Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I have always loved Halloween. From being a clown to a witch to a 50's lady with a giant pink beehive, I have many good memories of this day.

My favorite Halloween memories are of my childhood. I loved getting lots of attention from my mom as she would put make-up on me appropriate to my outfit. Then, my dad would take us around the neighborhood. The absolute best part was when we got home and dumped out all our candy.

All of us picked out our favorites and would begin eating the mini-sized candy bars and such. I never wanted those strawberry candies. Ew. I'm talking about the ones with the wrapper that looks like a strawberry also. And of course, we would throw away candy that wasn't appropriately wrapped. Why do people give kids baggies of candy? They're obviously going to throw them away! But what wasn't thrown away was devoured by me within the week. I still can't control myself around candy!

Anyway, I know there are people that don't allow their kids to celebrate this day for whatever reasons. They say it's a Satanic holiday or whatever. Or that it's unhealthy for kids to eat so much candy.

My opinion is that this day is nothing more than an excuse to dress up and eat gobs of candy. Come on, people! Allow your kids to eat excessive sugar on the major holidays! And I pity the poor child that's not allowed to play dress-up. It makes me sad when the simple pleasures in life are taken away one by one.

Everything's not so complicated. Especially not dressing up like a princess and collecting candy.
posted by Anisa @ 11:55 AM | 24 comments

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mr. Technorati Man

My blog is worth $19,758.90.
How much is your blog worth?

So, Mr. Technorati Man, where can I cash in on this?
posted by Anisa @ 12:11 PM | 11 comments


I think it's finally happening.

I, Anisa _______ ________ am showing signs of, dare I say, optimism. I am looking at what's right instead of what's wrong. And while that doesn't make the wrong go away, it sure makes me a happier person.

I know I will slip back at times, but I was amazed that even with my horrible, awful, terrible, no good day yesterday, I didn't fall apart. I even had a wonderful time with friends last night, which I would never have been able to do if I was Ms. Sourpuss.

I think I hate that word: sourpuss. I don't think I will ever use it again.

Anyway, it's Friday. My cousin and his wife are coming this weekend and the Georgia/Florida game will be on. Good Lord, I hope the team can pull it together without Shockley. It's just that I have so much to look forward to. Not just this weekend, but life in general.

I guess life really is all about attitude. Of course I get sad sometimes. I always will.

But I'm growing.

Unlike the past, though, I don't have growing pains this time around. It feels much better than my old ways. It's like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A stylish butterfly with a new bracelet, that is.
posted by Anisa @ 10:12 AM | 17 comments

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dirty Laundry

So I've decided not to air it.

I just want to share the wise words of Kanye West and Jamie Foxx in "Golddigger":

"She take my money when I'm in need
Yea she's a trifflin friend indeed
Oh she's a gold digga way over town
That digs on me"

And even though this day has gotten progressively worse, at least I look fabulous.

Every girl should have New Outfit Day every so often. Because I just don't think I could take today it if was Fat Day or Bad Hair Day.
posted by Anisa @ 11:50 AM | 16 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Nonexistent Fall

Last week, I had on t-shirts. Last week, I sweated.

Today, I have on a sweater. I even have on the heater.

What happened?

Bert and I were planning on driving to Dahlonega, Georgia, which is rated as the most beautiful place in America to watch the leaves change. This weekend seemed perfect for the drive, but a friend told me she had heard the leaves were changing late. I decided to call someone in the tourism industry in the area, so once I found a number, I dialed and ended up chatting with this old man for at least 10 minutes.

He told me that hardly any leaves had changed, that there had been some snow and that leaves were already falling.

"Sir, are you saying that the leaves might not change at all?"
"Unfortunately that's exactly what I'm afraid of. I'd hate to tell you to drive all this way and be misleading. Many people that are coming are enjoying the area, but are disappointed because the leaves aren't changing."

Sad face.

Fall is a wonderful season. Last week, it was in the 70's and 80's, and I thought the weather was perfect. I knew true autumn weather was right around the corner. Now I'm not sure it's coming at all.

I guess this weekend I'll need to change my closets. Perhaps warmer weather will come again, but it's almost November. I'm afraid that fall will be a nonexistent season this year.

I just hope that it's a little warmer on Monday for Halloween. I wish for all the kids that they can wear their costumes without giant puffy coats covering them up, while princess and witch costumes merely poke out underneath.
posted by Anisa @ 10:16 AM | 21 comments

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two Worlds

I had on black pants and a black shirt with a few sequins. They all wore sparkly Indian clothes. Nonetheless, we all broke our fast together. Most of my extended family was born overseas, so they have closets full of Indian clothes, while I have a limited supply. I wear American clothes every day, and have my entire life. But I couldn't help but think about my place as my husband and I drove home from breaking the fast with some of my family.

