Happy Birthday America

tumblr_n874hxpXZI1tu8sz5o1_500

Happy 4th of July!  Or, as my son likes to put it : Happy Birthday to America!

He picked out the picture.

This has always been my favorite holiday because it takes place in my favorite month, during my favorite season.

Not to mention the day honors my favorite place, my home, where I have grown up and lived pretty much my whole life.

What’s great is that the entire country starts celebrating a week in advance.  

And I love celebrating.

Enjoy the fireworks, everyone!

Hate, not heritage

0

This is what we saw, twice, during our road trip through the southern part of the United States.  A very large, blanket sized Confederate flag, waving in the air, off of I-75.

I believe there is one near Tampa and the other we saw in Georgia.

Not too far from the one we saw in Georgia was a large billboard that said Secede. 

I kid you not.

I don’t know what century these people are living in.

I was highly offended by two things when I saw that symbol of hate waving in the air.  Number one was that it’s a symbol of hate.  Number two was that any flag other than the one of the USA would be up and displayed so prominently.

My family is Indian.  If I want to celebrate my heritage, I make biryani.  I don’t pop the Indian flag out on my lawn.

It’s as simple as that.

RIP

When you’re sick or upset, you want your surroundings to match your mood. 

 Right now I feel like giving the sun the finger.  I want it to rain and thunderstorm. 

Looks like there might be a slight chance. 

  

It’s the first time I’ve ever mourned for a TV character. 

Behold the power of the television.  It can affect your brain long after you’ve hit the power button. 

Do yourself a favor and don’t ever watch the last episode of your favorite show when you’re home alone and no one is there to cheer you up. 

 It’s just sad. 

I felt something similar after the last scene of Brokeback Mountain

RIP Shano.

 

Snow is a four letter word

There are days when my brain works at a speed and efficiency that surprises even me.  On those days, I am charming and at my witty best.  I also manage to churn out draft after draft of the most fantastic blog posts, the sheer awesomeness of which would completely boggle your mind.

Then there are those times when I can’t even spell wow and only every so often is there an occasional blip in the flat line that is my brain activity.  All those fantastic blog posts are trashed and I wonder what I was high on that I ever considered them good enough to publish.

This blog post has been stuck somewhere between those two states of mind.

As I sit and type, son 1 and son 2 are jumping off and climbing back on my king size bed.  They’re chasing each other and laughing like maniacs.  There’s a lot of noise and hyper activity.

Occasionally I have to move my laptop out of the way for fear of one of them crashing down on it.

Son 2 just sat on son 1’s face and farted.  I was going to say something, but before I could, son 1 laughed hysterically and shouted Mine will be worse than that!

The joys of being the only female of the house.

My sons think women don’t have gas because they’ve never heard me share it before.

After a week’s worth of monkeying around, picking up of toys, fighting, shoving, crying, refereeing, complaining of utter boredom, and trying to keep from losing my sanity, Son 1 had his first full day of school, post spring break, last Monday.

Back when I was a student, spring break actually started in Spring.  

The icing on the cake was the surprise snowstorm we got on the first day off.  We woke up to five inches of the white stuff on the ground and temperatures low enough to make sure it stayed there.  For the entire week.

The snow meant no chasing the chubby little bunnies in the backyard, no swinging or sliding on the play set, and no digging tunnels in the freshly exposed dirt to see if you could get to China without paying for expensive airfare.

So with the situation as it was, the kids were plenty bored.  PLENTY bored.

Which led to my husband buying them a brand new way to have some fun.

I have a strong feeling it was more for him than the kids.

The game system brought excitement and even more fighting, this time for who would get use of the fancy new controller.

Look, they stuck a little TV in it.

IMG_0365

It’s been almost two weeks since then and I’m still waiting for my turn.  😡

Times sure have changed.  I grew up in a house with four siblings.  If one of us ever complained about something as frivolous as being bored, we didn’t get toys.  We got lectures.  And not even your typical lectures.

Our lectures consisted of stuff like how we were the lucky ones, how kids in the old country would be happy to trade places with us, and that we were bringing shame on our entire family, plus a few generations back of ancestors, by not making the most of our time off and doing math problems.

No one does guilt like Indian mothers do. 😐

I tried the guilt thing with my kids once.  Just once.  I was sick and probably also slightly off my hinges for even thinking any of my parents approaches to discipline would ever work.

