Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Look Back

What a year 2005 has been! At the end of each year, I am surprised to look back on all that's happened. This year is certainly no exception.

I started a new job this year, was accepted into graduate school and starting writing a column for a newspaper. I celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary. I turned 25. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. And, of course, I started this blog.

Certainly it hasn't been a perfect year. Some really bad stuff happened too. But with the strengthening of my faith, I was able to get through it.

I'm not going to spend too much time looking back this time, though. Bert tells me that I love to hold on to the past. So instead, I am going to pause, smile at the good, say goodbye to the bad and move on.

And there you have it folks, New Year's Resolution #1.

I hope you've enjoyed learning about how I view the world this past year. Who knows what 2006 will hold? One thing's for sure...I'll keep writing and I'll keep growing.

My biggest realization and epiphany of 2005 was quite simplistic: regardless of anything, every person is human and has feelings. And that is the one thing that I will reflect on often, because I truly see the world a little differently now.

I'll be on vacation until January 3, 2006. I'll start blogging again then. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!
posted by Anisa @ 10:16 AM | 28 comments


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

JD Update

I'm a little bit in a state of mourning. I miss Johnny's old look.
posted by Anisa @ 4:04 PM | 9 comments


Heeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!

Bert and I are finally to a point where a married couple should be: rooting for the same baseball team.

I am in total shock.

Johnny Damon, the quintessential Red Sox, is now a Yankee. Is this the apocalypse?

My dear JD, I am sad you will soon have no beard and short hair. Doesn't George Steinbrenner know that most of your charm is your long hair flapping in the wind as you round the bases?

But like I promised Bert, if Johnny Damon ever became a Yankee, I would be a Yankee fan through-and-through. And I will keep good on that promise.

As I was awoken from a peaceful slumber this morning to hurry up and see the big news, I wondered what this big important news could be. I just couldn't even believe what I saw on ESPN and ESPN.com.

Don't get me wrong - I can barely sit through an entire inning of baseball before grabbing an Us Weekly. But when JD was playing, I would actually sort of pay attention. This means a tiny bit less complaining from me when baseball season starts again.

Bleary eyed this morning, my mind was still perfectly clear when it came to celebs.

"Do you think Matt and Ben are on the phone discussing this?" I asked.

Good husband that he is, Bert took a break from the intense Yankees coverage to discuss how this would be affecting Matt Damon and Ben Affleck at 7:30 in the morning. We're sure they're really upset.

But as for me, it's time for me to go shopping for some Yankees gear. It's time to start planning a trip to to Yankee Stadium.
posted by Anisa @ 11:05 AM | 13 comments


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Holiday Meme

Holiday Getting to Know Me!
(Shamelessly stolen from Brighton)

But first things first...is meme pronounced "meem" or "me-me"?

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate made with milk with Hershey's kisses melted inside and a dollop of Cool Whip on top...I've never had egg nog. It sounds gross! I'm going to pull a Jessica Simpson here - are eggs in there?
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa fills the stockings, of course!
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? All white!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I'm thinking this could be a good idea...
5. When do you put your decorations up? A week or so after Thanksgiving.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Mama's dressing...I'm telling you-this stuff is beyond delicious.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I really just loved being with my family on Christmas morning...no one else was ever there but the four of us, and it was so special to me.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Like Brighton said, truth about what?
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Sometimes, but usually not.
10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Whatever's in the house! I think he's going to get iced sugar cookies this year!
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love how it looks...dread dealing with it! We usually don't get any that amounts to much here, thank goodness!
12. Can you ice skate? Barely!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I believe I got a bike one year and that was pretty exciting. Other than that, cash money, y'all!
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Seeing my family.
15. What is your favorite holiday Dessert? I like Mama's Candy Bar Pie the best!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I just enjoy the whole routine of decorating, shopping, going to parties and traveling. It's hard to pick one thing!
17. What tops your tree? A bow made out of the same snowflake ribbon that goes around my tree.
18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Both!
19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" - I just think that the line "From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold" is so pretty!
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I like the flavored ones much better than the traditional candy canes.