I came to the realization that I'm really not completely like either side.

My dad's family is all white. Many of my cousins have blonde hair. They work many blue-collar positions and they are from Mississippi. Most of the women work. They are my family and I love them dearly, but I know I am different in many ways from them.

On the other side of the family is my mom's family, which is Indian. Most of them were born in India and many had arranged marriages or met through matchmakers. Many of them wear Indian clothes and speak proficient Urdu. Most (not all) of the women don't work and they stay at home with their children that they usually start having shortly after they get married.

Here I am, somewhere in the middle.

I am half white, half Indian. I am a college-educated working woman. I share the religion of my mother's family. I didn't have an arranged marriage. I wear Indian clothes only for special occasions.

And so while I am not completely like one side of my family, both sides have aspects that I have come to hold so dear. A great example of this is the day of my Nikah (Muslim wedding ceremony).

When my step-grandfather on my dad's side showed up at my Nikah and gave me my grandmother's beautiful diamond ring, I was deeply moved. Here was this man, not my blood relation, hugging me and telling me that he knew he wasn't my biological grandfather, but he loved me like a granddaughter. He has many, many biological grandchildren, but he picked me for one of Granny Margrett's most precious possessions. And he will never know how much that moment inspired me to be a better stepmother to Ariana.

And my grandfather on my mother's side has served as a leader for our family. He is truly a genius, and has written textbooks and all five of his children have at least a Master's Degree. He is a gentle man, a loving and non-judgmental person. He has always told me that his house is my house. His love for me has never wavered, and he is so generous. When he got up to speak at my Nikah, the words could barely come out. Abbu was crying. To look at someone and know the depth of their emotion for you and know that you have made them proud is a wonderful feeling.

These men came from different worlds. One is completely Southern, and the other is from India. But in their own ways, they love me. I can take examples from both.

I can put on a sari and wear it with the best of them. But I can wear jeans too. I have a job and know that I can have children when it's time for me. And I have eaten the most delicious Southern cooking and Indian cuisine that you can imagine.

And I can move seamlessly from one world to the next. It sure seems I got the best part of the entire deal.
posted by Anisa @ 10:57 AM | 19 comments

Monday, October 24, 2005

Running In Place

Four years ago, I felt so far ahead. Now, I feel behind.

I've been sharing this same sentiment with many of my 20-something friends, and I have found a common theme among all of us. We went to college and had great internships in cities far from our small hometowns. We participated in extracurricular activities at our respective colleges. We thought we were doing all the things we were supposed to be doing to ensure our dreams would come to fruition. At 21, it seemed the possibilities were endless. From working on Capitol Hill to working for public relations firms in NYC, we felt right on schedule. Ahead of schedule even. Our grades were good, and the future was looking so bright. We thought we were dotting all our i's and crossing all our t's.

Fast forward to the future.

Here we all are, employed, but unfulfilled. We are grateful for our jobs, especially due to the condition of the current economy. But our dreams were larger than sitting at a desk and being mistakenly called a secretary. But we keep trying...doing the best we can at our jobs. We're trying to get ahead, only the way isn't so clear any more. There are no more report cards proving our hard work. There are no more internships; this is the real world.

It's just like a dear friend of mine said: I feel like I'm running in place.

We're going as hard and as fast as we can, but our dreams have shifted a bit. It seems those "dream jobs" have been given to people who know somebody. Or caught some lucky break. We worry how far our hard work will get us without knowing CEOs. And we can't help but wonder when are big break will finally come.

But we won't give up.

Whether we're applying for law school or graduate school, many of us are planning on furthering our education so we will have more opportunities and more connections. Some of us are biding our time in our current positions, hoping that a promotion will come and we will be fulfilled. We're networking. We're trying so hard for all this running to lead somewhere.

And little by little, things are happening. Acceptance letters are coming. Opportunities are presenting themselves. Dreams are slowly being fulfilled.

But for now, at least we're running. And at least we're dreaming. Because that's how we know we still have the fire in every single one of us. And that fire will drive us to the success we desire, and when we get there, the struggles we endured will make it all the sweeter.
posted by Anisa @ 11:40 AM | 24 comments

Friday, October 21, 2005

Almost Two Years

Today has been a busy one! I've accomplished more than I thought possible at work and at home. And I've been fighting with my dial-up all day long. I am just so grateful that it's finally Friday!

And there is something I'm very excited about.

I just bought concert tickets for Ben Folds and Bon Jovi for me and Bert! Bert L-O-V-E-S Bon Jovi, and I got to buy them due to an internet presale today. I.can't.wait.

And how's this for a coincidence: we get to see Ben Folds on November 15. We met two years ago on November 14, and "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds was our wedding song.

