All posts by yasmine

Once again: Numbered lists & lots of things in Threes

This way down
This way down, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Four years of blogging, and up ’til now I’d managed to dodge completing any memes thrown my way (I’ve been tagged for my share, though, you can be sure; I still owe you one, Maliha!), and I still don’t even know how to pronounce the word “meme,” so why don’t you rockstars help me out here?

Meanwhile, brimful tagged me for this “Three Things” drama, and then had the audacity to retort in response to my whining, “Yasmine, I knew immediately that I was going to tag you. I’m evil like that.” Luckily, I love brimful’s writing and her fantastic taste in music (don’t let her self-deprecation about either of those things fool you!), so I’m going to man up and do this.

So much for trying to step away from numerical-lists and bullet-point posts, though. And, really, I am so boring that there’s absolutely no reason why you needed to know any of the following about me. But, here we go!

Three things that scare me:
1. Car crashes
2. Getting water up my nose
3. Thinking that, one day, I’m going to raise my arm too quickly and chip my front teeth while drinking from a glass

Three people who make me laugh:
1. ummm, EVERYONE. I am so easily amused, it’s not even…funny
2. 2Scoops, for his emails/IMs/facebook wall posts/5+ minute long voicemessages where he gets cuts off/weblog comments/shared love for the Pearls Before Swine comic strip
3. Z when he uses “MUTHAFUCKLE!” in IM conversations (I can’t remember if we made this up together, or if he did singlehandedly, but it hella makes me laugh, regardless)

Three things I love:
1. My sister, and our amused, knowing glances shared across a crowded room
2. The smell of citrus, particularly tangerines and oranges
3. Punjabi songs, because they remind me a little bit of my dialect, Hindku, and thus always make me laugh in recognition

Three things I hate:
1. People who micro-manage
2. People who drive under 80mph in the fast lane
3. WINTER. &*$#($%#@!

Three things I don’t understand:
1. People who are such drama
2. People who think that wearing socks with sandals/open-toed shoes is perfectly okay
3. High school

Three things on my desk:
1. (Hiding under my keyboard:) Lots of yellow post-its, with scribbled song and book recommendations
2. An empty paper plate that used to contain a piece of pistachio baklava
3. The phone I refuse to answer, unless someone calls specifically for me, and then B has to tell me to get Line One (or Four, or whichever one it is)

Three things I’m doing right now:
1. Holding a BOYCOTT TODAY campaign, because I am annoyed with various things about today
2. Looking forward to this evening’s dinner with the lovely A!
3. Telling everyone I know that they have to join me at Suheir Hammad’s poetry session in San Francisco next week! (And, look! She’s going to be performing in Berkeley the evening before!)

Three things I want to do before I die:
1. Visit Spain
2. Drive on a cross-country roadtrip
3. Something constructive, helpful, and occasionally selfless with my life

Three things I can do:
1. Remember all the lyrics to every single Savage Garden song
2. Figure out all the places where people are missing commas in material they give me to edit (last week, it was an architect’s design portfolio in PowerPoint)
3. Ignore/reject phone calls from anyone without feeling a twinge of guilt

Three things you should listen to:
1. HijabMan singing on your voicemail, especially when it’s ’80s songs! Freakin’ awesome
2. Your heart – because, your brain? It doesn’t know jack. (…Or is it the other way around? I never listen to anything, clearly)
3. People who encourage you to buy books. Those are the friends worth keeping

Three things I’d like to learn:
1. Sign language
2. Praying the five daily ritual Islamic prayers with regularity
3. Dancing

Three favorite foods:
1. Potatoes, in pretty much any form (Samosas, masala dosas, boulani, biryani, aloo parathha, french fries, mashed potatoes…)
2. Hot apple pie with ice cream (or cold apple pie, alone)
3. Dessert of any sort – so, basically, sugar

Three beverages I drink regularly:
1. Cold water. The end. (I am so boring, really.) Irregularly now, I also drink the following:
2. Cranberry juice
3. (I wish I could say blue raspberry slurpees, but, really, it’s:) Pulp-free, organic orange juice that I take – along with fresh doughnuts – to halaqa every Sunday morning

Three TV shows/books I watched/read as a child:
1. MacGyver!
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
3. All the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books I could get my hands on

Three people I would like to tag: (Uh, dude, who and his/her mother hasn’t filled this out yet?)
1. Arafat
2. HijabMan
3. Uzi
And some more for good measure!
4. Knicq
5. Momo
6. DeGrouchyOwl

The sun must come

flickr beach collage via H_A
All photos originally uploaded by yaznotjaz; collage created last summer by Hashim_A, rockstar (and tea-lover. gross!) extraordinaire. Photos may be individually viewed in the Muir Beach photoset.

