Monday, February 23, 2009

To Grandmother's House I Went

I spent a magical week in my hometown staying with my grandmother. Ammi is an amazing woman and full of incredible faith and strength. I will forever treasure the time I spent with her.

She taught me how to make some of my favorite Indian dishes including potato samosas and kabubiya palaw. She is an amazing cook, so I was thrilled to learn from the master! She also taught me to read Arabic. It was incredible how much I learned from her.

We went to the gym, went to Friday Prayer and watched "As The World Turns" and "One Life To Live." I also rather enjoyed the Indian channel we watched, where the girl in our favorite show was named Anisa! So, while I was there I picked up on more Urdu (her native language) and was just thrilled to soak up all I could.

One morning, we went to tour my uncle's work:

Ammi, me and Sommer

My favorite thing we did was staying up late talking each night. I loved learning about her childhood, her parents, her siblings - and of course, my Abbu.

It was just a wonderful week. I already miss our morning tea and late night talks.


posted by Anisa @ 10:23 AM | 5 comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Tonight I am going with a fun group of gal pals to see "He's Just Not That Into You" (HJNTIY). I probably needed a movie like this when I was in high school and college. I look back and realize WOW - there were definitely some one-sided crushes going on that I didn't want to admit were totally and hopelessly unrequited.

But, alas, here I am - 28 years old and married (Thank you, Lord!). In fact, of our group tonight, 3 of us are married, 1 engaged and 1 in a serious relationship. So, it will be doubly fun to have a girl's night out - and to be able to LOOK BACK and see ourselves in the girls who are trying to force something out of nada.
posted by Anisa @ 11:48 AM | 3 comments

Friday, February 06, 2009

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high

I will always love the smell of a library, the feel of being surrounded by books. Some of my happiest memories are when my mom would take me there as a little girl. And all these years later, I have often thought about a certain book that I loved, but could never remember its name. Today after searching on Google, a 20-year mystery was solved. I have no doubt in my mind that I will read this book to my children:

The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments by Arnold Lobel is about a wizard who lived in a time when everything was black, white and gray. The wizard mixes some interesting things together and finds something at the bottom of his cauldron that he names "blue." And you can see from the cover that he discovers other colors too. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I looked it up on Amazon and it's out of print. Hardback copies start at $25. But still, I am going to have to break down and buy it. I NEED THIS BOOK.

I also used to look for a book at the library that I only read once and loved. Each week I would try and find it, but I never could. All I remembered was a grandfather, a granddaughter and an apple tree. So I Googled (bless you, internet!) those terms and found this book:

It's called The Two of Them by Aliki. It's about the special relationship of a grandfather and graddaughter from her birth until his death. Obviously I choked up when I found this. The cover even looks like me and my Abbu. And I remember the apple tree they had in their yard when I was a little girl. I was so happy to find this one too.

Another favorite was this book that I read at my grandparent's house:

Mostly Magic was part of a children's set of books. This was my favorite of the series, and the copy is worn from all the years of enjoyment. My favorite stories included "Little Black Sambo," "Bedulinck" (sp?) and many others. I would get so excited when my mom read me stories from this book.

The most beautiful book I have ever read is A Time To Keep by Tasha Tudor. Just saying the title of this book makes me tear up. It is a book that takes you through the holidays, beginning with a little girl saying, "Granny, what was it like when Mummy was like me?" My favorite is when she talks about how they floated cakes down the river for a birthday:

Another favorite of mine was Lemonade Serenade by Don Madden. My mom said I checked this book out every time I went to the library. She bought it for me a few years ago. It is about how during a tea party, it is discovered that there are elves in the garden making beautiful music.

One book I haven't been able to track down is a book I had long, long ago about fairies. All I can remember is something about wood fairies...the gleams of orange that crackle up from a fire are fairies. I would love to find this one too. If anyone has any idea what that book is, I would sincerely appreciate it.

How is it possible that most of these are out of print? I am sure I will read my children some of the newer books, but I will undoubtedly invest in these classics that brought me so much pleasure.