Feel free to steal this from me! Happy Holidays, everyone!
posted by Anisa @ 9:40 AM | 14 comments


Monday, December 19, 2005

The Man In Black

So I finally saw "Walk the Line" this weekend.

Oh.my.gosh.

Run, do not walk, to the theater if you have not yet seen this movie.

Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, this movie chronicles the life of country music singers Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Phoenix dazzles with an Oscar-caliber performance, as he nails the part of Cash. Quite simply, it was movie perfection.

I know I'm gushing, but it's been a long, long time since I saw a movie that made me go, "Now that was a movie."

I don't even like country music, so don't let that stop you from seeing this. Bert didn't want to see it and ended up loving it so much that I get to pick the next movie we see. Yippee! We will NOT be seeing "Aeon Flux" next, needless to say.

And my hubby couldn't stop humming Cash tunes, so I got him a CD yesterday as an early Christmas present. And surprisingly enough, it's growing on me too.

I know they won't all affect me the way this movie did, but to have a movie bring about just about every emotion in you is a very special experience. This has renewed my faith in film. So, here is my to-see checklist. Please offer any reviews on the following:

To rent:
"The 40-Year Old Virgin"
"Cinderella Man"
"Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"

At the movies right now:
"King Kong"
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
"Syriana"
"The Family Stone"

I know I won't make it to all of these while they're at the movies, but they're definitely on my must-see list.

And, yes, I'm sure I'll suffer through "Aeon Flux" too.
posted by Anisa @ 9:38 AM | 30 comments


Friday, December 16, 2005

Raindrops On Roses...

Inspired by Bean's post, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things as well.

But first, I've got to post a few things I really don't like.

My Un-favorite Things
1. Big, slobbering dogs
2. The movie "Alexander"
3. Icy windshields on winter mornings
4. Celine Dion songs
5. Feeling left out
6. Gourmet food
7. The word "nugget"
8. Fighting with my weight
9. Dijon mustard
10. Being so cold when I get out of the shower

My Favorite Things
1. S'mores
2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
3. Hot pink
4. Romance
5. Fireplaces
6. Savannah, Georgia
7. Presents
8. Sleeping in
9. Us Weekly
10. Shopping downtown

What are yours?
posted by Anisa @ 10:50 AM | 15 comments


Thursday, December 15, 2005

TGI...It's Not Friday?!

I've been having the same thought all week...why is it not Friday? I have thought it was Friday today, and every other day this week, I thought it was Thursday.

I guess it's that antsy feeling of knowing that in a little over a week, I will have an entire glorious week off from work! I'll be in Mississippi for most of it, and I am thrilled to get to see my family and old friends soon!

And one of these dear old friends just got engaged that I want to say a huge congratulations to. Congrats, Katie! Friends like her don't come along every day, and she deserves all the happiness that comes her way.

I also appreciate everyone's kind words yesterday. I would say that I can't believe strangers would offer such kind words of encouragement, but you are no longer a stranger to me. So many of you have become friends. In this modern world of impersonal communication, we have found each other. We have made connections.

I'm just feeling grateful today. The trees have created what looks like a magical world outside with the icicles dripping from their branches.

It reminds me of my favorite line in a book, Ethan Frome, where the author describes pine cones peeking out from the snow and how they looked like "ornaments of bronze." I'm trying to see the joy and the beauty in things too.

It's not Friday, but it's getting close. I'm excited for the weekend, but I'm trying to savor today. I'll never have December 15, 2005 again.

So I'm going to make the most of it.
posted by Anisa @ 11:46 AM | 14 comments


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Shake It Off

So lately I've been feeling down.

People have been mean.
I have been mean.
I lost something expensive.

I've been eating entirely too many Hershey's Bells. I can't remember the last protein I ate...maybe that's contributed to my feelings of blah as well.

Tell me, people, what do you do to shake it off?
posted by Anisa @ 11:19 AM | 29 comments


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Confusion

I'm not one to post about politics, so I don't mean for this to be all political, but I woke up this morning feeling sad.

