify the yard for the wedding in August. (Update: the wedding location has been moved from Mexico to the Wilderness, because who likes beaches in June anyways!!)

6. I forgot to wish TKP a very happy birthday yesterday. I suck.

7. In a magnificent feat of procrastinatory genius, today I accomplished the following:
-Cleaned out the dead hermit crab cage, the fish tank, and the bird cage.
-Got all of our summer clothes out and put away our winter clothes.
-Went into the scary storage shed and got a bunch of paintings, clothes, shoes and other miscellanea and put them away (only eight months after moving in, it might be a record!)
-Did three loads of laundry.
-Hung pictures on the wall.
-Untangled various electrical cords and sorted them appropriately.
-Found three big bags of crap to donate to Goodwill.
-Put all of my empty cloth bags in the car to use the next time I go grocery shopping.
-Swept (this never happens.)
-Cooked a healthy meal.
-Found and addressed a belated birthday card to TKP.
-Picked about 50 ticks off my kid, myself and my dogs.
-Arranged my homework on the table and then ignored it.

8. I have two weeks left of classes and then finals week begins. Oh God, there is no way I can finish everything I need to in this small amount of time.

9. That probably means that I should stop blogging and go work on the Poisson distribution homework sitting on my table....

10. Okay, okay, fine. I'm going. But first I'm going to make some tea - maybe I should organize my underwear drawer...

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I'm not talking about the neurological kind, either. Folks, I live in the wilderness, and out here we have tall grass and open fields, the ideal breeding ground for wood ticks, the kind that latch on and suck blood. (Wendell, didn't you do a post about ticks? I should link to it but I'm too lazy to look for it.) I grew up with them and therefore am not a wimp about finding one on my bod. (Snakes are another story...see previous post involving a snake for photographic evidence.) This year has been particularly bad tick-wise, so I've been talking to my friends about it. So far, every single person has flinched or made a grimmace, or in some cases even squealed. In fact, I'm starting to think that I should stop mentioning the ticks, because people are starting to give me sidelong glances. My soon-to-be-sister-in-law Lisa might call off the wedding that we're planning to have out here unless we fumigate the yard. I guess I can't blame her - who would want to send their guests home with a head-full of ticks!!

Anyway, I have nothing interesting to post about today and thought I'd share about the tick situation. The combination of mild winter weather and the fact that my dogs are both really short has given the ticks in our yard a great opportunity. It seems like the dogs go out roaming for 10 seconds and come back covered in bugs. I have picked over 200 ticks off the dogs in the past week.

I'm sure you think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. And I'm not counting the ticks that I've pulled off of myself and Isaac.

Each tick that attaches itself to my doggies creates a huge welt, so they are covered in horrible bald spots from scratching.

The horrible pesticide medication called "Frontline" doesn't seem to work. I have to wait another month before applying a different kind of medicine that will hopefully work better, so until then I have to try other tactics. I shaved them both today so now the ticks have less hair to grab onto, and I also gave them both baths in some pesticide shampoo. I'm sure it's really good that I had to let it soak into their skin (and hence into my own skin). Probably carcinogenic. But frankly, I can't handle another night of tick-picking.

So there you have it. Next time I do a picking session, I'll take a picture of all the ticks I get off. And the buggers don't die so I put them in a cup of boiling water and then dump them down the drain. Tick tea. Now that's gross.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The demise of Sauron and Voldemort

It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of our beloved Sauron and Voldemort. Last week, Voldemort was seen streaking through the sand without his shell. We wrote it off as a fluke exhibition. Last Friday I noticed that Voldemort appeared to be losing legs, and indeed, when I picked up his shell on Wednesday night, he fell right out of it, dead as a doornail. I figured it was just old age or something (perhaps bad karma from when he brutally murdered Tough Jumbo and his wife, Raki), but then today I noticed that Sauron was not hiding in his shell when I watered him - I picked him up and, plop, he fell out of his shell, too.

It sucks to lose pets.

But I don't think I'll be replacing them any time soon. I told Isaac it was because I wasn't ready to love another crab yet, but the truth is that it stresses me out to be solely responsible for their happiness. I mean, I can only provide care for so many living things, and with all the ticks that have been attaching themselves to my dogs, the living-things-limit has been reached.