I love it when things come full circle.
posted by Anisa @ 3:31 PM | 12 comments

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stuff About Me

I'm taking a break from getting bajillions of things to mail out at work! I found this on Heather's blog, and thought it looked like fun! Feel free to copy on your own blogs.

And thanks to Jud for making all this up (including The Breakfast Club line)!

What do you wanna be when you grow up? A syndicated newspaper columnist
What celebrity would you shag? OK, I wouldn't shag any because I'm married...but if I wasn't married, I guess I would want to simply make out with Matthew McConaughey. ;)
Have you met any celebrities? Yes. Dennis Quaid is the most famous one. He was such a nice guy.
Do you think you'll ever get get married? If you had asked me this question two years ago, I would've just said that I really hoped so, but didn't know if it was in the cards for me. But here I am, married. Sometimes I have to get new forms to fill out because I still write my maiden name all the time! I guess I still have to look at my rings to remind myself this is real.
What do you want your wedding song to be? It was "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. It is an amazing song that perfectly captured our relationship.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? Savannah, Georgia knowing that I was going to eat supper at The River House. Mahi mahi...mmmmm
What is your favorite club? The Breakfast Club (I liked Heather's answer, so I'm keeping it!)
Who is the coolest person you know? My little cousin Sommer. If you tell her she's pretty, she'll say I know. I love her confidence! :)
What's the best class you ever took? Creative Writing in college. A 14-page short story came out of that class that I'll have to post one day.
What's the best job you have ever had? Being a columnist for the newspaper! I love it.
Is there someone you can't stop thinking about that doesn't know it? Bert knows. And I also can't stop thinking about supper. I know that's not a person, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Do you love your Mom? More than I could ever put into words.
Do you love your Dad? So much! Just like Heather, I better love him because we're just alike!
Do you love your siblings? Of course. And I miss her too.
What song is in your head right now? "Strange Condition" by Pete Yorn...I love that song and just listened to it.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning? A Chocolate Almond Biscotti Zone bar
Favorite Movie? If I've gotta pick one, it's going to be Steel Magnolias. It's movie perfection.
Favorite Store? This is a toughie. I L-O-V-E to shop! I love Target and the outlets in Commerce, Georgia. There are also some shops downtown that I adore, like Helix. And The Limited and...
Favorite City? Where I live right now. I really liked DC, but this place feels like a mixture of everything I loved about every place I've lived or visited.
Favorite Drink? Diet Cherry 7UP...which I think I just bought the last bottle in existence...I'm afraid they only make that 7UP Plus stuff now. :(
Favorite Food? Papa John's cheese pizza!!
Have you ever thrown up on anyone really hot? Um, no.
Have you ever been to Mexico? Nope!
Do you obssess over the little things? Oh my goodness...YES!!!
What is your ethnic background? Indian and Mississippian...haha...I'm guessing my dad's family is from Ireland (due to our last name) and Europe.
Who is the hottest woman in the world? I just can't even answer this question because while I think Angelina is hot, I totally hate her.
If you could join one band, who would it be? I would want to be a Harajuku girl for Gwen Stefani.
If you could ressurect one band, who would it be? Are the Smashing Pumpkins still together? Oh, and I would also pick Led Zeppelin.
What color are your underwear right now? Light pink.
Favorite Athlete: Well, it was T.O., but he made me mad when he was acting all crazy! Right now, my faves are D.J. Shockley and Leonard Pope of the Georgia Bulldogs. Oh, and Mohamed Massaquoi of the Bulldogs also. And I like Johnny Damon of the Boston Red Sox. (I know my Yankee fan husband is dying right now!)
Favorite body part on guy: Arms...the way a man holds you is everything.
Ideal mate should act: Like they feel sorry for you when you become sad during PMS and all other times of the month.
What can your ideal mate NOT do: Lie. I can't stand big talkers who have nothing behind all their B.S.
posted by Anisa @ 11:20 AM | 17 comments

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Absentee Girl

I'm such a sucker for all those movies where educators and coaches change the life of students. Yesterday, Coach Carter arrived from Netflix. I think Samuel L. Jackson is a great actor, so I was eager to watch the movie last night.

Those movies always make me want to cry.

I know it's rare that an educator or a coach can touch the lives of so many, but I think they all deserve our thanks. Just touching the life of one student and making it better makes such a difference to the world.

It reminds me of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Manuel. She was my 4th grade teacher, and I was definitely the teacher's pet. I adored that woman. Each morning, I had to go around and collect all the absences from every teacher in the entire school. That made me feel so special because it showed that I was the student they thought could miss 15 minutes of class and never fall behind.