Most of you have probably heard about Tookie Williams, one of the founders of the Crips gang. He was put to death by lethal injection at 12:01 AM PST. Williams admitted he did some bad things, but he always maintained his innocence in regards to the murders on which he was convicted. He was never a snitch. He was a mild mannered man who had been in jail since 1981, and had since become an anti-gang activist.

I am actually in favor of the principle of the death penalty for murderers, rapists and child molesters, but I don't believe it is just to put someone to death 24 years after a conviction. It's the same situation as Karla Faye Tucker, the woman who was put to death by lethal injection in 1998 after being in jail for many years. Even the victims' families pleaded for her life to be spared, as she had repented and completely changed. In her case, she admitted her guilt. Why in the world did she sit in jail for years and years? It seems so obvious to me that justice would have been giving her a lethal injection shortly after her conviction. It doesn't seem just that she repented and had to just sit in jail for years and years. She was no longer the same person.

So while I do believe that those who murder others deserve the death penalty, our judicial system makes them sit in jail for years and years, giving them time to become completely different people. I can't find the justice in putting someone to death 20+ years after they have committed a crime. It's not even the same person by that point.

Truthfully, I don't know exactly what to think. I believe that justice delayed is justice denied. I believe it was disturbing that Tookie's death was put on display. People actually watched this man die. It was like he was a spectacle.

I don't know. All I know is that I woke up this morning thinking that a man who maintained his innocence for over 20 years was killed. I don't know all the facts, but I felt sad. Death is so final. I also feel great sadness for the victim's families. Regardless, they grieve their losses. The whole thing is just awful for everyone.

Maybe I was affected by "The Green Mile," where the innocent man was killed. Maybe I can't help but remember that there have been people that were been given the death penalty- and after DNA evidence was introduced, it was found they were innocent. Maybe I am jaded because I watched "The Life of David Gale." But I am still torn. If someone were killed in my family, I would want the ultimate punishment.

I don't know what to think.

I guess at this point, it's all left up to God.
posted by Anisa @ 11:51 AM | 25 comments


Monday, December 12, 2005

When You Grow Up

When you grow up,
What would you like to be?
A mother or a father with a fine family?

You could fly to the moon,
Or perhaps be a star,
Or simply be loved for whoever you are.

For some reason, this song popped into my head. It's a song that you probably only heard if you ever took piano lessons!

But it made me think...how many of us are living our dreams? I know I always wanted to be a news anchor. And I wanted my name to be Sandra Annette Coverdale. I loved the name Sandra when I was little, and I wanted to marry David Coverdale, the lead singer of Whitesnake.

Anyway, thank goodness I didn't marry some 80's rocker. I do write for a newspaper now, so I am still in the field of journalism, which I intended. But my career isn't exactly what I had pictured.

I also remember wanting to be a pediatrician, teacher and corporate lawyer. Would I have been good at any of those jobs?

Now I am 25 and all grown up. My dream job is slowly changing, but that drive to succeed is still there.

And even though it was just a silly little piano song, I do reflect on that last line:

Or simply be loved for whoever you are.

Because in the end, that matters so much more than what it says on your business card.
posted by Anisa @ 8:50 AM | 23 comments


Thursday, December 08, 2005

What's In A Name?

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been obsessed with names. I have had baby name books my entire life. And yes, in my quest to learn all about names, I do have perfect baby names picked out that I will only tell if I have kids!

Anyway, I find it fascinating to know more about what names mean and why people are named certain things. My name (pronounced A-nee-sa, by the way) is an Arabic name meaning "friendly or social." My great-grandmother was named Anise, and another great-grandmother had the middle name of Nisa, so my mom put them together. As a child, I hated my name. I was always having to correct teachers and everyone else. One of my college friends said my name clearly looked like it should be pronounced A-niss-a.

"But do you pronounce Anita 'A-nit-a' or 'A-nee-ta?'" I asked. My point was taken.

As I have grown up, I have come to love my name. I like its uniqueness, its meaning, its history. My middle name is Margrett, and was my grandmother's name. Her name is spelled like that because that is how her parent's thought it was spelled. I guess the spelling is closer to the actual pronunciation than Margaret. And I think it's interesting that Margrett means "pearl," and that is the gemstone that goes along with June, my birth month.