Tomorrow is the sister’s birthday, and in ten days it’s mine – and I’m so horrible at this birthday business, mine or anyone else’s. Last year, all I wanted for my birthday was sunshine. This is a predictable wish, and it worked out quite well in 2006. I already know how I’m going to spend the last day of my birthday month, this year. It’s the first day that I’ve got to figure out.

Today, I spent the morning at the dealership, learning that a 30,000 mile service and new brake pads and rotors on my car would cost a whopping grand total of $810+tax. Tomorrow morning, I should make them give me a spiffy rental car to make up for it. Spiffy cars can make up for a lot of things. That’s why people buy red sports cars when they go through mid-life crises. Me, I’m going to go through a quarter-life crisis. Perhaps, I might as well have an identity crisis, too, while I’m at it. It’ll be like this morning, when the lovely gentleman who was driving me back home from the dealership asked, “So, where are you from?” And I raised an eyebrow and responded coolly, “Oh, the Bay Area, mainly. But I also grew up living in Sacramento and a few other places.”

“Oh,” he said, and I smiled at him. There was silence for another minute, until he ventured again, politely, “I meant, where are you from originally?” I mentally threw up my hands in defeat, and replied, “Pakistan.”

“Oh, that’s nice!” he said, delighted.
“Yes, it is.”

After this morning’s car-related dramas, I’ve spent the rest of the day at work, because, unlike the rest of America, I’m not off for President’s Day. That sound you hear? That’s the sound of Yasmine unsheathing her stabbing paraphernalia – because, as Hamza asks, “What fun is life without stabbing paraphernalia?” But, seriously, what is this drama about working on a national holiday? It’s disgusting. Almost enough to make a kid contemplate unemployment. I should be sitting outside in the sunshine, looking at the fourteen plastic grocery bags filled with tangerines that we picked this weekend, eating breakfast in the courtyard – all the things my parents were doing this morning when I called home to ask the daddy-o about advice related to my car.

Instead, I’ve spent the day indoors, ostensibly project-planning, but also day-dreaming about sunshine and beaches and warm water and the day my hands will turn brown again, because, as the sister exclaimed over dinner last week, “You’re so white!”

That’s it. When spring is here for sure and the weather stays consistently warm, I’m heading down to Santa Cruz for some sunshine and sand.

Does Josh have a job? Thanks for letting me know

When I came in to work yesterday morning, I checked my personal emails and found this one – accidentally, I’m assuming, sent the evening before by an administrator from my alma mater, to the University’s pre-health sciences listserve, of which I’m still a member (yeah, don’t ask – I don’t know why, either):

Hi, P!

Hope you had a good time with Earlene and Dorothy–and that you made it back in one piece to CM :-) I didn’t hear a peep out of SV for my birthday, but just received a message that her car is not running well because they had to put chains on (what’s that about?) and that she doesn’t have money for food or rent. Sigh. And what to do. If I call, I will have to ask that question I’m not welcome to voice (“Does Josh have a job?”), so perhaps I’ll just wait a bit. BIG SIGH!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My first reaction was, Holy freakin’ smoley, she is going to be SO FREAKIN’ EMBARRASSED when she realizes she sent this to the entire list! My second reaction was, YEAH! Does Josh have a JOB? Get with it, Josh! And, hey, what’s THAT about CHAINS, huh? And then I kept laughing to myself the rest of the morning. I was so amused by this hilarious start to the day, that I changed my GMail away message to the following:

It’s so funny when people send emails to the wrong recipients. TOO MUCH INFORMATION, kids!

A few hours later, as I was frantically preparing for an afternoon meeting, I clicked through my open firefox tabs and found a new email in my inbox, this time from blurker, erstwhile blogger, and fellow GMail user, Shaheen, with the subject line: “Friday night.” Her email read:

Hey Jasmine!

Just thought I’d let you know that I won’t be able to go out Friday night anymore. I have to take the kids this weekend; their father’s being a real jackass and saying he can’t look after them. He probably just has another playmate on the side to take to some fancy resort, again. I don’t know when the fuck he’s gonna quit that crap. I’m just glad I got out of it as soon as I did.