Anyway, if you think of it, say a prayer to the Hermit Crab Goddess for their smooth transition into the Hermit Crab Spirit Realm. We'll be having a funeral this weekend, and hopefully their bodies will provide nourishment for Isaac's garden this summer. Farewell, my evil-looking friends. I wish you happiness in the sand pit in the sky.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This post is slightly political.

I'm trying to tone down the politics on my blog. It seems that I've offended some people in the past few weeks - not on my blog (that I know of anyway) but in real life, so I'm making a conscious effort to self-censor in order to maintain my tolerant and open-minded persona. I mean, I guess if I call myself a tolerant person, I have to be open-minded about close-minded people, too, right? Was that offensive? I don't mean it to be.

Anyway, I just couldn't resist putting up these links about feminism. The very word "feminist" seems to have a negative connotation for some people, and I would like to offer some information that might help us all to understand it a little more.

So, if you're interested, here are some great resources (possibly some "gentler" alternatives to my links to Bitch Ph.D. and Twisty).

Alternet is featuring an article about a new book by the executive editor of blog, Jessica Valenti. I am definitely going to check this book out from the library as soon as I have a spare moment to read something that hasn't been assigned by a professor. If you do nothing else, at least read the excerpt of her book (available at the link). It's a quick, easy read and I promise you'll learn something.

You should also check out the feministing blog. It's great.

And if you have a few moments, read a little about the death threats that Kathy Sierra received on her blog. Makes one reconsider the advisability of having their real name on their weblog.

For those of you who may want to delve a little deeper, may I recommend this book:

I have not actually read the whole thing, but it's a short book (as the title implies) and it's a very comprehensive introduction. We're all busy, so books like this that require little time investment and give big returns are great!

Another great resources is Ms. Magazine. If you've never read it, I highly recommend going to the library and just browsing a few issues, or go to your local cooperative bookstore and pick up this month's issue.

Oh, oh! And don't forget the f-word!

Now here's your assignment: In the comments, give me your definition of feminism (if you're brave enough!)

End political post.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

As if I didn't have enough drama in my life.

The good news: Masud is still here! He gets to stay for another week. His wonderful boss over in Ohio has been so good about letting Masud come and see us, and now he gave us an extension.

More good news: We're getting a new car! We're almost positive that we're getting a Toyota Corolla - a total Deshi Gari but hey, why not give in to the stereotypes. The car is the best one for the money!

The bad news: The reason Masud is still here and his boss gave him an extra week and we are getting a new car is because Masud had a horrible accident yesterday. It was a really bad accident - and we're all so thankful that he's not hurt too badly (actually I'm thankful that he's still alive!) Some of you know that Masud has had more than a few accidents in the past, so when he called to tell me I wasn't really even upset. "Oh, great, how much is this one gonna cost us?" But when I went and saw the car, I started having a panic attack. It was really bad. The car is totaled.

So obviously yesterday I got nothing done - I sat in the waiting room at the ER watching CNN and had to go outside. The talk about Virginia Tech and then the new shooting at was just too much and I needed air.

Today I tried hard to read my articles but slept on the couch instead. I also pondered the tastiness of Cheddar Goldfish crackers and grape juice. A heavenly combination.

Hug your families tonight. Accidents happen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Way too many events!

I'm so sorry for the blogular paucity in the past few days, but I have been one busy grad student. Here is the breakdown:

Thursday Night: Masud came home! He was supposed to come home on Friday night so it was quite a nice surprise!

Saturday Night: Went out to eat in Oshkosh and met Lisa's family and discussed wedding plans.

Tuesday Night: Saw RAVI SHANKAR and his daughter ANOUSHKA in concert in Madison! I didn't even know he was coming to town until my friend Hob Knob found mention of it in the local paper. We immediately bought tickets and Masud and I enjoyed it immensely. The man is 87 and he kicked that sitar's ass, seriously. And Anoushka? If you ever get a chance to see her play, you won't be disappointed. Amazing.