I think names are important; they will stay with us the rest of our lives. But a name isn't everything. I read in Freakonomics about a man who had two sons and named one of them Winner and the other Loser. Winner ended up in jail and Loser ended up going by "Lou" and becoming very successful. And there was the girl named Temptress who actually ended up as a prostitute. Her mother misread the name Tempestt Bledsoe in the opening credits of "The Cosby Show," but I can't help but wonder if her name had anything to do with her chosen profession.

True, we all create our own destiny, but a good name helps. No need to go through life being named Shithead (pronounced Shi-thead), a true name given according to Freakonomics. A name really does matter, and I have grown to truly love mine. Now if I can just convince Bert to change our last name to my maiden name...
posted by Anisa @ 10:48 AM | 26 comments


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Are You SAD?

This morning on "The Today Show," they were discussing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Basically, the premise was that some people get the blues in the winter. The idea is that your body is getting less sunlight, and some people have a depressive reaction to lack of sunlight.

I'm not depressed, but I really, really don't like driving home in the dark at 5:00 PM. I don't like how 4:00 PM looks like early evening. It makes me so tired.

I truly don't understand the point of the time change any longer. I wish we could have nice, long days year-round. Wouldn't it be better?

So, yeah, there are nice things about winter. Holidays, presents, time off from work and hot chocolate top my list. But I am already tired of shivering all the time and the early darkness.

I know I complained about the crazy heat of the summer, but surely it was better than this.

Or was it?
posted by Anisa @ 11:15 AM | 19 comments


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Jammas

We were an unstoppable pack of girls, the 13 of us. If we would've been a cartoon, we would've been superheroes. We ranged from wild to studious. What bonded us was the fact that we had created our own little family, The Jammas.

We laughed until our sides ached. We made the others tell us that we were getting too skinny, even if we couldn't button our jeans. We boosted self-esteems. And if you were a boy that wronged one of us, look out!

These girls were my life during college. We were all in the same sorority and had enough happen to us to write a best-selling book. We were silly; we were smart. We were a force to be reckoned with.

I always thought we would stay best friends forever. We all used to discuss how we'd have yearly trips and always keep in touch. Some of us still talk; some of us don't.

It's certainly natural after college to grow apart. We moved all over the place, we got married, we had careers, we had kids.

Some of the relationships were now strained. Some were still in tact. But things were clearly different.

Through the years, I have opened up mass emails from them announcing engagments and pregnancies. And each time I see one of their names, I am taken back to 1998-2002. I remember the good and the bad. I remember the laughter and the tears. I remember the heartache and the joy.

Recently, I have reconnected with many of them. Things are different, but our bond will never be broken.

Looking back, I am filled with bittersweet emotion. The Jammas grew up. We realized there was life outside our tight-knit circle of 13.

But during college, we needed each other. Like Carrie Bradshaw said in "Sex and the City," some of us are born into families and some of us make our own.

And all of us got to do both. We were fill-in mothers and sisters while we were away from home. We were reprimanded when needed. We were given shoulders to cry on. We were each other's biggest cheerleaders. And like family, the love remains regardless of time.

I am proud of all my old friends. College just wouldn't have been the same without them. We lived life to the fullest; we did college in style. And I know we all still have a little Jamma in us, and always will.

Dedicated to: Meggan, Megan, Libby, Penny, Haley, Emily, Christi, Cooper, Kendy, Jessica, Kassi and Jennifer
posted by Anisa @ 3:23 PM | 15 comments


Monday, December 05, 2005

The Parade

Here are my thoughts from the recent Christmas Parade (and Bert's first parade EVER!)

The good:
standing under the twinkling lights downtown
being in the front so we could see everything
having a member of REM as the Grand Marshal
high school bands that remember they're in high school
free Starbucks tall Peppermint Hot Chocolate

The bad:
the city worker who stood right in front of me and got in everyone's way
high school bands where the flag girls dance like strippers on their flag poles
high school student "nailed" to a cross with a faux bloody face on a church float
people pushing against me
cold feet

So besides the fact that parts of the recent parade felt like outtakes from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ," it was a fun evening. And there's nothing better than free Starbucks.
posted by Anisa @ 9:45 AM | 25 comments


Friday, December 02, 2005

Thank You, Pedro

Yesterday was World AIDS Day, and every year on that date, I spend time reflecting on someone I didn't even know. He changed my life.