I would love to hear some of your favorites also. Which books brought you great joy and took you to faraway lands?
posted by Anisa @ 11:04 AM | 5 comments

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Heaven On Earth

Every weeknight, it seems there is something to do. Pottery class, working out, Junior League meeting, etc. And weekends seem full of plans with friends or catching up on what there wasn't time to do during the week. You know how it goes.

Well last night, I had a meeting that was canceled. I was thrilled; it was like I had gotten an evening of my life back! I thought through the rest of the week. Tonight I will go to the gym, tomorrow is a community service project followed by a meeting. But last night, I cleared my schedule. It was glorious.

First, I went to Papa Johns and got a large cheese pizza for $5.99. They run this special every Tuesday and I decided for my relaxing night at home, I would indulge in my favorite food. I also had two little Reese's Hearts for dessert. Not to mention the little mini candies left from the Super Bowl. I was in food heaven.

Not only was I eating yumminess, I did what I wanted. I called my dad and had a nice chat with him, and then I went to DVR-land. Bert was in class, but when he got home, he still let me watch "The City" and "The View" without even the slightest complaint. NOT ONLY THAT - but then we watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which I loved. Great, great movie. Bert's been under the weather, so he fell asleep. Well, I was not done with my fabulous night. I then watched "90210." I can't remember the last time I watched so much TV, and I have to say - it felt great. The house was still clean and I could enjoy all of this relatively guilt-free.

I then snuggled into bed and read a few chapters of Sophie's World, a novel about philosophy. And as I closed my eyes to sleep, I was so grateful. Grateful for a warm house, cold pizza in the kitchen and a happy home. Sure I'm back to the real world today and thinking about this scary economy and whatever else, but for last night - all was well.
posted by Anisa @ 9:27 AM | 4 comments

Monday, February 02, 2009


I was dusting, getting ready for our Superbowl Party yesterday. As I drug the Windex Wipe across his face, I collapsed on the leather recliner in tears. The kind where your whole face is wet, the kind that is such a release that you don't really want to stop until you've gotten it all out. And so, that's what I did.

I think the past two months have mostly been marked by shock and denial. I have been sad, but I have functioned. Every day, I have gotten up, gone to work, etc. Right after his passing, I had a hard time going to work, but for the most part, I was hanging in there.

I guess I am moving into a new phase of grief. It feels real, painfully real. I think about him a lot, and it is the worst pain in the world knowing I can't pick up the phone and call him. I can't go to his house and see him. Oh, it hurts.

I thought this is how I would feel all along. I almost felt guilty that I felt decent. I talked about this with a friend over lunch last weekend who lost her father last year, and she shared similar feelings. For a while, you are just in shock. I guess it's your body and mind's way of protecting you. And then slowly but surely, it tells you the awful truth.

I remember him like I saw him yesterday. He is so real to me, and I think he always will be. I was telling my dad that I remember my Mama Dean (his grandmother) vividly too. I remember how she looked, how if you touched her hair that it wouldn't really move. I remember what toothpaste she used (Close-Up) and her chihuahuas Bambi and Sissy. Her truck was named Roger and she made the best teacakes in the world. I loved it when she told me scary stories about Jack - the pretend man that lived in the field across the street. She made the most beautiful quilts. She's been gone for 10 years now. If I remember her this vividly, it gives me solace knowing that I will remember Abbu forever.

But in addition to solace, I also feel anger and guilt. I feel angry because I catch myself walking around like a judge and jury. Why is that evil person still alive? Why wasn't my grandfather granted more years? Why didn't the doctors save him? Why??? I guess this is where faith comes in, for I will never know why. And then I feel guilty for letting myself think that way.

And what really scares me is that tiny grain of doubt in my mind. What if this is it? I hope and pray that there is more than this, that I will see Abbu again. Of course I have faith, but I am scared too. I am scared that I will never hear him laugh again or see him working out equations on a green engineering pad. I want to talk with him about things, about education and world affairs. I want him to hug me and call me Doogie.


posted by Anisa @ 12:08 PM | 4 comments