I remember reading aloud in class too. Everyone would usually take turns, but it was me alone who read the entire story about Junko Tabei. She was the first woman to ever climb Mt. Everest, and I have never, ever forgotten that. I'm sure no one other 4th grader recalls her story, but I do. I was always so quiet, and reading an entire story out loud to the class helped bring me out of my shell.

I recall one day that I walked straight into the office, which was right across from our classroom. All of a sudden, I had become homesick and I wanted to talk to my mommy! I called her from the emergency phone on the desk and told her I missed her. The secretary started screaming at me that I didn't have permission to use the phone, but I didn't pay her any attention. I walked right back to my class.

Mrs. Manuel never said a word to me about it.

And although I was a good student, she helped me have a greater self confidence. As I grow older, many of my memories have faded from my adolescence. Grades are starting to blur together. But Mrs. Manuel will forever stand out in my mind. I was a shy, dark-haired little girl and she made more of an impact on me than she will ever know.
posted by Anisa @ 10:19 AM | 19 comments

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You've Got "Friend Game!"

Why is it that at 25 years old, I still stress about making friends? Last night, I had a meeting for a group I recently joined. We've been having meetings for two months and I've started to make friends, but I became extremely paranoid when this group of four girls began discussing their plans for tonight.

Is this a closed group? I wondered. Have I been friendly enough? What should I do to get to know people better? Why am I not friends with these girls yet?

By the time I left the meeting, I felt completely and utterly stressed out. Granted, I've gone to a Happy Hour and bowling with some of the girls, but at the thought that someone was doing something without me, I felt sad. I know it sounds ridiculous; there's over 50 of us and I was stressing about these four girls chatting about their big plans.

Do women ever get over that feeling of wanting to belong? Why didn't this end with high school and college? I guess it's hard when you move somewhere new. I changed schools in high school and had to do this. In college, I had to find my group. In DC, I had to make friends as well. I guess it's time once again.

I wonder if women always feel like they never entirely live up to these standards in their heads. Are we domestic enough? Are we where we should be in our careers? Do we have a full enough social calendar?

It's enough to drive anyone straight to a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

But luckily when I was feeling blue, I had a friend stop by to visit me. And I called my best friend who assured me she completely understood and would feel the same way. And Bert just smiled and told me that he knew I had "friend game." He said I was acting like a high school boy that was afraid to ask a girl out, and that everything was going to be fine.

I don't want to appear too eager, but I don't want to get left out. I know every little "clique" isn't for me, but I don't want to not have a group of girlfriends. I feel like it's 1998 all over again and I just joined Delta Gamma.

But there's something coming soon that I have to look forward to. There's a social event next week, and I'll be sure to be there. I'll just smile and know that I've got "friend game." And if that doesn't work, I'll stop by the grocery store for some Chunky Monkey on the way home.
posted by Anisa @ 12:16 PM | 20 comments

Monday, October 17, 2005

Calling Martha Stewart

All right, are the requested recipes. I hope you enjoy them! These are all really simple recipes. It is my wish that you have enough dough left with the desserts to actually bake them. Good luck, fellow chefs! And Martha Stewart, these recipes prove that simple is best. None of these are difficult, and they are absolutely delicious.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie Bars
The recipe for bars (and cookies) is on the back of the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips bag. I added a small bag of pecan chips. This tastes like heaven! The dough is divine.

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Just buy a canister of Quaker Oats and it will have a recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies under the lid. Leave out the cinnamon, substitute dried cranberries for raisins and add a cup of white chocolate chips. Even if you don't like oatmeal cookies, this one's sure to dazzle! (and the dough's not that great, so you'll actually bake these!)

Chicken Especial
This chicken is so good that Bert and I call it Chicken Especial and say it with a crazy accent. It's easy and low on carbs!

3/4 C. parmesan cheese
1 packet of Good Seasons dry Italian Dressing
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs
1/2 C. flour
3 chicken breasts
olive oil

1. Prehead oven to 350 degrees.

2. Clean and trim chicken. Set aside. I usually cut each breast in half.
3. In one bowl, put the flour. In another, mix together the two eggs. In the third, mix together the parmesan cheese, Italian dressing and garlic powder.
4. I use a cast iron skillet for this because it goes from stove to oven...less mess! At this step, put just enough olive oil to coat the skillet. Set by the bowls.
5. Lightly bread each piece of chicken with flour, then dip in egg wash and then coat as much parmesan cheese mixture as you can on each piece. Place in skillet. Repeat with each piece.
6. Turn stove on medium-high. Lightly brown each side of the chicken. DO NOT turn the stove to high, or you will burn the chicken!
7. Bake for 40 minutes.