The year was 1994, and I was 14 years old. I was very into watching "The Real World: San Francisco" on MTV. I watched every week, disgusted by Puck, annoyed by Rachel and touched by Pedro.

Pedro Zamora put a face with AIDS. He was gay, and his relationship with his partner, Sean, was more respectful than many other heterosexual relationships I've seen on television. The relationship was entirely about caring and supporting someone, even though Sean knew his relationship with Pedro wouldn't be long-term. Sean gave his all; he made sure Pedro wasn't alone. Pedro spent a lot of time and energy on AIDS education. Though the show, I learned not to see Pedro as a homosexual with AIDS. I learned to see him as someone's son and someone's friend who was dying of an incurable disease.

I realized that it really doesn't matter what I think about homosexuality. It's not my job to pass judgment on the lifestyle choices of others. And this especially rang true when I saw the follow-up special about Pedro's death on November 11, 1994. I ran upstairs to my room as soon as the special was over and collapsed on my bed in tears.

This person I didn't even know was gone. The person who opened my heart was no more. I choke up thinking about it even now.

I believe that was the first epiphany of my life. It was on that day that I realized the value in human life. Once gone, it cannot be replaced. Pedro was a good person. He and Sean weren't having orgies and drug parties at Studio 54. They didn't swing from chandeliers. They were just people.

Pedro Zamora's death changed my life. I thank him for opening up my heart. He taught a 14-year old Mississippi girl that just because someone is different than you is no cause for hatred. He didn't ask me to approve of his lifestyle. He didn't ask me to care.

But caring is exactly what I ended up doing.
posted by Anisa @ 9:28 AM | 27 comments


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just A Thought

I don't know what I've done to screw my karma, but so many people have been mean to me in the past 24 hours! God, whatever I did, I'm sorry!!

The latest of the aforementioned events is a comment that greeted me this morning. I felt that it deserved its own response.

Anonymous said...
how can you eat haraam food i.e. weightwatchers chicken and broc ready made meal? you call yourself a muslim? shame on you.


You know, I've spent a lot of time and energy trying to facilitate better relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. I try to show others the beauty and simplicity of this religion that I follow. I have to defend my religion, and tell people that the terrorists don't represent the rest of us. I have to explain that the Nation of Islam isn't the same thing as Islam. I spend energy letting others know that there is a difference between religion and culture. And now I have to defend myself to another Muslim.

I believe that meat is halal (this means acceptable to eat) as long as I say a blessing over it. I don't eat pork or any animal that eats other animals (sharks, etc.) just like I have been taught. People believe different things. I believe that if I say a prayer over the food, it is just fine for me to eat. The Qu'ran says that the name of God must be said over meat in order to make it lawful. So I do just that.

It's the same way that I don't believe it is required to wear the hijab, but I respect those that choose to do so. I don't believe it is required to eat only meat that is stamped halal or kosher, but if I am having company that does, I will cook in accordance with that. I respect differing views.

You say "you call yourself a Muslim?" You damn right I do.

Why? Because all that is required for someone to be a Muslim is for them to believe that there is one God and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His apostle. Done. Finito. You're a Muslim.

But I carry it further than that. I pray, I fast, I give charity. I educate people about Islam. I have even converted someone into this religion (Bert). And I don't knock down other Muslims.

Perhaps you missed the last paragraph in my last post. You may want to re-read it. We are all human. And maybe if we all realized that, the world would be a better place. Let's embrace not only our similiarties, but also respect our differences. Let us realize we are all part of the same community, this Planet Earth.

But let's just say for the sake of argument that it is a sin for me to eat Weight Watcher's chicken (which I'm not 100% sure is meat anyway) and whatever else meat I consume. I'm not sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion on the Day of Judgment that God will ask you why you were judging others. And I doubt He'll ask me about what kind of meat I ate.

Just a thought.
posted by Anisa @ 9:06 AM | 45 comments