Anyways… I hope you have a great night without me. Don’t drink TOO much, and make sure you tell all the hotties about me too.

Your bitchin’ buddy,

It is a testament to my utter cluelessness that I spent about two minutes staring confusedly at my computer screen, wondering, Whaaaa…? Who was this supposed to go to? Who is this from again?! Maybe it IS a real email! And then I laughed my ass off and IMed Shaheen with, “SUTT PANJAA!” (except I misspelled it, and she thought I was saying, “SAAT PANJA,” which means “seven fives” or something).

Shaheen, I’m sorry you’re going through so much drama and turmoil with that jackass husband of yours, but we all know I need more drama in my life anyway, so at least I get to live vicariously through you. As soon as I get back from my night of binge drinking, I’ll be sure to lend you an emotional shoulder.

PS: I love Shaheen because she introduced me to “SUTT PUNJAAA!”, which is how the Punjabis say, “HIGHFIVE!” It literally translates to, “Throw a five!” Isn’t that great?! I think it is. (Almost as good as “Oopar/ooncha paanch!”, the Urdu version.)

Send some love to Momo

Originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Please take a minute to send some love and prayers to the beautiful Momo, whose brother-in-law passed away last week after a difficult struggle with cancer. He is survived by his wife and their two children, 6 years old and 13 months old. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful a time this must be for his family.

Momo’s gorgeous poem, my sister’s Love life, made me cry when I read it, over and over at least a dozen times, a couple of weeks ago.

Wishing Momo’s brother-in-law much light and ease finally, and wishing strength and nothing but goodness for all the loved ones he left behind.

How to balance work and play

How to balance work and play
Originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

My new business cards came in at work today, and the first thing my friend A (he of the Halloween GMail chats) said was:

A: Think of all the guys you can now meet at ISNA* conferences.
A: “Salaams brother…here’s my card…fax me your biodata.” **

*ISNA = Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention, held in Chicago. (Here are a few photos I took when I was there for the first time, in Sept. 2006.)
** Biodata: For those of you who aren’t South Asian and in the know, check this and this.

Oh, and next time I go to ISNA, I’ll let the world know in advance, so we can hang out. I promise I won’t give you my business card.

Take a glorious bite out of the whole world

Three beautiful things – Friday, Dec. 29th:

one. While walking to my office in the morning, I whistle at a beautiful, furry orange cat sunning itself on the sidewalk, and surprise myself with the clear notes that come out of my mouth. I can’t even remember the last time I whistled. Has it been years? I thought I had forgotten how.

two. Getting off early from work (3pm!) and going to the movies with B. Best part: sneaking my bottle of chocolate milk inside and drinking it while watching the film. By the way, I thought Dream Girls was ROCKING. Note to self: Coordinate plans to watch it again with Princess Pretty Pants and D.

three. Personalized license plates seen on a sports car zooming down the freeway: IHAV2P

Winter house-cleaning of my virtual home

Brick red
I admit to a weakness for red brick, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Apropos of nothing, I have a new cell phone (a Motorola Razr in case you’re wondering, now that they’re not trendy anymore and are instead one of the most affordable phones in the T-Mobile store). Remember all the freakin’ drama I had to undergo over three years ago, just to find a decent phone that worked properly? Well, Motorola’s been good to me numerous times since then. The Razr has such lovely sound quality and clarity, I didn’t have to ask T to repeat himself even once while talking to him twice in two days (this is a new record for frequency of phone conversations, when it comes to me), even while I was wandering around my house, which has frustratingly horrid reception. Also, my new phone comes with a built-in camera. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m about two years behind the times, but who needs a camera in her phone when she’s got a rocking digital camera? I mean, really now.

Speaking of years and time (which is the real point of this post, actually), today is the one year anniversary of Sweep the Sunshine (that means nearly FOUR years of blogging, rockstars. Can you believe it?), and once more I took it upon myself to fiddle around with stuff ’round here.

I’ve finally been granted the opportunity to switch over to Blogger beta, so I played around with my template a bit, adding labels [that’s “categories” to the rest of you] and fixing old permanent-links that still pointed back to good ol’ ramblingmonologues. Of course, I’ve realized that every time I edit and republish such old posts, they show up as new posts in my RSS feed (hello, Google Reader). Sorry, people.