So there you have it, folks. Here are some of my favorite recipes. Chicken Especial is actually my own variation on a recipe, and I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

Take a break from slice-and-bake cookies and take-out! Turn on the oven and see that cooking really can be easy! If it takes over 30 minutes to prep, I'm not making it.

Bon appetit!

posted by Anisa @ 12:12 AM | 11 comments

Friday, October 14, 2005


In the past two weeks, I have volunteered for all kinds of things. Mostly it's been cooking related, and I don't know how people create food en masse on a regular basis.

I have made:
dozens of white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies
turkey and swiss mini croissant sandwiches
chocolate chip pecan bars
chicken salad

Keep in mind, I never have any food like this in my house. But these past two weeks, I have apparently been in a race with Martha Stewart. And oh yeah, I cook dinner most every night too. I am so ready for the baking to be over. I must stop my waistline from expanding! I don't really mind the baking and cooking...I mind the daily struggles I face with the decadent treats!

Thank goodness Bert helps clean and shredded chicken for me. I would've had a panic attack if not for that!

He's been coming home and has often remarked that you can smell my creations before you even walk in the door. Whether it's my special chicken with a parmesan cheese breading or a big pan of brownies, I have felt very domestic lately. Between cooking and cleaning and shopping, I have only one more thing to do on my big volunteering checklist.

Tomorrow morning, I will help with the grand opening of a thrift store to benefit local victims of domestic violence. I thought long and hard about what excuse I could give to not sign up for a shift, but when I saw that everyone seemed to be doing the same, I reconsidered. I know everyone loves Saturdays, but I figure two hours of time is really not as big of a deal as I thought it was. I realized I didn't want to be one of those "excuses" people.

So whether it's my time or my cookies, I'm liking this new volunteering thing. I won't let myself become overwhelmed. I'll just do what I can.

And that means tonight, Bert's grilling.
posted by Anisa @ 9:41 AM | 13 comments

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm Not An Addict

So, I was trying to get ahead on my to-do list for the week, and I went ahead and prepared some chocolate chip pecan cookie dough Tuesday night. The cookies were due today for an event, so I figured I could get the dough ready and chill it Tuesday, and then I'd bake Wednesday.

Sounds smart, right?

Uh-uh. First of all, I needed 48 cookies to come out of this dough. The recipe said it would make 60 cookies, so I figured there was plenty for me to have some dough and cookies as well. I L-O-V-E cookies, so I was very excited about making this.

I baked a few cookies Tuesday night for me and Bert. They were divine. I had been eating some of the insanely good dough before I made the cookies, so the dough supply was getting questionable mighty fast. I put the dough away in the fridge and decided I would finish baking the cookies Wednesday as soon as I got home. I knew I had just enough dough where I could have indulge myself any more.

Now, normally I have decent self-control. But not with the cookie dough, I'm afraid. When it comes to chocolate and PMS, I truly seem to have not an ounce of self control. Wednesday, all I could do was think about that damn dough. Sure enough, as soon as I got home, I couldn't resist.

Uh oh. This is why I don't do much baking. I am good at it, but there never seems to be any left over.

I was like a dough-a-holic. I knew there was no way I could make the four dozen cookies needed out of the dough. And then, of all things, I saw a Reese's peanut butter cup. We never keep things like cookies and candy in the house, and I really felt like I was an drug addict and crack was everywhere. It was all happening too fast!

I knew I had to make a decision. I could just go crazy and drown myself in the most heavenly goodies known to man, or I could pull myself together. It was such an angel vs. devil moment!

I put the cookie dough down.

I tried to make them into cookie bars, but there was no way there was enough dough to make all I needed. I was going to have to start all over again.

So, I pulled myself together and made dinner. Then, I went to Food Lion and bought brownie mix that I made myself promise not to eat at all. I put on my workout clothes, and I headed to the gym. I knew I had done some severe damage. There was no telling how much dough I ate.

People, I don't think you can comprehend the internal struggle I was going through. Think of your favorite food, and then multiply that emotion ten times. That is how I feel about cookies and especially, cookie dough. And especialy, especially chocolate chip cookie dough with nuts.

I made the chocolate chip pecan cookie bar thing, and walked away from it last night. The cookies had won the battle, but they were not winning the war.

I finally let myself have one cookie bar today.

Okay, I lied. I had two.

But nobody's perfect, right?
posted by Anisa @ 3:12 PM | 18 comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Why are we afraid to really tell doctors what we think? I know sometimes I am. It's like, I'll get all psyched up before I go. I will demand certain tests. I will ask for a certain prescription. I won't back down.

And then I can't do it.

It's like I go in there and forget to tell them half of my symptoms. Even if I wrote them all down, I'm scared to take out the piece of paper half the time.