I said to my boys Can you please keep it down?  I’m not feeling so well.  I could use some peace and quiet.

They didn’t care.

Frustrated, I said If I had daughters, they would care that their mommy was sick.  They would tell me to rest and make me breakfast in bed!  

My boys looked a little shocked at that and traded nervous looks with each other.

I thought Jackpot!, but no.  

No jackpot.

Maybe you’ll have better luck next time was the apathetic reply.

I was almost desperate enough to start pretend crying next, because every man I know, from my 61 year old father to my 4 year old son, gets nervous and fidgety when the water works start.

But I didn’t.  I just lay down on the sofa, propped my feet up, and let the two of them play a game of who can jump over Mommy without crash landing on top of her.

Not my boys, that’s who.

Anyway, all that came to an end the moment Son 1 got on that giant yellow bus and I waved to him from our doorway.  I told him to be sure and thank his teacher for me as soon as he saw her on the first day back.

What for? he asked.

I replied Don’t worry.  She’ll know.  

I’ll bet he had to wait in line.

 

 

Ronald McDonald is my best friend

I am a die hard foodie.  I get excited just hearing about what was served at parties.  I like to cook and I like to eat.  

I swear, when I die, it’ll be probably be with a french fry in my mouth. 

And of course it just happens that when a foodie goes on a diet, she gets invited to a beautiful wedding that is hosted by other foodies. 

And the dessert table makes you think you died and went to pastry heaven. 

   

         

My sister and I snuck some of these goodies out with us. 😁

I only had one piece of baklava because I believe in eating in moderation when there are 600 people eating with you.

Then you take the rest home and stuff your face.  

On being the eldest

I have four siblings.  Two brothers and two sisters.  That makes me the eldest of five.

Most of the time I would say I’m very loving and maternal towards them.  I’m sort of like a den mother type. 

But of course siblings can piss you off. 

We don’t fight often, but when we do, things escalate pretty quickly.  We get MEAN.

When you fight with a sibling, you don’t hold back.  

My youngest sister sent me this yesterday to say the sun reminds her of me. 



Ha ha ha.  😂 I have to say, I agree.  

Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one

Head of Elgin Islamic School charged in sex abuse of former employee

Can’t say I’m shocked.

Sexual violence happens everywhere in the world and in every type of society.  But few will admit that it is rampant in religious institutions where extreme sexual repression is practiced and endorsed.

It happens and it happens often. In secrecy, of course.  Similar to the scandal that rocked the Catholic community.

What I am shocked about is that the perpetrator is facing charges.  People who hold high, powerful positions are not brought down easily.  Major respect to the young lady who had the courage to speak up for herself.  Major respect for the family that supported her.  Her bravery has led other women to come forward about being molested by the same sick bastard.

Laying allegations of sexual abuse against a figure such as Abdullah Saleem is no small feat.  For the Chicago Muslim community, he might as well have been the Pope.  That’s how revered he was, and still is, to some people who believe the victims are lying.

You might be thinking that I’m too quick to judge.  That everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

True.

But I speak from personal experiences and observances that very often (but not always, of course), those who speak the loudest are mostly full of shit.

If you feel the need to sermonize and make a big tada about your actions, odds are you’re speaking from the mind and the wallet.  Not the heart.

And if your actions are from the heart, you don’t need an audience or a spotlight to showcase you.  The beauty of your deeds and your work will speak for itself and be satisfaction enough.

I am also well aware that a victim’s reputation is always at stake in cases of sexual abuse.  To speak up is to be faced with questions and accusations against ones own ethics and principles, especially in a religious setting and against such a highly esteemed figure as Abdullah Saleem.

No woman or man would tackle something of this magnitude were it not for some major, MAJOR shit having gone down.  No amount of money can equal the fight and the heartache of tackling the tsunami that is the  backlash from a large religious community.

Salem Witch trials, anyone?

I can’t sum up in words exactly how awed I am by the young lady who has now given a voice to other victims.

She has more balls than the entire male staff of IIE put together.

This scandal brings to light how powerful a recruiting tool religion can be.  I’m a sexual predator won’t sell, but religious school for the learning of Quran or Bible classes for young boys will have people lining up to patron your holy cause.

Put a supposedly divine stamp on it and it’s amazing what you can get away with.