Wednesday: I spent about 4 hours today at an anti-war rally. Before the rally, I helped a friend with a little civil disobedience (we "borrowed" a white board from a brownbag seminar that was in progress, and took it down to the rally and had people write their thoughts about the war on it) It was all videotaped so I'm hoping to get a you tube link up here sometime soon. Then we listened to some great anti-war speakers and marched loudly up State Street to the capital. We forced our way into Senator Kohl's office to make our demands. He's not there, but many of the protesters are sitting in his office (it's now 11 p.m.) waiting for him to come back from DC. I want to go into details but I fear my blog constituency will foment a protest of their own if I continue...

Also today...I did my stats homework and it actually made sense! Hooray for Katie, the mediocre student!

I'll post protest pics as soon as the Domestic Nemesis gets around to sending them to me!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Take that, stats test.

My friend Benjamin Froglegs has the following quote on his email signature:

"The examination is nothing but the bureaucratic baptism of knowledge, the official recognition of the transubstantiation of profane knowledge into sacred knowledge." -Karl Marx

I've never had to work so hard to be mediocre.

Click to enlarge.

I got my stats exam back yesterday. To my relief, I got a B. It was a high B. One more point and it would have been an A/B, but why split hairs, I'm just glad it's not a C. I guess I'll have to settle for a B, because that's all my puny brain can manage.

This is the page that sealed my fate, the loathesome Bernoulli variables. Most everybody got this wrong, I think, because this page basically tests skills at algebra and memorization of useless facts. Since I am in a STATISTICS class because I want to learn how to analyze DATA, I didn't focus on MEMORIZING USELESS ALGEBRAIC DERIVATIONS, especially since in the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY we have these things called COMPUTERS which actually do the math FOR US. Yes, I am shouting.

For the record, if I had gotten these correct, I would have bumped up into the A category on the curve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Morning So Far

In case you wondered, here's a typical morning in the Zaman bungalow.

5:48 a.m. - Dogs wake me up to go pee two minutes before my alarm goes off.
6:01 a.m. - Wash dishes so that I have something to take my lunch in. Let dogs back in.
6:16 a.m. - Put load of laundry in the washer because I have no pants to wear. Realize that it won't be done in time, find pants at back of closet that are really too thin to wear on a cold April day in Wisconsin.
6:30 a.m. - Finish showering, hear Isaac calling from the bed - he's crying.
6:35 a.m. - Done dressing - run out and see what happened because Isaac has worked himself up into an anxiety attack.
6:45 a.m. - Manage to discern that Isaac thinks he is going to be late for school. Calm him down by saying that I will accompany him to get a tardy slip and take all the blame for the tardiness.
7:01 a.m. - Pack two lunches, make two breakfasts, cajole Isaac into brushing his teeth and getting dressed.
7:15 a.m. - Dad says we're getting a snowstorm tonight. I have a late meeting. Might as well stay in Madison. Now I have to pack. Damn I have no pants.
7:35 a.m. - Hair is still wet, where are my socks? Is Isaac ready for school? Where is his backpack?
7:45 a.m. - OK, everything is packed: Lunches, Overnight bag, backpacks, purse, keys, money, cell phone.
7:52 a.m. - Isaac is definitely late now. Let's get in the car.
8:01 a.m. - request tardy slip from the office. Walk Isaac into class. He has really bad hat hair. Do first graders care?
8:10 a.m. - In the car, on the way to class. Sleepy. Drink coffee.
9:14 a.m. - Park in absent friend's garage. Now I have to walk to school, but I have to pee.
9:24 a.m. - stop in Union South to pee. I'm sweating because I wore a sweater AND a heavy jacket in anticipation of the snowstorm.
10:07 a.m. - arrive at memorial library computer lab. Think about doing some homework. Check email and write stupid blog instead.
10:23 a.m. - Post to blog. Run outside to catch #80 bus to go to stats class. Maybe I'll get my test back today. I might be sad later.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Minnesota Trip: Part IV

Some other things:

1. Isaac was really good on the five-hour car trip this time, although he did ask lots of hard-to-answer questions like "How long is a moment?" (If anyone knows of a simple way to answer that question, please tell me in the comments, because I blabbered on for five minutes and I still don't think he knows how long a moment is.)