And I just accept what they tell me to their faces, when inside I want to scream. I don't feel like they ran enough tests. I don't just want to take Advil. If that was enough, I wouldn't be here!

And then I feel like they think I'm some kind of hypochondriac because I keep coming back. I TOLD you my wrist was hurting. I TOLD you my throat was bugging me. It makes me want to scream. And I will keep coming back, over and over, until you fix it.

Why in the world are we afraid of these people that we pay so much money to? We don't want to aggravate them, but we want results. Fast.

And most of the time, an antibiotic or whatever will do the trick. But sometimes, we need more tests.

If for nothing else, our peace of mind. And I think I pay enough in insurance and co-pay where I deserve that.
posted by Anisa @ 10:15 AM | 18 comments

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Waiting For 7:03

Bert and I spent Saturday with my stepdaughter, Ariana. We arrived mid-morning and took her for an early lunch at the mall, a place we adore. What's better than two stories of wall-to-wall clothes? Nada.

Anyway, we made our way to the food court and ordered Wendy's for her, as requested. She inquired as to why we weren't eating, so we explained to her that we were fasting. About two minutes later, she decided she didn't really want much of her Wendy's Frosty.

I didn't think much of it, because it was chilly in the food court. We went on and began shopping. All three of us love buying new clothes. A few hours later, armed with our bags of new shirts and such, we headed out to visit Bert's grandparents.

"So how long do you have to do this fasting?" she asked.
"Thirty days," I replied. "But, Ariana, kids don't fast. You don't have to be afraid to tell us when you're hungry, OK?"
"I'm fine. I'm not hungry," she said.

A few hours went by and she again asked if ANY kids fasted. I told her just adults had to fast, and that if she got hungry to tell me.

We arrived a few minutes later at Bert's grandparent's house where Ariana adamantly turned down a Coke. I told her she could have one, but she said she didn't want one. She laid in my lap and gave me lots of hugs. I could tell she was getting really tired from all the running around.

After leaving one set of grandparents, we headed over to the next grandma.

"So kids never fast, right?" she continued to ask.
Finally, after we told her once again that kids don't fast, she called me into Grandma #2's kitchen.

"Anisa, can I please have a snack?" she asked.
"Of course," I replied.

It was probably 4:00 in the afternoon, and she had existed the entire day on five chicken nuggets, some Sprite, a few bites of a Frosty and some Mandarin Orange slices.

After her snack and a visit, we left to do some more visiting and went to walk by the river. She continually updated us on how close we were to 7:03 PM. She knew that was the golden hour when we would all sit down to eat.

She was so very excited as we got closer to dinner. She said her favorite restaurant was O'Charley's, and that's what we chose. Boy, did we eat! Salads, bread, an appetizer, meals and a dessert to share. The waiter told us he was impressed.

We had a wonderful day, and a wonderful meal.

As we dropped her off, she did something she's never done before. Each time we take her back, I open up my door for her to come give me a hug. But this time, as soon as the car stopped, she jumped out and opened my door herself, before I even had a chance.

She greeted me with a great big hug.

"Let's do this again!" she exclaimed.

We shall, my darling. We shall.
posted by Anisa @ 11:17 AM | 18 comments

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Champ

Friday night, Bert and I went bowling with two other couples. I had only been bowling one time years ago, so I was nervous about making a fool out of myself in front of our new friends. That nervousness coupled with being completely drained from fasting all day made for an emotional Anisa.

We got to the bowling alley and chit-chatted for a little bit before our lane was open. One by one, everybody took their turns. Then I was up.

Like a scared little girl, I looked at Bert with tears in my eyes. I couldn't help my reaction.

"I can't do it. Please go in my place," I pleaded.

He knew that tears would pour down my face at any moment. My bottom lip was quivering, and I couldn't seem to calm myself down. He smiled at me and went in my place.

This is what happens when you were without fail, the last person picked for teams in elementary school P.E. I have never forgotten how sad I would be each week as people divided into teams, and I was the last chosen. I still remember when we were divided into teams for 5th grade basketball. I made both my baskets, shooting granny-style, of course. My team was so proud of me, and I remember that day so clearly. Since I made my baskets, I got to stand with all the other "cool people" who made theirs. That was my one victory in all of P.E.

I don't know how un-athletic I truly am. Being picked last made me believe I was uncoordinated. I was shy and always a girly-girl, so I was overcome with nervousness at any physical activity. As an adult, I find that most everything I try, I'm not so terrible at it. I can hit a golf ball. I can work out at the gym. I can shoot pretty well.

And I found out I'm not a bad bowler.

