October 31, 2008

Hey, after we bring Democracy to Iraq, you think we could see about getting some of that over here, too??

Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for all the posting ideas. I will get through them, I swear.

First and foremost, I did post over at Brit's crib yesterday about the so-called dangers of Free Range Trick or Treating. Check it out!

Now, for some questions:
Several of you asked about Halloween costumes. I will post snaps later, although there is one on Brit's site. This year, Arun is an astronaut and Anjali is a witch. Originally, Arun wanted to be a rocket which would been a blast (pun intended) to create. Realistically, however, a 3 year old being a rocket would have been a pain. We get a lot of mileage out of our costumes - between Boo at the Zoo, Arun's school functions and Halloween itself. I know some folks are adamant about only wearing costumes on Halloween itself, but Arun's enthusiasm does not seem dampened yet for his costume.

Also, several of you asked about Asshole #1. Um. Hmmm. I am not comfortable laying out all of the sordid story here, but I will tell the short version. We began dating when I was 18 and we dated for over 4 years during which we thought we would get married. The relationship had all the usual markings of first love, youth, immaturity and spats. Lots and lots of spats. It took me a long time to get over that relationship which was not helped by the fact that while dating, the guy insisted Certain Events did not happen and that I was a crazy, jealous lunatic to think so yet when we broke up, I found out that lots and lots of Certain Events did, indeed, happen.

I do not regret the relationship though. Because of the relationship, I was enmeshed in a fun group of diverse cultures - Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Sri Lankan, Middle Eastern and South American. We were an eclectic bunch and truly, my college years were so much fun because of the folks I got to hang out with (for one, we always had the best dance parties!) Also, because of the relationship, I did go to Pakistan in 1993. Someday, Brash, I promise I will post about it. I will try to do that within the next month or so.

Anyway, that relationship made me who I am today. After my experiences, Central Asia wormed its way into my being, never to leave. It is also why marrying an Indian Catholic was absolutely the very best situation for me and as such, my family did not think twice of it when X and I began dating. I truly feel I have the best of both worlds! I could not have married a more perfect guy for me.

Everyone should be so fortunate to say that, right? Right.

October 29, 2008

Stay with me, will you not?

Updated to Add: I am totally outing and nullifying "jhawks379" from any and all future questions. Folks....... not only was she my very first roommate in college and supposed BFF, she was the nefarious soul who actually introduced me to Asshole #1. She is an "innocent" fraud lurking in our midst. Beware!

Updated to Also Add: I love Jhawks379 more than my luggage. *sniff*

In an attempt to hobble my way through this major blogging funk in which I am still hopelessly mired, I am going to resort to scattered thoughts. Please excuse the mess while my blogging psyche is under reconstruction.....

Space Invader: Tomorrow, I will be guest-posting over at Brit's crib!

Odd Fear: I am terrified of being diagnosed with high blood pressure, but not for reasons you may think. I love, love sunflower seeds, like as in a "must eat a bit of them every day and will actually have my stomach twist in knots if I cannot have them" way. When I went to Pakistan for 6 weeks, I took 6 lbs of seeds with me, but ran out in Week 4. Dude. It was easier giving up cigarettes for that 6 weeks, than it was my seeds for 2 weeks. I have been hooked on seeds since I was 8 years old and it is still my favorite way to read a book - with a bowl of seeds at hand.

My Grandma Rocks: My grandma was warning me about possible riots next week if Obama loses. However, she totally and completely mangled Obama's name. I gently chided her, "Grandma, you need to learn how to pronounce his name as he is going to be our next President." To her credit, she giggled right along with me. I have also ribbed her about not voting so that her vote will not cancel out mine. I love my grandma so much, she is one of the single most important influences on my life. When she is gone, there will be a gaping hole in my life that will not ever quite heal. Ever.

Butting Heads: The past few weeks have been tortutous. Arun has a staph infection which requires the nastiest antibiotic known to man. I feel so bad for this kid having to suck down that bitter syrup. But not so bad that I am not unwilling to sit on his arms and pry his maw open to squirt to the back of his mouth because OMFG if he spits it out one more time I am going to lose my mind so help me GOD. Also, Anajli is cutting molars and has an ear infection, which is like gooeylicious icing on top of my crapcake.