The only template problem I’m having right now is that not all my posts categorized under each label are showing up on their respective label pages. Apparently, it only shows 20 posts under each label, because I refused to switch over to one of the new Layouts templates offered by Blogger beta and am thus missing some necessary piece of code.

Also, here’s a question I’ve been contemplating lately, while getting overly excited about things like labels/categories (features that non-blogspot users have had as default for ten thousand years already): Which is better, TypePad or WordPress? And why? Or, what do you like about either/both of them? I’ve been contemplating a switch lately, especially since my comments box is sometimes unpredictable and I hate the Blogger commenting system. Such drama. Clearly, I have issues with commitment and I like change (even though I know you all hate it).

Here’s a list of all my labels/categories, although they’re pretty self-explanatory [I just like making lists, unless they’re to-do lists]:

(3)BeautifulThings celebrates all the beautiful stuff I’d noted from any given day or week. A lot of it is in list format. The “3” is in parentheses because I only started the “three beautiful things” exercise recently.

All-Star Crackstar Squad: Friends and buddies and people I engage in hangingout sessions with. HIGHFIVE to my favorite crackstar 2Scoops for originally coming up with and using that phrase while commenting on Baji’s April 4th post [turn your permanent-links on, Baji!], after we hung out in Berkeley in late March2006. [Dude, I never wrote about that!]

Bibliothek means “library” in German. Books make me giddy like nothing else can.

Blogistan lists all posts related to blogger meetups or musings on blogging or Blogistan in general.

Casa420 and Familia: While “420” is my house number – and also code for marijuana, which is amusing if you consider my inexplicable fascination with all variations of the word “crack” – this label contains posts related to all various homes I’ve lived in, as well as posts about my immediate family and what I (lovingly) call the “soap opera drama family” (the relatives). I write about my father a lot. Here’s an introduction to my mother.

Conversations and Encounters – This is my favorite category (I forgot to label it as also including [disconcerting] eavesdropping sessions!), and, as such, I can’t help but recommend some of the older stuff to those of you who might have missed it the first time around. Since Blogger is being annoying and, as mentioned, only showing 20 posts from each label, here are some of my favorites from the total forty: There’s Lily from Borders, little Somiyya, the heartbreaking conversation with my friend Z about self-righteous Muslims and their haste in labeling others as “kaffir,” the Persian poet and student activist [two-and-a-half-years old now, this post about a few seemingly simple questions sparked 130+ comments], “Maria” the difficult workshop participant, the “state of mind” girl, traffic school Day One and Day Two, the Target girl to whom I was rude, the charity bell-ringing man at the grocery store, those annoying aunties at that one wedding, the adorable preschool kids to whom I used to read, the Jack Nicholson look-alike with the hard-hitting questions [this is still one of the most intimidating but thought-provoking conversations I’ve ever had], the man in the panama hat, Dennis the Menace, the girl I wanted to hurt [the comments on this post still make me laugh, especially in light of the previous post], and, finally, the drummer boy on the bike.

Glorious mundanity: Wherein I celebrate the trivial. Contains lists and paragraphs and lists masquerading as paragraphs.

Hit the Road: I spend too much time blasting music while driving in a car on the freeway.

Links to love from across this webbed world we inhabit.

Loss and laments and letting go: Because, contrary to popular opinion, not everything is about sunshine ’round here. I won’t pick out specific posts, but please do check the posts under that category, so you understand that even I’m capable of going through gloomy days.

NineToFive outside the 925: All posts that reference work – mainly my old jobs in downtown Sacramento and at university. I had the rockingest co-workers ever.

Rhymes and unrhymed lines: Anything related to poetry, mine or others’.

Rockstar and Crescent: Islam/Muslim-related posts.

Salaam Namaste: Posts dealing with being Desi/South Asian/Pakistani.

Suckool: There’s a reason why it’s spelled “stuDYING.” Other than that, university and I got along really well. As I mentioned to HijabMan lately: “Man, I miss college. It was rocking good times.” And then, as an afterthought: “Except for that taking-tests business.”

No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in

Wishing you much sunshine!
Wishing you much sunshine!, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Nearly two years ago, I visited UC Berkeley for a conference and stopped to check out a workshop entitled, “WRITE OR BE WRITTEN: Using Spoken Word to Speak the Truth.” The workshop was lead by Junichi Semitsu, then-director of June Jordan‘s Poetry for the People course at UC Berkeley. After he had captivated us – and made us laugh – with his poem, Poetry Should Hijack the Bus (two years later, I still remember the reference to sports futility vehicles), Junichi introduced a few of the Poetry for the People TAs and students and invited them up to the podium to share their writing with us.