A fantastic Indian movie I watched recently, PK (yeah, that’s the title, a P and a K), gives an account of how warped religion has become in the hands of man.  It is religion seen through the eyes of an extraterrestrial.  An alien.  Awesome stuff.  Please do give it a look.  You’ll easily find a copy with subtitles if need be.

https://i1.wp.com/baysidejournal.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/atrocious-fashion-sense.jpg

And no, I was not paid for the advertising of the movie.

As if.

Lastly, and most importantly, please listen to your children and create an environment in which they feel safe coming to you for any and all problems.  Abdullah Saleem isn’t the only one, of course.  There are plenty of sickos out there, some in guises of holy pillars of the community and many not.  The trauma of living through sexual abuse is something that can easily break an adult.

Imagine what it has the potential to do to the fragility of a child.

To 3 or not to 3

This is a picture of me as a baby.  The person holding me is my uncle.

IMG_0078 (2)

I don’t know why I look so angry.  My husband says I still make that sour face.  A lot.

Here’s another.

IMG_0079 (2)

I’m with my mom in this one.  Apparently I didn’t move a lot as a kid.  Some things never change.

Excuse the quality of the pics.  They’re pretty old.

No, I’m not old.  Just the pics are.

My neighbor from across the street recently had her fifth child.  She gets out of the house so infrequently that I found out she had been pregnant two weeks after she brought the baby home from the hospital.

She’s a little on the religious side.  She likes to tell me that children are a blessing, birth control is a no no, and that we should have as many kids as God decides to give us.

Okay, Michelle Duggar.  You do that.  I’m going to hop on the first train back to the real world, where we have  something called a condom.

As my boys get older, the question of So are you going to have any more? becomes inevitable.  I’ve heard it quite a few times already.  Everyone seems to think that we need a daughter.

My sister once asked me Wouldn’t you love to have a girl? to which I replied Not as much as I’d love to have a life.

IMG_0081 (2)

If you listen closely, I’ll tell you a secret.  Ready?  Okay, here we go.

Kids.  Are.  A LOT.  Of work.

Above is the picture of my eldest at around three months old.  Isn’t he such a doll?

But behind those chubby cheeks and fat wrists lies a natural inclination to be hyper.  And naughty.

Here is Child 2 at 1.5 months of age.

IMG_0083

His story is the most famous post on this blog.

He’s the opposite of his brother.  He loves to eat and to sleep.  He also did this thing as a newborn where he would pull a fistful of his own hair and then scream at the top of his lungs.  That was cute but I really hoped it didn’t reflect on his level of intelligence.

When you put the two of them together, you get 4 ounces of getting along, 3 ounces of fighting, and 1 ounce of He’s so stupid and annoying and I wish he was like Mini!

Mini is my brother’s deceased pet cat.  He was also my kids’ first experience with the concepts of death and dying.  I was hoping for some maturity and understanding from them when we mentioned Mini’s passing, but all they got out of it was that he had gone away and was never coming back and hey, that’s a good idea, let’s send my annoying brother there, too.

My kids are my world.  They might drive me crazy, but they also make me laugh.

Like when my four year old comes up to me, points to my breasts, and asks Which one makes ice cream?

I’m guessing that’s some sort of reference to breast milk but I was laughing too hard to inquire.

As much as I love my kids, I’m not crazy about the idea of giving them more siblings.  My experience with raising infants hasn’t been the greatest.  It was challenging, to say the least.

While all the other new parents sailed smoothly, we hit iceberg after iceberg.

Smash.  Acid reflux.

Crash.  Inability to nurse.

Wham.  Being blessed with the one baby in the world that didn’t seem to require any sleep whatsoever.  His idea of nap time was an extra long blink.

The biggest problem of them all was my kids’ inability to put on weight.  They would gain ounces, not pounds.   Both were big babies at birth and in utero, thanks to my doing a really good job at the eating for two part, but my husband was a rail thin child and genetics eventually took over in full force.

Difficulty in gaining weight is a problem I never had.  I can look at food and gain weight.  Even embryonic me must’ve been on the heavier side.

Not my boys.  They both eat like crazy and not one bit of it turns into baby fat.  They have the metabolism of an Olympic gold medalist.

While it’s great for them as kids, as babies it was a nightmare.  Infancy is the one and only time where fat equals cute.  Kid one was diagnosed with failure to thrive and kid two with the audacity to completely fall of the charts.

I know now that children of Indian descent are naturally more petite.  But as a new parent, any minor deviation from normal was the end of the world.  And that’s what it felt like.