Facing Your Past: Facebook is cracking me up. Seriously. My friends on there are from all over my past and my present. In fact, for a few days, I was convinced my grade school bully was trying to add me as a friend. For what? To apologize? To cyber-bully me? I was relieved to find it was a case of mistaken identity. Also, a warning - Facebook and wine do not mix. I repeat, Facebook and wine do not mix. Folks, I almost Friended an ex-boyfriend, Asshole #1. Why? Why? Because Bacchus is a mean pervert, that is why.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Here is your chance. Ask a question. Any inquiries that do not involve my social security number, blood type, preferred sexual position, etc. will be answered. Help a blogger out. Please.

October 24, 2008

What do folks in China call their good plates?

Arun is v. v. particular about the temperature of his food. If the food is the tiniest bit hot, nay, warm, then he will refuse to eat it. Serious negotiations then must be commenced in an effort to get him to at least give the food a second chance. I find it slightly ironic that I heat a frozen pizza in the oven, then proceed to stick it back into the freezer to cool it off.

So, last week Arun turned 3. I did not write about it and honestly? Did not feel particularly compelled to scribble some maudlin drivel about it- we were busy with some family things last week and on his actual birthday, went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day and we had a blast. Therefore, writing a blog post fell very low on the To Do list last. I know, I know..... the nerve, of actually doing things rather than writing about them. I will say this - the age of 3 has some unique challenges. Sigh. But. The imagination, the games he makes up, the willingness to help me, the bizarre logic, the "I have a great idea" declarations? Make it all worth it. He is so much fun these days and it makes up for the difficult days when he seems to be under the mistaken impression that he knows more than I do.

In other news, Anjali got another haircut last week. Her hair is such a rat's nest, that for the time being, we are going to continue with regular haircuts until all of her "adult" hair comes in. At best, I am hoping for "mop-headed" in the meantime. Yes, if all her curls end up getting cut off and her hair ends up straight, I will be a little sad. However, having her walk around looking all raggedly would be worse. And here, we truly have a cultural difference between white folk and brown folk. Indians? Not only cut baby hair, they shave it. However, the hair gets all evened out and this why Indian babies/toddlers have such gorgeous hair.

Hmmm, I had wanted write more - there have been some interesting things on Oprah about teaching kids about money -- how to responsible for it and how to appreciate it. I have thoughts on this and want to hear yours as well. I feel a quandary that I suspect many folks are in as well. X and I are extremely appreciate of all that we have. ALL OF IT. We both grew up in very modest households, so we do not take anything we have for granted. How do we ensure our children appreciate what they have? Anyway, I cannot go in more detail right now because as it turns out, life is interfering. I have two kids motioning towards the door and crying "Go! Go!".

Simian Snappage

These Shoes Were Made for Splashing In.

Raggedy Anjali

Mr. Mischief? Indeed.

October 23, 2008

Back already?

Hmmm, posting yesterday inspired me to write some more.

A few weeks ago, I hired a photographer to take some professional quality photos of the kids. Frankly, my past experiences with Target and Portrait Innovations had left me less than impressed, so I decided to turn to an independent photographer.

Honestly? The photo shoot did not go so well. The kids were tired, Anjali was teething (I found out later) and it was quite windy at the site. Anjali spent a good amount of the shoot crying and Arun was quite spastic and running around, which does not lend itself for you know, still photography.

But, Jenn did it. She was so professional, so gentle and so patient. She has a few of the photos on her blog and that is just a small sampling of the beautiful shots she was able to wrangle out of my crabby, hyperactive children. I cannot recommend her enough - she does shoots in the Kansas City and Lawrence areas. Her sitting fees are ridiculously affordable and I am worried she is going to realize that eventually. Take advantage of her service sooner than later, folks. In fact, I was so happy with her services that I am more than willing to pay another sitting fee and try this whole thing again. If she was able to get such gorgeous shots of them while they were cranky, I can only imagine what she will be able to do when they are happy.

October 22, 2008

Is blogging dead?

Dear, dear neighbors,
If you happen to hear me barking at my oldest male child, please do not be alarmed. That is his preferred mode of communication these days as he has decided he would rather be a dog, than a boy. And as such, who am I to deny my precious boy of his heart's desire?


So. According to this article on Wired, Blogging is SO 2004. As the author purports:
Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug.

