Friday, June 29, 2012

Typewriter Tip Tip Tip

I have had this song stuck in my head and it is too good not to share.  The first video has good sound quality and the second video has higher entertainment value.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.

There is something about this quote that pains me. Maybe it is the truth of it. A very basic and obvious truth but still one that unsettles me. At this age, I should not be surprised that people who are considered traditionally attractive are given more allowances, are more easily forgiven and are generally favored. I should not be bothered that people who are considered traditionally unattractive are treated as though they are invisible, looked over for partnership and treated more harshly.

But it does bother me. I wish this very childish wish, that we could see each other for what we are and look beyond hair texture, pant size, height, complexion and every other superficial thing. 

The most disturbing part is not that these shallow traits prevent us from seeing the goodness in others but that they prevent us even from seeing the goodness in ourselves. In a society that has created and valued impossible and ridiculous standards of beauty, it is a revolutionary act to love ourselves. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

art and the human condition

Yesterday I posted a clip of Science of Sleep. I love that movie because it explores that world between reality and dreams.  When I was younger, I would often have what I called "live dreams." I could be in any situation and concurrently an entirely different situation would also be playing out. It could involve the same characters that were in the room but they would be acting out a completely different scenarios. I could distinguish the two and my made up reality was for my own entertainment - a way to satisfy an active imagination.

Michel Gondry, who directed Science of Sleep (and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- another gem!), also directed some of my favorite music videos. His art has always made me feel more comfortable about my imagination and the way I see the world. To me, the best thing about art is that it helps us realize that we are not alone.

When I am in a museum, looking at a painting from two hundred years ago and it is able to invoke an incredible feeling in me, I feel connected to the artist and feel that I am a part of a continuum. It calms me to know that centuries ago, someone felt the same things I feel and was able to capture it in a way that I could understand and relate to.

I feel the same way with music and books. I think good art has the ability to capture something universal and show it in a way that anyone can see it and say, that was for me, that speaks to who I am and how I feel. Michel Gondry does that for me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sleep and I'll Be Your Mirror

Today was one of those days which I was so tired. I just floated through it and have somehow found myself sitting on my couch with a computer in my lap as I try not to drift off to sleep.

All of last night I had one of those strange experiences where you are in a strange dream state where you are not really sleeping. I would get up and walk around but still felt like I was in the reality that was happening in my dream. I was having a nice dream so it wasn't that bad but it was unsettling because I knew in the far recesses of mind that what I thought was happening was not happening.

Here are three interesting facts about dreams:
  • Animals dream too. Armadillos dream the most.
  • We can only see faces we have actually seen in our dreams. The face may be the face of someone we saw in passing and do not remember but our mind does not make up faces on its own. 
  • The average person spends six years of her life dreaming.

Here is a video for one of my favorite songs with clips from one of my favorite movies. Please watch it and be happy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

peanut butter jelly time!

Via random website.
You know what the worst feeling is? Spending all morning cleaning and working while singing its peanut butter jelly time thinking of a peanut butter jelly lunch. Then when its time to lunch, opening the fridge to find out there is no peanut butter jelly!

You know what the best feeling is? Checking the cabinets to find something else and finding a family size of no stir natural peanut butter and raspberry preserves!! You know what this means...

Where he at?
Where he at?
Where he at?
Where he at?

There he go!
There he go!
There he go!
There he go!

Peanut butter jelly!
Peanut butter jelly!
Peanut butter jelly!
Peanut butter jelly!

Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly!
Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly!
Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly!
Do the peanut butter jelly, peanut butter jelly!

Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat!
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat!
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat!
Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

Read the full story and check out more pictures at the source.

Today, there was a great article in the Huffington Post about 9 women who kept a secret for over thirty years. With all the stories about scandals and deceit, this secret is probably not what you expect.

These women, who like to be called the Nine Nanas had a wish to help people and for over three decades, they secretly did good deeds for strangers. They made small changes in their lives that freed up money they were already spending and used that money towards their vision of doing good.

