Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton Has Truly Outdone Herself This Time

Ugh! There is nothing good about the Clintons. I am pretty disillusioned by the political process, so I had already made the conscious decision to devote my energy in a different direction when it comes to politics. However, Hillary Clinton's latest remark is so disgusting as to be unfathomable, even to me. Then, the faux apology she issued only served as further evidence of her utter inhumanity.

Keith Olbermann sums it up best here:

Friday, May 23, 2008

BBC's Series on Muslim Women in Hijaab

The BBC is currently airing a series called "Women in Black" (produced by Amani Zain) that features the lives of Muslimaat (Muslim women) around the world. I've seen several good critiques of the series but I do think they serve an important purpose because, I know far too many people who do not understand that Muslimaat really are individuals instead of some hive mind where everyone thinks and lives the exact same way. There's no way that her series could explain all of the complexities of this issue of hijaab in a simple thirty minute show. A person could spend a lifetime studying the role of hijaab and still never have enough time to learn it all.

Hat tip to the sister over at Hijab Style across the pond!

Clips from the series:

Dubai Style


Dutch Muslim Rapper

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm Too Big For An Extra-Large Swimsuit?

Today I went into one of the popular big box stores to look for a swimsuit. I found three different mix 'n' match bikini sets to try on. They were all kind of cute. One that I really liked was red with black fleurs de lis printed on it. I picked up the top in a size Small and the bottom in a Medium. I wear a size 32A bra and size 6 panties, so I figured that would probably be the best combination to start with.

The top fit me just fine but the bottom was waaaayyyyy too small! I got VanGoghGirl to go and get the next bigger size bottom for me to try on. The Large bottom was too small too. I figured it was just one of those brands that run small, so I moved on to the next bikini set.

Again, I had the Small top and the Medium sized bottom. Unfortunately, I got the same results: The top fit alright but the bottom was too small even when I moved up to the Large. I double checked to make sure it wasn't the same brand as the first one. It wasn't.

Before trying on the third bikini, I had VanGoghGirl go and get me the size Extra-Large bottom. I didn't figure there was any point in even bothering with the medium. Can you believe the Extra-Large didn't fit me either?! It honestly didn't.

What's up with that? What the heck is going on when a woman who is technically considered underweight is still too big for a bikini bottom labeled "Extra-Large"? I can't even imagine the frustration someone must experience if she happens to be the size of the average American woman.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Prayer, Catholicism, & the Rosary

You know, every day I thank the Creator for giving me another day to spend with my daughter. As a child, I was taught to pray before doing everything. We prayed when we woke up, before naps, and before bedtime. We prayed before each meal and before eating our after-school snacks. My mother encouraged me to pray while I was in the shower because, in a house full of people, it was one of the few times when I could be sure that I wouldn't be interrupted.

There have been times in my life when I didn't pray very much. Usually this corresponded with extended periods of depression. If my mother read this, she might say that the reason why I got so depressed was because I wasn't praying and that if I'd prayed more, I wouldn't have suffered from it so often. I don't know whether or not that's true. Maybe there is something to it, maybe not. I do know that a lot of times I felt as if the Creator didn't want to hear what I had to say. I knew that I was doing things that I'd been taught were sinful in God's eyes. It wasn't my mother's fault. She'd always taught me that there was nothing that could make God not want to hear my prayers. To this day, one of my favorite scriptures in the New Testament comes from Romans 8:35, 37-39
35Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? Will tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword?...37To the contrary, in all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers 39nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God's love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This passage has brought me a lot of comfort over the years during times when I felt let down or misunderstood by people in my life.

Right now, VanGoghGirl is going through a rough period. In a couple of days it will be exactly one year since the suicide of my uncle. It's also been a year since her infant cousin died of S.I.D.S. On top of all that, it's the end of the school year and there's a big push to finish all of the remaining coursework. She got her LEAP scores in last week. She did really great. Unfortunately, she's spent the past few weeks all stressed out because, just like every year, she gets this idea in her head that she's probably going to fail. Though her scores were even better than the ones from last year, they weren't high enough to please her inner perfectionist.