Writing a weblog today isn't the bright idea it was four years ago. The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It's almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

Frankly, I am not convinced and it seems the author was purposely writing an inflammatory article in order to drive traffic. It is fairly obvious to anyone wandering over here that my wee site is just a personal thing for myself and a few friends. I will never reach a massive audience, nor do I have any intentions of doing so. I do see what the author is saying for "professionals" trying to get "the word out" via what basically amounts to an online magazine. It is obvious that particular space is already saturated with established blogs and devoted audiences. However, I think the article underestimates what having a personal blog can do for an individual. I believe that blogging is still an excellent medium for non-professionals to explore their own thoughts and ideas while providing a platform to discuss with friends - both real-life and imaginary.

Ironically, the article came just as I have found myself mired neck deep into a major blogging tar pit. I am finding my usage of Facebook and Twitter has gone up considerably, but have had difficulty crafting anything to put out here. Quite frankly, Facebook and Twitter are a nice spot for me get things out quickly with minimal commitment.

I have tried not to care much that I am in a writing funk and am hoping I get inspired soon to write something. I do miss writing, I miss that creative element of staring at a blank screen and filling it. And that? Is enough to convince me that at least this blog is not dead.

October 17, 2008

Thank you.

I simply cannot think of a snarky, smarmy, odd question for today's title.

Thank you. Thank you.

I received so many kind, thoughtful comments, emails and donations regarding my post about autism and how it has wormed its mysterious way into my family. I never, ever expected to raise $200 towards this walk. Realistically, I had hoped to match my own $50 and that was all. I cannot even begin to describe how proud I was that I raised 4x that amount. No, no....I am not proud of me, but proud of the blogosphere. All of us who are out here lurking and connecting.

A month ago, I was with a group of gals and we were talking about blogs in general. One of the gals emphatically declared that she "could never keep a journal online" and inferred that it would be icky to do so. It is very difficult to explain at times how blogging is simply a different form of social media and networking.

Now? I have a sweet story of how blogging is so much more than an "online journal". It truly is a community.

October 14, 2008

What am I getting at?

I try to keep things fairly light here. I also try to keep things fairly confined to me, myself and I. Oh sure, I unabashedly hawk my children's privacy in the grand tradition of Blog Fodder, but overall, I do try to keep a down low on the Drama.

As such, I have not talked much about my friend J's cancer. Something that is on my mind every single day and often, in my dreams now. Here on this wee site, I leave out most of my fears for her. The horror of what she is facing and how I look at my own children and wonder if she will even live long enough to experience the same milestones as I am with them.

As such, I do not talk much about how terribly I miss my Aunt Peggy and how the little things will rise up and smack me upside the head. Like, this historical election of which I desperately want know what she thinks (I had a dream about that, as well.) Like, how her birthday was this past Saturday. So, no. I do not talk about how I still get weepy over my Aunt Peggy's absence. She was 87 and I know that we were so very lucky to have had her as long as I did.

As such, there are a myriad of other things going on around here that I just do not talk about here.


I also do not talk much about autism here. How it has affected my brother's life and now my younger nephew's life. I do not talk about the frustrations I have felt as I have seen my father, stepmother, sister and brother-in-law all navigate the mystery that is autism. The frustrations they have faced in finding resources - good grief, even in getting a diagnosis. The frustration my sister feels when folks stare at the supposedly "bad mother with the bratty, out-of-control son" because my nephew is totally freaking out because he absolutely, positively terrified to his very core during a thunderstorm. The frustration my brother is feeling as he tries to find his place in this world post-high school graduation. The list of frustrations goes on and on and on.....

I do not talk much about those frustrations because I do not feel that they are my stories to tell. It has absolutely nothing to do with shame or hiding. I love Nolan and Will for who they are and autism is a part of that. To reject the autistic part, would be to reject them.

I am okay with talking about this today because this Saturday, I am taking Anjali and Arun on a walk. Specifically, on a Walk Now For Autism - we are on the Teaminators team. If you would like to donate actual dimes and nickels towards this cause that would be cool - although, in this economy, it would be perfectly understable if you would rather just send thoughts and prayers. Those would be just as much appreciated.

Um. Also. If you would also like to donate some advice as to how I explain to a 3 year old that his much-adored cousin and uncle are different, but are not sick, that would also be cool. I would be grateful. I realized just last night, I need some way to explain to Arun why we are going out to the Kansas Speedway and walking.


October 8, 2008

Is it my birthday yet?

Good gravy, you know your blog has sprouted a few dusty spiderwebs when your own mother tells you to just update the damned thing already.

So. Um. Well. *cough*

So, I made the mistake of telling Arun a few weeks ago that his birthday was coming. In feverish anticipation of party hats, cupcakes and friends coming to his house, he has been asking me nearly every single day if it is his birthday yet. Oops.