They were inspired to do this because five of them were taken in and raised by "MaMaw and PaPaw." The generosity and love they learned from them has fueled an anonymous campaign of kindness which has led to them contributing over "$900,000 of happiness." Eventually one of their husbands wised up to them and soon all the husbands knew of their secret mission. Now, they have their own website Happiness-Happens which is inspiring and beautiful. This all started over a card game. A small idea implemented with modest means which has given people, one cake or gesture at a time for decades.

From Needs for Sale, this painting "Education for Girls" went for $500.

Our acts of kindness, whether we offer a smile to someone, pay for a meal, take time to listen, give a loan or share a meal, are transformative. When we help one person, we are helping all of humanity.
Let us live the types of lives that inspire like the Nine Nanas, these pictures or needs for sale. There is nothing stopping us. We have an infinite capacity to love and care for each other. Lets start right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Detroit 138 Square Miles

We have a great book on Detroit at the house right now and I was happy to see that the book has a website. We love many things about Detroit and are seriously considering making a move there in the future. I'll talk more about that one day, but for now here are some beautiful pictures of a troubled, inspiring and misunderstood city.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Engagement Rings

I remember that when Feraz and I decided to get engaged, I asked for an engagement ring. I had never really cared about rings and had always thought its as wrong to spend a ton of money on a piece of jewelry but once we had decided to get married, I suddenly really wanted one. I blame it on reading some article about engagement rings where a woman said that one day when you are on your hands and knees scrubbing the toilet, you are going to want to see a big rock on that finger. ??? That story must have left an impression because I told Feraz that I was still on the market until I had a ring. (For the record, I have never found myself in the position of scrubbing a toilet whilst being reassured by the ring I had on my finger.)

Feraz wasn't working at the time and couldn't really afford much but we went to a jewelry store and picked out something that was around a thousand or two thousand. It doesn't seem like much now but at the time, it was a huge undertaking and Feraz started substitute teaching so he could pay for it. I remember at the time that gesture made me feel that Feraz would always take care of me, and he has not let me down.

After I got the ring, I needed to have it resized and took it back to the jewelry store we had gotten it from. While I was waiting to be helped, a man walked in the store and pulled out a gun. Since I have seen a lot of movies, I immediately dropped to the floor and laid flat down. I looked around and noticed nobody else was getting down. Too embarrassed and scared to get back up, I stayed down as everyone else in the store remained inexplicably calm. A security guard came from the back and started pushing the guy out until he was in the secured vestibule. And that was the end of that.

Although I don't wear my ring much, when I think about the stories that surround it and the fact that a boy gave me that ring when I was 19 and he still sleeps next to me, I feel incredibly happy.

This post was brought on by this sweet series of pictures I saw earlier today. Isn't that a beautiful ring? Wouldn't it be fun to design a ring for the person you love?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Who would you be if you were not afraid?

Lately I have been doing an exercise to help me better understand who I am. This was prompted by a discussion Feraz and I had a few months ago. I was having some friends over for dinner and Feraz didn't want to "come" to the dinner party.

He asked if it would be alright if he went out and did something else and I was really offended. I told him he had to come. He pushed back and said that wasn't fair because he didn't know anyone who would be coming and he wouldn't have anything to talk to them about. My defense was that I would look like a fool if my own husband didn't come to my dinner party. Feraz countered that I shouldn't care what other people think.

He ended up coming to the dinner party because I communicated that I would feel hurt if he didn't and we care enough about each other to make compromises to protect each other from hurt. But the conversation got me thinking. Who would I be if I was not afraid?

Whether a person is more like our parent's generation and dictates each action by how it would be received by the community or if a person is self-proclaimed free spirit who is not moved by the masses, it seems an alarming amount of people base their life decisions less on internal factors but more on external perception.