The other thing I remember about the workshop is that one of the young men ambled up to the podium and introduced his poem with a self-deprecating disclaimer that went something like this: I’m about to read a poem that I wrote very recently, so it’s not finalized just yet; it’s not the greatest, it’s still really, really rough, but here it is…

He then performed his piece, and no matter what he thought of it, the poem was amazingly beautiful. He was amazing up there, and when his final words fell into the otherwise pin-drop silence, we all stared after his retreating back as he took his seat, thinking, Wow.

The next thing I remember is Junichi back at the podium, looking around the room intently and saying something like this: You see what he just did? DON’T DO THAT. Never, ever downplay or undermine your words. Share what you have to say with people and let them make up their minds about it, but never brush off your stuff before they’ve even heard it.

I’ve kept that piece of advice in mind over the past couple of years, whether I was sharing my own poetry in gatherings, or organizing lectures and workshops, or participating in dialogues with the University chancellor, or even as recently as October, when I had to do quite a bit of public speaking for a work-related event. That last occasion was especially nerve-wracking, considering I’d been out of school for over a year and hadn’t done any sort of public speaking in nearly as long. Looking out over the hundreds of people gathered that evening, I was tempted to make smart-ass comments like, “I know I’m short; I hope you all can see me behind the podium,” and – after I accidentally disengaged the mic from the stand while adjusting it – “There’s a reason why I shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near technical equipment,” but I refrained and said only what I was up there to say. And people thought I rocked it, apparently. The end.

So, the reason why I’m spending so much time talking about disclaimers and smart-ass comments is because this here joint – that’s Sweep the Sunshine to you – has been nominated as “Best Female Blog” in the Brass Crescent Awards I mentioned recently, and I’ve put off telling you about it for so long because I’m an idiot and didn’t know what to say about it. Oh, also? Today is the deadline for voting.

Most people know I’m an idiot about compliments, namely, I don’t know how to accept them (yeah, remember the last time we went through this drama of weblog voting?). I’ve always thought of self-deprecation as an indispensable quality, so when people say, for example, “Hey, I like your shoes,” I feel the need to admit, “Oh, I bought ’em used, for $5 from Goodwill”; and when people say, “I like your style,” I reply, “I’m wearing four layers. Pretty stupid, huh?”; and when people say, “Your headwraps are so awesome,” I smirk and reply, “Wait ’til you see my hijab tan line”; and when people say, “Nice jeans!” I frown darkly, “They’re not flared enough, dammit.” Basically, I’ve just wasted an entire paragraph talking about my clothes, but I think you get the point.

As Somayya would succinctly call me out on my protestations: “That’s BULLSHIT.”

So, I guess all I should say in response to that is, Hey! Go vote! (For whomever you want to!)

Also, I am honored and flattered and all that good stuff. Thank you so much to whoever nominated me. You are awesome.

Finally, I’ve discovered a number of rocking weblogs through the Brass Crescent Awards, so if you’re looking for new reading material, stop by their website. But you might as well vote, too. Voting is good for you. Get to it, rockstars!

[Ignore the title. And the photo. Neither of them really has anything to do with the Brass Crescent awards, but the title of the post (which is actually a song title) made me laugh, and the photo made me smile today because I just found it again while browsing through flickr, having forgotten I had taken it. If yummy orange sunshine in December isn’t quite your thing, I just don’t know what to do with you.]

Believe it or not, I super-sized my sights on the surprise in the cereal box

This photo somehow reminds me I need more green in my wardrobe
Sprinkles are for happy kids, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Back in the summer, when I first started working where I do now, my new colleague A watched me shovel cold apple pie into my mouth and asked, “Is that your breakfast?”


She rolled her eyes, and I asked, “What? What’s wrong with eating apple pie for breakfast?”

“There are a lot of things wrong with apple pie for breakfast,” she said dryly, but then we were interrupted, and I never did get to hear her reasons.

I am the kid who gleefully grins ear-to ear and and waves my hands excitedly whenever the local Safeway restocks my favorite Mrs. Smith’s Deep-Dish Apple Pie in their freezers. And I bring it home and promptly bake it and then – because the family refuses to share in such excitement – I single-handedly consume the pie for about a week.