So, last night I dreamed that I was interviewed by Barbara Walters and in that interview, I discussed the basic principles of canasta. I covered the basic 4 person game, but also elaborated on the rules surrounding the variation known as "hand and foot". Then, later I went to a garage sale at my grandma's house. What the hell are Barbara Walters and my grandma doing in my dreams? That is just wrong on so many levels. Why cannot I dream of making a human sandwich with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon serving as the slices of bread?

So, I am just about ready to give up on Heroes. Am I the only fool who cannot follow what the hell is going on? How many versions of Peter can we realistically keep track of? Furthermore, when a television program begins to feel like homework and you find yourself procrastinating your viewings of it, then it seems that would be a good time to chuck the whole thing.

So, this is an interesting sort of week. I spent a fair amount of Monday at the hospital - one of my great aunts had quintuple bypass heart surgery and I waited with the rest of the family. She is coming out of it okay. Then, later this week, Mojavi is having her baby, so I will be back at the hospital to see her.

So, I did watch that segment last week on Oprah about the former assistant principal, Brenda Slaby, who left her two year old child in a hot car for 8 hours and of course, the child died. I hesitated to comment on this because I did not want to come across as all Judge Judy about it. But. Some pertinent facts were left out of the Oprah segment. Some very, very disturbing facts. Such as, the fact that Slaby had been warned previously by the director of her oldest child's school about not leaving her younger daughter in the car - there were at least 3 separate occasions that Slaby had done so. Also, video surveillence from the school in which Slaby worked showed Slaby backing up her SUV to the building, unloading some donuts, going back and forth to the vehicle at least half a dozen times, then moving the vehicle to a parking spot. Seriously? And this lady was not charged with negligence or child endangerment?? I am not saying that this woman was evil or a child killer or that she even did it on purpose. But truly, it is heartbreaking that she was not at least charged with negligence. In my extremely "judgemental" opinion, being "overwhelmed" is lousy excuse for forgetting your child. That is ludicrous. Ludicrous. Furthermore, another white, educated mother left her child in the Cincinnati area this year and that child also died. Again, no charges were brought against her. And then, another mother this year was actually charged with child endangerment for leaving her 12 year old daughter alone at home in charge of two younger siblings because the mother was working and could not afford to pay for extra care. Guess what color that mother was? Guess.

And yes, I did just Go There.

October 1, 2008

You think?

Let it be known, that when I discuss politics here, I welcome dissenting views. It never ceases to amaze me when folks get upset about Flip Flopping politicians. I argue, if a person stays static in his/her views for an entire lifetime, then surely, that person has not grown much. No? Therefore, folks need to hear ideas that may make them uncomfortable or hell, even piss them off. I do not consider comments that disagree with me trollish. I do consider comments that refer to me with some sort of negative adjective to be in the category of Trollish. I feel so fortunate to not have received a troll on this wee site thus far.

I guess what I am getting at is this: when I write about politics here it is primarily to just vent and perhaps, poke some fun in the process. If the drivel I blather on about happens to make someone think a bit, that would be great. If it makes them chuckle? Even better. Personally, I love reading others' political views. If I read your blog on a regular basis, there is a good chance that I would like to read your political view as well.

I will be voting the Obama/Biden ticket. Not because I think it is the best ticket, but because I think it is the better ticket. I do not have issues directly with McCain - if he was the same politician now as he was in 2000, he might have gotten my vote. However, Palin does concern me with her lack of knowledge. Will I vote the Democrat ticket for the rest of my life? Who knows?

My greatest political inspiration is my Aunt Peggy. It still makes me cry that she did not live to see this incredible, historic election. It pains me to no end that I will never know what she thought of the candidates. Earlier this year, when I attempted to discuss the election with her, she replied "Oh honey, I won't be here for it." I miss her so much, it hurts. Until the month prior to her death, Aunt Peggy read the Kansas City Star and the New York Times nearly every day. In her later years, she changed her staunch, conservative stance on many, many critical political views and in the end, was fairly liberal in her thinking. She even used to shake her head and say "I am afraid I am going to die a Democrat." No, no, no...... I am not saying that everyone should become a liberal as they get older, but I am saying that a person should never, ever stop reading, listening, discussing, arguing, agreeing and learning. And laughing. Do not forget the laughing.

Now, shall we move on to something sweeter?