People stay in relationships, jobs, religions, and many other situations that are not right for them because they are guided by fear. They are afraid of seeming to have failed if they leave something, even if it is destructive to them. They are afraid of taking a risk because if they fail, people will say I told you. They are afraid of leaving someone who is bad for them because they fear begin alone. They are afraid they are not lovable. They are afraid that they are frauds. They are afraid they are not enough.

Since that dinner party, I have been trying to evaluate each decision I make and judging what is motivating my action. Is it something I am doing because I feel it is expected of me? Because I enjoy it? Because I am afraid of people's judgment if I do or don't do it? With each decision, I was able to see that the things that made me happy were born from an internal desire, principal or value. The things that were making me unhappy were born of external pressures regarding success or appearances.

As I evaluate the actions I am taking, I recognize the fear that is motivating certain behaviors, I acknowledge it and then I let it go. By doing this, I am becoming more closely aligned to who I want to be as a person. In Islam, there is a concept of the fitra. It is like an internal compass that we are all born with. This compass has already taught us everything we need to know about goodness, compassion and rightness. It is an affirmation that our natural state is that of goodness. If we can believe in this principle or a like-principle, then we do not have to fear discovering who we are and living a life that is sincere and honors that fundamental part of our self.

So, who would you be if you stopped being afraid?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Praying With Conviction

When I was younger, I used to think that there was something very special about me. All my prayers used to come true! If I would pray for guidance, reconciliation or even material comforts, those things would be provided for me. Somewhere in my life, I started to lose my faith. Not necessarily in my belief in God or in the teachings I practiced but in the belief that God loved me and would provide for me. I continued to pray but over time, I noticed that even my most fervent prayers were no longer being answered.

When you pray for something and believe that it is going to come true, then you approach that issue with hope and positivity and there is a chance that you may receive what you are praying for. But if you pray for something while being convinced it will never happen, then you have no chance of attaining it.  Sometimes we may be afraid of what will happen if our prayers are actually answered. Sometimes you may feel you don't deserve happiness or peace. You do.

When I was young I believed my prayers would come true and so I took actions that would help them come to fruition. There is a quote attributed to Frederick Douglass that speaks to this. He said, "I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."  For our prayers to be answered we must have faith that they can be answered and when we have that faith we are no long afraid of taking the risks or putting in the work that it will take to help them be answered.

Today when I offered my prayers and made my supplication at the end, I did so with the peaceful knowledge that God will answer my prayers and if He doesn't He will bless me with patience so I no longer desire what I once did. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Road Trippin

Hi friends! Sorry for the absence but the wedding was all consuming and I didn't think you would want to read post after post about how tired I was! All the hard work and planning paid off and Qasar and Val had a beautiful and memorable wedding. The best compliment paid to it was that it felt just like being in Pakistan! It sure did! I loved having all our extended family around. Seeing everyone so happy and enjoying themselves was the best part of the break by far. I also loved seeing old friends and people from the community.  DC has its perks but its no Michigan!

I didn't get a chance to take many pictures but I promise to blog about all the wedding festivities once I have some photo documentation to go along with the posts. In the meantime, here are pictures from our road trip from Michigan to DC. Hope you enjoy!

Every good road trip begins with you waking up just as your husband walks into the room with coffee and donuts to eat in bed!
We opted for healthy snacks for the car though. Snack shot 1.
I feel really lucky to be able to read in the car without getting sick. I got through a good deal of my book which I've had sitting around for a few weeks now.
My turn as DJ included this and a lot more like it.
Healthy (?) snack 2. So good!
Feraz had Fahad turn on the Euros on his TV and put the phone by it so he could hear what was going on. True story.
England scored! This was preceded by a fist pump and yell.

Doesn't everyone want to wear a mask and take random pictures? 1 of many.
Nice truck.
Our ride. We fell in love with this car. Drives great and holds so much stuff. Life is full of surprises.
Almost in Pennsylvania. 

Must be time for another picture. 2 of many.
Snack 3. Has nuts. Is healthy.
Reflection. 3 of many.
Always looking good.