When it was time for me to go again, I took my turn. I pulled myself together, and the ball didn't go in the gutter. My new friends were nice, and told me they didn't care how I played. I didn't want any more attention to the fact that I'd nearly dissolved into tears, so I just smiled and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Bert is probably the most athletic person I've ever known. It's intimidating to play any sport with someone like him. He drives a golf ball an insanely long way. He bowls so hard that you'd swear the floor is about to go up in flames. But he doesn't care that I'm only so-so. He's just proud that I try.

I'm 25 years old, and there is no more P.E. I will never be picked last for a team again. And for that, I am relieved. I don't have to prove myself any longer. But, I am still proud of that day in 5th grade that I defied my team. For one brief moment, I knew what it was like to be a champ.
posted by Anisa @ 10:53 AM | 18 comments

Friday, October 07, 2005

My Birthday Is Not 6/22/55

I thought it was funny when Bert received a letter from AARP saying he was eligible for membership. He's 29, so obviously he's not nearly old enough for their 50-year old membership requirement. I love to make fun of his lone gray hair, so this provided another opportunity to joke around.

But I did not think it was funny when they sent me a letter. First of all, they addressed it to my maiden name. Second of all, they said that their records indicated that I met all of their membership requirements. Now I get why it wasn't funny.

And what records?

Yeah, the records are so complete for the American Association of Retired Persons that they didn't have my legal name or my age. In what land would a 25-year old be retired? And how did they miss my age by 25 years?


For some reason, this letter really got under my skin, so I searched and searched the letter for a phone number to call. There was none. What kind of association doesn't even include their phone number in a mail-out?

Anyway, so I got to work and I decided I was going to call them and ask me to remove me from their mailing list. I was going to tell them they didn't even have my correct name, and they were 25 years off on my DOB. Surely their number would be online, and it was.

So I called and they put me through to this automated system which I cursed at because it wouldn't connect me to customer service. After I used a bit of colorful language, the automated system asked if I would like to proceed without giving my membership number.

"Yes!!!!!" I screamed.

Finally a human was on the other line.

I informed her that I was 25 years old and the name that appeared on the card they sent me wasn't even my name anymore. She then needed ALL of my information to remove me from their mailing list.

"Why in the world do you show that I am 50 years old?" I asked.
"Ma'am," the woman replied mechanically, "Your name was sold to us by a company. They do not always provide accurate databases."

I wanted to scream.

This just really got under my skin today. I am not 50 years old. I am not retired. And I don't want any more paper wasted that says such. Why are they trying to rush me? When I'm 50, I'll join. Until then, I've got a big to-do list to take care of. Let me live years 26-49 before you send me another letter.

Why is no more of our information private? Why is it that we all receive gobs of credit card offers daily? Hey, America, I've got some ideas on how we can conserve...quit sending me junk mail!

So, Capital One, Discover, AARP and all you others, leave me alone. If I desire your services, I'll come looking for you.

But don't hold your breath.
posted by Anisa @ 2:29 PM | 14 comments

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gossip Fest

Yesterday was a glorious one for celeb gossip. First came the breaking news of the (gasp!) Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey split. Sure, their reps are denying it, but I can't wait until Us Weekly arrives in my mailbox so I can read all the nasty details. Seems that Jess became a diva and yadda yadda yadda...

And then TomKat is preggers? Wow. And ew. Those are my thoughts on that whole situation. Ew one more time.

My mind was reeling with all the celeb gossip. From Lindsay Lohan's car crash to the demise of Paris/Paris, this week has been a great one for those of us obsessed with celeb gossip.

I was just saying yesterday that the only way to top what had happened already would be for Brangelina to elope. Lo and behold, my favorite gossip site, Perez Hilton, put out a fake announcement of just that. If that would've been true, how in the world would all the mags know what to put on the covers?

There will always be gossip, and there will always be people interested. As for me, is it wrong that I hope Tom and Katie's kid has such bad behavioral problems that doctor after doctor tells them that Ritalin is the only answer?

Nah, I didn't think it was wrong either.
posted by Anisa @ 2:52 PM | 15 comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Day One

So, here it is. Another year, another first day of fasting.

I can still remember my first fast. I was probably about 12 years old, and my mom would only let me do it for half a day. She even cooked me a special meal just for lunch. She was so sweet, acting like it was a huge deal that I hadn't eaten until 12:00 noon. After that day, I decided I was ready to do a full day's fast. And I've been doing them ever since.

Last year was the first year I kept them all. It was Bert's first year to fast, and he kept all of them, so I had no reason not to! I was so proud of him.

Ramadan used to be a time I dreaded. I thought about how inconvenienced I would be, not being able to eat and drink from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. I would have to keep my temper under control. I would have to make a conscious effort to be the very best I can be, as basically ever moment of the day is seen as prayer during fasting. Along with abstaining from food and drink, there are also five daily prayers to be done. It's very intense. And I find this is the first time in my life that I welcome it instead of wishing it away.