My poor genius baby just can't seem to relax. She's having some problems with picking at her hangnails and twisting her hair around and around with her fingers. She has some stress balls that give her something to do with her hands when she's nervous but bringing them to school didn't work out so well because other kids see it as a toy and want to play with it and it winds up being a distraction in class.

I've been thinking about what I can do to help with this problem and I was sort of out of ideas until two days ago. The German and I were in the store making groceries with VanGoghGirl. She is going to a birthday party this weekend and we were trying to find a present for her to buy for her friend. Since the girl is a fellow artist, we decided on a thick sketchbook and a set of pastels.

While we were in the art supply section, VanGoghGirl browsed through the necklace charms rather haphazardly until she saw a package containing two pewter crosses. She decided to get them and make some necklaces with them for two of her friends who come from strict Catholic families. One of them has been teaching her prayers in Latin. Then told me that when she grows up she's going to be a Catholic too. She asked me if that would be alright with me. I don't know what she was thinking my reaction would be but I told her that if it makes her happy, then it's fine with me.

I don't know how long this phase will last. Who knows? She might decide to really stick with the idea of being a Catholic. In that case, there's no reason why she needs to wait until she grows up to pursue her religious path. I've decided that I'm going to buy her a rosary as a gift. I think it will help her in several ways. When she's stressed, she can use her rosary to help her pray and keep her hands busy at the same time. Plus, it won't end up getting bounced around the class like her stress balls did.

If there are any Catholics who read this, I'd appreciate any guidance you can give on how to choose one.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Our Inter-Racial Relationship Adventures



The German and I have been together for nearly eight years now. We have a great relationship that's founded on respect, admiration and love. There is nothing that I couldn't or wouldn't trust leaving in his hands. He is authorized to make any medical or financial decisions for me if ever I become incapacitated. If my death occurs while VanGoghGirl is still a child, he will be her legal guardian and continue to raise her as his daughter. So, I think it's safe to say that have a lot of confidence in his ability to know what sort of decisions I'd want him to make. Still, every once in awhile something happens that makes me scratch my head and wonder just who the heck it is I'm living with.

Two days ago, The German told me that he found some shirts in his size online. That's really great news because he can almost never find clothes his size in the stores. On one of those big & tall sites, he found some sports t-shirts with a big NFL team logo on the front of each of them. Later that night, when we were both sitting across from each other on our computers, he asked me to turn around to look at the shirts that he ordered. One was a New Orleans Saints shirt. The second was a Green Bay Packers shirt and the third one was a Washington Redskins shirt. Yeah, that's right--a Washington Redskins shirt.

At first, I looked at him really hard to see if he was just kidding around with me. He clicked onto the next shirt and then proceeded to tell me how great this site was and how he's going to order even more stuff from them if this initial order works out well. I interrupted him and said, "Wait a minute. Did you really order a Redskins shirt?"

His response was, "Yeah, they didn't have a lot of teams to choose from so I just got the Redskins one because the color looked pretty good." I was completely gob-smacked. I couldn't believe he just wasn't getting it. He truly didn't see anything amiss in this conversation.

Feeling really puzzled, I said "Dude, a Redskins shirt. Come on! You gotta be kidding me! You don't see anything wrong with that?" Suddenly it dawned on him. A look of realization and embarrassment went across his face as he recognized what I was getting at.

Looking a bit sheepish, he said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I could exchange it for another one if you want me to." If I want him to. Can you believe that? It felt like I was in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode.

I told him, "Look, you can keep the shirt if you want to. I'm just not going to ever go anywhere with you wearing it." He apologized profusely and started clicking around on the site to find a phone number he could call to cancel his order.

Sometimes I think that white privilege is really the bane of my existence. *sigh*