2. Critter sightings for Wendell: I saw not one but TWO wolves!! Sadly, they were dead on the side of the highway near Tomah.

3. Big dogs have big poops. I like my small dogs and their small poops.

4. One of Rob and Lisa's cats is really weird. Every time I went to the bathroom, he would stand by the door and mew, and then stick his paw through the crack between the door and the floor. Here is his picture:

5. The movie Happy Feet seems to have a great soundtrack, as well as a great message about the environment and learning to love your unique strengths.

6. The movie Man of the Year is great, and I need to add it to my "Favorite Movies" list.

7. I'm really sad that spring break is over.

8. I'm really, REALLY sad that it's freezing cold outside again.

9. Bangladesh beat South Africa at cricket. South Africa was ranked number one. This is a big deal.

10. While I was gone, my dad painted my living room. (You might have noticed the strange paint on the walls in some of those snake pictures. I was experimenting with different colors, and finally settled on one just in time for spring break to be over. I love my dad.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Minnesota Trip: Part III

Rob commissioned me to paint these for him - he needed to hang something on the wall to get rid of a nasty echo. I'm not sure if they liked the end product, but we had a lot of fun painting them together.

This is a better picture of Lisa, and a worse one of me.

Their dog Riley wanted to come to Wisconsin with me. He jumped in my Honda as I was pakcing the car up.

Another shot of the paintings - they are six feet by three feet each!!!

Minnesota Trip: Part II

The real reason for the visit was to see my bro and his fiance, and to check out their new pad, and to see how their whirlpool tub worked. :-)

Lisa and Rob are getting married this June, so it was nice to hang out with her and get to know her better.

Of course, Rob is a total clown.

We painted Easter eggs. (I don't believe that God ever died, but I don't mind the fun pagan traditions!) Isaac stuck with abstract expressionism, Rob made his egg into a watermelon, and I tried to get fancy and ended up with a green bug on a blue egg.

Lisa's were much more successful!

Minnesota Trip: Part I

Isaac and I left on Thursday for a trip to visit my brother Rob and his fiance Lisa for the weekend. It was a lot of fun! Here's what we did on Friday:

I met my good friend D. and her daughter Maddie for lunch. Maddie's Nana came along, too!

Of course, the entire time both of us snapped pictures of our kids like mad, but I forgot to get one of D. and me together.

We've been friends for over ten years! Can the term "soul mates" apply to any two people who have a sublime connection (not only romantic partners?)

Maybe at Isaac and Maddie's wedding, we'll actually manage to have our pictures take together!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ode to the Van Pool

I once rode a van, the color of blue
Here is my story, almost all of it true.

Our leader was Julie, an interesting gal
She is so kind and became agreat pal.
Julie's sister named Julie, who was found after all
Took Julie to Londonwhere she had a ball.

Then there's Linda the driver, so brave and so steady
She's always on time with the van warm and ready

And Bonnie, she's great, with a strong faith in God
But don't mention the spider or she'll head for the sod!

And good-hearted Sue, with so many pets
She'll save a cute puppy or a snake that eats rats.

Then my good buddy Lynn, as thin as a bird
I know she won't mind if I say the F-Word.

Tonya who taught me such a useful skill
How to ride the bus and avoid a parking bill.

Number two Linda who rides with such ease,
She needs a passport to see her daughter overseas.

Then there's Teresa who answers the phone
If you call her at work, she'll throw you a bone.

Lambert and Judy come last but not least
A great new rider and her companion beast
Some days when I feel like I just can't go on
I think of this single mom and my insides grow strong.

So please don't forget me, my fellow van riders
We're in this together, all us North Siders.
I joined for some savings, and maybe some sleep
But I got some new friends, whom I hope to keep!

I sent my poem to the Van Pool Ladies, and got this in response from Bonnie.

We know a girl named Katie,
She doesn't drive a Mercedes,
She taught us about countries on the map
and then she settled in for a nap.
Don't offer her a anything made of meat
or she'll gag and tell you what's good to eat.
We miss her stories and laughter
and sharing at work and after.

We miss you Katie!!!!!