At work, I’m known for my various food obsessions. First, there was the rice krispie treats obsession. I still maintain this is B’s fault. When I suddenly turned around from my desk one day and whined, “I’m freakin’ craving rice krispie treats, dammit!”, B laughed and said, “You know, you could buy gelatin-free marshmallows. Or, better yet, get marshmallow cream from Safeway. It has no gelatin in it.”

“Are you serious?!” I went on a marshmallow cream hunt, found it in the baking aisle, and it was just as B had said – no gelatin. I grinned ear-to-ear, waved my hands excitedly, grabbed two boxes of rice krispie treats cereal, and went home to make the snack I hadn’t consumed in, well, nearly two decades. I ate nearly half in one sitting, and took the leftovers in to work the next morning. This was repeated a few times.

Next up: String cheese. One day, I decided string cheese was a good snack for munching on while at work. I bought a few pieces, stuck them in the work refrigerator, pulled them out whenever I felt hungry, and they were good. Especially with cranberry juice (the one obsession I will never tire of). Once I finished the string cheese stash at work, I should have just stopped altogether, but no, I was hooked at this point. Thus, my next brilliant idea was to buy some string cheese from Costco. Do you know how many sticks of string cheese you get in one Costco package? About three freakin’ dozen. “Oh, my god,” said the co-workers, laughing in spite of themselves. “What were you thinking? You know you’re going to have to eat all of those yourself, right?”

I’m so over string cheese now.

My latest interest is in doughnuts from Safeway – not the one closeby my workplace, which is a small, hole-in-the-wall sort of market that caters to the nearby Santa Clara University students and lacks a bakery, but instead the one by my house, which offers hot, fresh doughnuts every morning. The first time I came into work with doughnuts and a bottle of sparkling cider, we took an impromptu break and picked doughnuts out of the pink box, standing around with cider-filled cups in hand, brushing sugar off our faces. B proclaimed them “the best doughnuts [she] had ever tasted.” I’ve decided I can’t go wrong with doughnuts, as long as I don’t do it everyday.

Yesterday morning, in the midst of checking my emails and updating my project plans, I continually muttered to B about how hungry I was. I went so far as open a new tab in my web browser and pull up a list of local stores on “There’s one that’s 0.34 miles away from here,” I informed B, “and it has a bakery. Maybe I should go get some doughnuts.”

I got too distracted with work to follow up on that, but, as lunchtime approached, I had an epiphany: “I need brownies! I’m going to Whole Foods to pick up some brownie bites [mini brownies]. Anyone want anything?” Brownie bites remind me of the summer, when Z still worked there and we used to drive down to Whole Foods nearly every day for lunch (and, in my case, dessert).

One of my co-workers smiled at me when I stopped by her office and posed my question. “I don’t need anything, thank you,” she said.

“Not even a sandwich? Or…a salad?” I asked skeptically. The co-workers are used to me shuddering and making faces whenever they mention salads for lunch, and have long given up on me ever eating salads in their presence. Now, they ask me just to see my reaction. (I always eat a salad with my dinner, actually, but I refuse to consider salad an entire meal. What’s wrong with people? Dessert, on the other hand, always constitutes an entire meal, as far as I’m concerned.)

The co-workers all declined anything from Whole Foods, so off I went with my one-item mental grocery list. Once at Whole Foods, I picked up a mini pumpkin pie, and two packages of brownie bites (one for the office, one for home). I also bought a slice of something called “chocolate eruption cake,” simply because all the whipped cream reminded me of desserts from my beloved Konditerei and Little Prague bakeries. Sadly, it didn’t turn out to be even nearly the same.

I got back to work and proudly unpacked my purchases, while the co-workers laughed and shook their heads in dismay. “Yasmine, you just can’t be trusted to go to the grocery store,” said B. I shrugged, and stuffed a brownie in my mouth.

On the way home from work yesterday, I stopped at my usual gas station to fill up the tank. While the gas was pumping, I walked into the convenience store to buy a bottle of water (to drink with my brownie bites, naturally). The gas station employee, a big, bearded man, let out a friendly “Hello!” I turned from the fridge, water in hand, and smiled back. “Hi.” I placed the water bottle on the counter, and he rang it up while asking, “Is that it?”

“That’s it!”