It’s tough to look back at their baby pictures and not remember a time when I felt like a total failure at the whole mothering thing.

An especially low point was when a cold ass bitch commented So are you feeding your kids at all or are you eating their food as well?

Apparently she meant it as a joke.  I meant it as a joke, too, when I told her her husband’s tits were bigger than hers.

I’m in no hurry to flunk the test for the third time and neither is my husband.  Sure, number 3 might be the charm, but higher powers seem to be agreeing with us on two being the magic number.  Meaning my ob-gyn and my cardiologist.  The only way I will be allowed to deliver any future child is through cesarean surgery and the pills I pop for my tachycardia are harmful to a growing fetus.

Let’s see.  Stop taking potentially life saving medicine and be carved up like a Christmas turkey, or shut down the baby making factory and be a good mom to the kids I already have?

If anything I’d say God was telling me to keep my uterus to myself.  Okay, God, I get your message.  Sheesh. Now stop sending me those nightmares where I’m giving birth to the Antichrist.

Because one is the loneliest number

Still to be neat, still to be dressed,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powdered, still perfumed:
Lady, it is to be presumed,
Though art’s hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.

Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all the adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

-Ben Jonson

Makeup.

That first step in the overall process of socialization for human females.

A grooming ritual performed primarily in order to portray an image of looking better than one actually is.

I’ve tried cosmetics in the past.  Sometimes I still do, just to fit in.  I seem to be the one woman on the planet that isn’t interested in this stuff that other ladies go crazy over.  Even my sisters think I’m nuts because I choose to head out of the house with nothing on my face except some moisturizer and sunscreen.

Something about makeup never appealed to me, besides the fact that even when it’s done right I feel I look more like Ronald McDonald than some Indian beauty queen.  There’s just something so illusionary about it.  That’s not to say I never tried to like it, though.

After a few YouTube searches on how to makeup tutorial, I gave up and decided that face paint application is apparently more complex than advanced calculus.  Just the amount and types of brushes they used confused the hell out of me.  Even the doctors that performed my two cesareans had less instruments to work with.

I’m also hopeless with jewelry.  My mom almost killed me for all of hers that I misplaced when I was a teenager.  You haven’t seen crazy angry until you’ve come across an Indian woman bemoaning the loss of her gold finery.

A lot of ladies out there are probably thinking that with my dislike for things that are synonymous with femininity, I’m really a man hiding two grapefruits underneath his shirt.  If I miss any more waxing appointments I just might fit that description.

But no.  All ovaries, eggs, and monthly bloating here.  My collection of clothes, shoes, hair care products, and perfumes can attest to that.

Wait a sec.  Who ever said you need to qualify in order to be a woman?

In the past I’ve been made to feel like an unsophisticated and simple country mouse due to my preference for the bare faced look, but I say to each woman her own.  You like going out caked in layers of overpriced cosmetics, go for it.  If you prefer the I just woke up, zombie look, go for that.  If you want to  grow out the hair in your armpits and not shower for a week, then –

Never mind.  Don’t do that last one.

Getting our interfaith dialoguing on

photo 1photo 2

The Christmas tree our son wanted is now up in our living room!  It’s a cute little addition.  We know nothing about tree selection and yes, this is the one you saw on sale in your Big Lots catalog.  It gets the job done.  My kids are giddy with excitement and the little one wants to check the chimney to make sure Santa isn’t stuck up there.  The man has to be the only celebrated fat person on the planet.

Yesterday we went to see some lovely Christmas lights at a park near my husband’s office.  The only bad thing that happened was that we got honked at for a full two minutes by some jerk who apparently was going to shit his pants or have a reindeer crash land into his car.  I felt guilty about giving him the finger, in light of the holiday season and all, but come on mofo, get into the Christmas spirit.  Take the candy cane outta your ass.

Here’s to some more peace and harmony in the world.  And much less snow.  I know people like a white Christmas and all but I really really hate the stuff.  You can’t blame me because I live in Chicago, a beautiful city where a white Fourth of July is within the realm of possibility.  I’ll wrap it up here with a little joke about how Chicago has two seasons, winter and construction.  Thanks to the effects of global inequality we have now added corruption and violence.  You know what they say.  Come to Chicago for the fun and stay because you got shot.  I don’t know who says that but it’s pretty funny.  I love you, my frozen little icecap of a hometown.