I joke about getting all my gossiping out before the first fast, but in actuality, this is a time I do use to cleanse myself. For me, fasting is like January 1 for most people. I feel like this is my month to get my life just how I want it to be. This is the time for me to be more centered and more grateful. This is a time for me to remember that each day when I am able to break my fast that there are so many that fast everyday and never break them. They are the poor and the hungry, and I must remember them during this month. I must do what I can to help them.

Muslims are not supposed to fast as a means of suffering. In fact, the Holy Qu'ran says:
Ramadan is the month during which the Qu'ran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes for your convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify God for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.

My uncle sent me the Prophet's sermon on the reception of the month of Ramadan. This brought tears to my eyes. Here is an excerpt:
O People!
Indeed ahead of you is the blessed month of God.
A month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness.
A month which with God is the best of months.
Its days, the best of days, its nights, the best of nights, and its hours, the best of hours.

It is the month which invites you to be the guests of God and invites you to be one of those near to Him.

Each breath you take glorifies Him;
your sleep is worship,
your deeds are accepted
and your supplications are answered.

It is words like those that remind me of why I fast and why I am a Muslim. In Islam, we are reminded that God said he is nearer to us than our jugular vein. The Prophet loved to quote this. For me, it is a reminder that God is close and he is accessible. And that I am not alone. For this month, I am an extra special guest of God. That very thought is so amazing that I cannot fully grasp its enormity.

This past year was a difficult one for my family, so I will be praying extra hard. I will pray for those in pain to stop hurting and find peace. I hope when all is said and done, I will be a better person in 30 days. I hope to be a better person--a better wife, daughter, friend and above all else, a better Muslim. I hope that the world will be a little better a month from now than it is today.

For the first time in my life, I am not afraid of who I am. I don't conceal my religion like it's something to be ashamed of. For the first time, I don't care what other people think about my religion. I will acknowledge the woman in the hijab in the grocery store. She will know that I am her sister.

I find glimpses of Heaven in the pages of the Qu'ran. I find peace as I bow down to my Creator. And I will spend this month showing God how grateful I am for bringing peace to my heart. I can't imagine a greater gift.
posted by Anisa @ 1:20 PM | 30 comments

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Indian For The Weekend

I always love wearing a sari. My grandmother brought this one back to me from Texas, and I absolutely love it. They are so comfortable and glamorous all at the same time.

This past weekend was an event in Atlanta for a new baby in our family, Isra. There were Indian people everywhere. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the middle of a bunch of women and we were all complimenting each other's clothes and jewelry and just talking and laughing. It felt like home.

My grandmother laughed when it was time for dinner because she knew by looking at the food that I'd have to fill myself up on rice and bread. When I was a little girl, she would have her huge spread on Sundays and would always pull a plate of tacos or leftover Pizza Hut pizza out of the oven for me. I'm doing better now, though. But if I don't recognize it, I won't eat it.

Anyway, the event was lovely. It was great to see so much of my extended family.

But no, dear sweet Indian family, just because I am holding a baby doesn't mean I plan on having one anytime soon. I'm having too much fun handing them back over when they start crying for now.
posted by Anisa @ 1:17 PM | 20 comments

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's NOT Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Picture it: Sunday, October 2, 2005. 4:00 PM. Macy's Department Store. Halloween and Thanksgiving are nowhere to be found. Christmas is taking over the section where swimsuits used to be, and passers-by walk by the trees in their shorts and flip-flops.

It was like 85 degrees outside. I just looked at the trees above and shook my head in disbelief.

I just don't get it. It seems each year, Christmas inches closer to Halloween, and now it actually tries to attack us as soon as the calendar says "First Day of Autumn."

When I was a kid, Christmas was so special because it seemed like it took forever to get here. But department stores are trying to make it Christmas in October. Quit rushing it!

I want to enjoy the holidays as they come. I love to eat too much chocolate for Halloween. I love to be with family on Thanksgiving and enjoy my mother's feast. I love to decorate my tree with only blue, silver and white ornaments AFTER Thanksgiving.

I will not be rushed. I will enjoy October. I will take time to enjoy the slow changes in the air. I will not even think of Christmas until I am forced to put my open-toed shoes away and build a fire in the fireplace and try to roast marshmallows in it. I won't think in terms of "winter" until I make my first cup of hot chocolate with two Hershey's Kisses and a dollop of Cool Whip Lite.

It's just the beginning of fall, and the leaves haven't even changed colors yet. When I see the real trees outside give me their cues, then I'll take note. No amount of fake trees in the mall will convince me it's winter.
posted by Anisa @ 3:02 PM | 18 comments