“You sure? Just the water?” He had a friendly, gap-toothed grin, the kind that makes you smile back instinctively. He looked (and sounded) Desi, and I wondered if he were repeatedly questioning me just to make me stay longer. Any second now, I expected him to ask, “Where are you from? Are you [Pakistani/Indian]?” Perhaps he was lonely, being so far from the motherland – but then I reminded myself that this was the South Bay; there were no shortages of fellow Desis ’round here.

Rum-free tiramisu!
Originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

“Just the water, that’s it.”

“No gum, candy?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“You’re not getting any gum or candy?”

I laughed. “I already have brownies in my car.”

“Okay,” he said. I handed him two dollars, and pocketed the change he slid back across the counter. “Have a good day,” he said, smiling again, and I couldn’t help but smile back. “You, too!”

Driving home while munching on brownies (I forgot to drink the water after all), I laughed out loud in the car. “No gum, candy?” I always wonder how even strangers manage to figure out the right questions to ask.

I want to stay another season/see summer upon this sorry land

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

The heat wasn’t working at the office today, which means I spent most of the day being aggravated about the cold and – of course – engaging in monologues with God about how much I disapprove of this winter business.

“It’s all in your head, Yasminay,” my father would say, but my father wasn’t the one who had to sit there with blue fingernails all day long, either. It’s enough to make a kid want to turn around and return home, even though it took said kid 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to work this morning. (Californians are idiots when it comes to driving in the rain, apparently.)

Leaving work at the end of the day, I stepped out the front door into the evening darkness and the first words out of my mouth upon seeing the pouring rain were, “Aw, f*ck.” Needless to say, I felt a severe dearth of things to be happy about today, but my earlier comment-gone-too-lengthy over on Chai’s “Three Appreciations” post forced me to rethink the gloominess. (It took far too long to brainstorm all this, though, trust me.)

Driving home too fast on roads that were too wet, blinded by inky-black asphalt and incessant rain, I turned up both the heat and the music and kept my eyes on the yellow line for guidance, smiling wryly as U2 sang, You got to get yourself together…

Here, then, unnumbered and expanded, is my list of rocking things about today, in spite of the freakin’ rain that makes me shake my fist at God:

Co-workers who make me laugh so much about pointless things that my stomach hurts and tears pour out of my eyes. We laughed about falafel, of all things. Falafel are funny.

New philosophy, stolen off the incomparable Z: “I like to call things I don’t wanna do ‘adventures,’ to make them suck less.”

Deciding that I am going to start bringing cocoa powder and milk into the office, so I can make myself hot chocolate while everyone else stands around drinking their (nasty!) tea. Also, this is just an excuse to warm up my hands on a hot mug. The co-worker Zee offered me tea today while making some for everyone else, and I just smirked and shook my head in refusal. “Yasmine doesn’t drink tea,” laughed B. “She only drinks cranbery juice, and eats doughnuts and candy and string cheese.”
“Hey, I bought some dried fruit from the grocery store yesterday,” I protested, but no one believed me.

Friends who check out my gmail status message [“every day is yasmine day”] and IM me with, “Happy Yasmine day!” Another variation:
J: “Yasmine day is today!”
Me: “Dude, what are you talking about, it’s EVERY DAY. Get with the program.”
J: “I didnt say it wasn’t everyday. I said it was today. Isn’t it today? And tomorrow I’d say it again.”

In conversation with a friend, I make a point and finish it off with my requisite threats of stabbing and an emphatic, “The end!”
He responds with, “To be continued,” and I can’t help but laugh: “I hate you, no one has ever waylaid my ‘the end’ line so well before.”

Jogging down to the end of the street to grab the umbrella from my car for a co-worker, I’m reminded of how much I miss running. No – how much I miss enjoying running. (Un)fortunately, I am no longer 12-17 years old; now, I’m ostensibly grown-up and I like who I’ve become, so I don’t have anything to run from anymore, myself included.

Male friends who can admit they have “boy crushes.”
Me, as a wholly rhetorical question: “How come I don’t have any boy crushes?”
MF, generously: “You can have some of mine.”

Trying to explain to the buddy Z where to locate the seat-warmer buttons in his car. Seat-warmers on a day like this? Freakin’ ROCKING. When I become dictator of the world, I will ensure that everyone has seat-warmers in their cars – and their very own personal blue raspberry slurpee machines, too. So, vote for me, kids – I might even have another discussion with God about the weather, while I’m at it.