4 of many.
Not even staged. What a man.
Gulab jaman in parking lot. 5 of many.
Almost home!
Grateful for dumbwaiter.

Came home to all these sweet surprises! Perfect ending to a great road trip.

And a little treat for you who can't eat these goodies.

(Today I am grateful to be home and for courage.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Notes from today so far

1. I hate getting manicures and pedicures. When will I learn and stop thinking it will be different this time?

2. The best part of driving again is sneaking up on Feraz when he is taking a walk, rolling down the window and saying, hey little boy, if you get in the car, I'll give you some candy. As the neighbors watch on.

3. I have an infinite amount of respect for people who live with chronic pain. I want to claw my face off and I even realize that this tooth pain is not that severe. It is just my poor gums trying to heal.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Please be prepared for the most disjointed entry to ever be on this blog. I blame it on sleep deprivation.

Usually I have a million things I want to write about but the last two days have just been a blur of decorations, driving, coffee, eating, driving, listening to wedding music, eating, driving, etc. etc.

I have finished getting the house ready for the most part, have checked off most my to do lists and only have three or four things to do tomorrow but one of those things is to make the slideshow! Yikes!

I have been driving 2-3 hours every day since I've been here. It blows my mind that just a few weeks ago, I didn't know if I would be able to drive again at all! I still think I would get really scared if it started to rain but even driving in the dark has been ok. If this keeps up, I may be driving in DC one day!

My teeth have been really bugging me. For the first few days I would be able to dull the pain with a constant supply of Motrin but that's not working anymore.

Tonight Feraz and I went to IAGD for Isha prayer. It was so nice to see the steps that I used to sit on during Sunday School break, the front lawn where my little friends and I used to talk about our futures and to be reminded of all the great memories I have of the people there. Praise God!

For your viewing pleasure, here is a song I was going to use in the slideshow for the baby pictures part but then I decided not to because I guess it sucks? It made me cry though.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Michigan Wedding Week!

This week, I'm home in Michigan for my brother's wedding! I'll be posting about all the fun things that are going on and hope you enjoy the ride.

My brother's wedding will be extra fun because it is going to be a Thai-Pakistani wedding. I am already salivating thinking of all the great food we are going to eat this week!

Today, I got to meet Val's mom and their family friend. We spent a lot of time hanging out in their hotel, trying on outfits and getting excited for the upcoming days. I know that a big cultural wedding can be a real hassle but so far I've had so much fun planning and moments like today, where we were all just sitting around relaxing and having fun make me really happy and I'm so glad we have them.

So, stayed tuned for more about the wedding and in the meantime, here are some pictures from the last couple of days.

I went through my second round of dental treatments in Costa Rica this past weekend. The two dentists are in the back and Jose with the polo shirt was the nice man who carted me around San Jose from the airport to appointments and to my hotel. 
The first day was about seven hours in the chair and I finally started crying at one point when the pain was unbearable. I asked to take a break and went in the bathroom to wash my face. When I came out, the whole staff was holding a cake and sang Happy Birthday to me in Spanish! They even rolled the rs on my name perfectly! It was so touching.
They got me a Chilean torte cake. It was so good! They used a candle on it that they have used for seven years. Whenever a patient has a birthday they light that candle. I wished that the rest of the procedure would be pain free and it was! It is amazing how having a relaxed mind can help you! 
Cake and Coke in the dentist office. Beautiful.
They sent me home with half a cake. This is how I felt. 
Today I went to visit my friend Tim who was in a motorcycle accident. He broke lots of parts and was in the hospital for two weeks. He is going to be ok though. And that is the most wonderful thing.

These guys love Tim and are doing a great job taking care of him. They are also great at going to Cederland with me.  
If you get hit by a SUV while on a motorcycle, I will put stickers all over a box for you too. Good deal, yeah?

Cederland. The most magical place.
Michael gets really excited at Cederland. Someone needs to tell him to calm down.
Wedding crafts.
Plastic flowers are a must.

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